Myths about Missions and Calling

The world we live in, it’s a funny one.  Especially when it comes to gossip or communicating mistruths, halftruths and other kinds of myths and pithy sayings that when heard sound great but when looked at closer we often find out it is just a misconstrual of something being taught in the Bible or a misrepresentation of God’s character and person.

What might be an example?  Here is one:

“If God has truly called you then…”

I’ve come up with a saying lately: “There’s too many “if”s in that sentence.  Many times “if” is used appropriately but a lot of times it is not.  Used appropriately it might look like “if you arrive at the theater early you might be able to get a good seat for the movie.”  Used inappropriately I think it a means to condescend someone or manipulate them (though not always).  The example above, I think, applies. Here is it again:

If God has truly called you, then…

In Moraeu et al.’s book Introducing World Missions (Baker, 2004, 2015) they have a section on “misunderstandings about the missionary call” (151-153).  They cover several areas (that I plan to do a blog series about) and one of them is the “If … then” misunderstanding.

My wife Debbie and I are planning to plant a church here in Greenville, North Carolina. When one decides to pursue God’s calling in one’s life, there is going to be resistance. Resistance is often a sign of unbelief.  Some will not believe in your or your pursuit of God. They are going to say things, like “If God has truly called you to plant a church then….” “if God has really called you to (the ministry / mission field, etc you name it), then….”

In reading through Moreaeu, my wife wrote:

There are no “if’s” when God calls. God’s call is no more mysterious than the Spirit’s voice that persists to constantly draw you closer to Christ, day in and day out. It is the dream that you cannot shake, the vision you cannot unsee, the driving force behind all you do. Therefore, the “burden of proof” is not on you, but it is a joint effort of the Spirit’s outworking in your life. Any failure to provide this “proof of concept” is never truly failure, but an outworking of the Spirit building character in you. The only failure you can truly have is a failure NOT to pursue God’s call. If you do not “measure up,” it is not because God did not call you, but perhaps a lack of support, insufficient training, a re-direction, or a tough field. God’s call is more than one moment of time. It is a process in which His Kingdom purposes are always at work.

This is surely something to think about….



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