For the purposes of this blog post, we consider a missionary to be someone who crosses a language, culture, or geographical barrier to go and take the gospel to a group of people—typically people who do not yet know Jesus.
Go, Send, or Disobey?
If you read Matthew 28:19–20, Romans 10:14–17 or Isaiah 52:7–10, it’s easy to see that God desires for believers to play an active role in sharing the gospel with people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. So yes, that means either you “go” as a missionary, intentionally stay and “send” missionaries, or disobey this command of God in Scripture.
This might be a new thought for you. So, don’t take our word for it. Consider the passages listed above and listen to J.D. Greear on this topic.
(Not sure where God is calling you yet? Read our post “How to Know if God is Calling You to Be a Missionary” for insight on discerning the Spirit’s leading.)
Start With God’s Word
Whether you go or stay, you have to know God and have a personal relationship with him if you’re going to do his work. Read John 15. This is the key starting point to being missional when you’re not a missionary. Once you have a habit of regularly reading God’s word, here are other ways to be missional as a “stayer.”
5 Ways to Be Missional When You’re Not a Missionary—Practical Advice for the “Stayers”
1. Build Relationships with International Workers and Students
In this day and age in the US, the nations are coming to us. Students from around the world want to study here. Workers and immigrants want to immigrate here. And so many of the students and workers who make it to the US are from countries of the world that a Western missionary could not go for missions.
Build relationships with these people. Many of them have never been invited to an American’s home and would be ecstatic at the opportunity to know you. Think of the impact you could have on the nations if you shared Christ with an international.
2. Pray for Missionaries and Unreached People Groups
God lets us participate with him in his work through prayer. The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective (James 5:16). We get to pray for people around the world who do not yet know Jesus. And get to pray for the workers God has sent out into his harvest field.
3. Contribute Financially to Global Missions
Even since Jesus himself began his ministry, church-goers have had the opportunity to support missionaries financially. Many missionaries still raise support today to fund their ministries like Paul did much of the time in the Old Testament. If your church sends out missionaries, consider giving them a financial gift (one-time or ongoing) to help them continue sharing the gospel full-time.
4. Care for Missionaries at Your Church
Talk to your pastor or missions board to find out who your church sends and supports as missionaries. See if there’s anyone leading a group of designated caretakers for these missionaries, and find out how to get involved if so. If not, ask your pastor or missions board if you would be able to start a caretaking group like this. And be sure to read Serving as Senders before you jump in.
5. Partner with National Believers Doing Missions in their Own Countries
In recent times, it has been difficult for Western missionaries to make it to some parts of the globe due to language, culture, or political barriers. But God has raised up national believers in these areas to do the bulk of evangelism and church planting there. And these nationals would love your partnership in prayer and more as they endeavor to reach the unreached for Christ. How do you get to know a national believer? Check out Live Global.