Ever questioned whether God is asking you to leave behind life as you know it and move across the world to share the gospel? Maybe you’ve heard stories about mission and felt inspired but intimidated. Perhaps you suddenly have some spare months ahead of you – is that a sign? It’s confusing, right? What if God isn’t calling you? What if it’s just a ‘fun idea’ or a bit of escapism?
ARE YOU CALLED TO MISSION?
Let’s try and clear a few things up here. Firstly, calling isn’t just yes or no – it isn’t a ‘you’re called’ or ‘you’re not.’ Don’t expect God to necessarily call you to do one thing forever. Being called to go on mission in a short-term context – like a Latin Link Step team – is very different from being called to live in the Amazon jungle for the next 20 years!
And secondly, if you’re wondering whether you’re called to mission at all, the answer is yes. As Christians, we are all witnesses; we all seek to follow Jesus, and he’s sending us all out to continue his ministry on earth. The question is more about how and where. Am I called to mission in a local context at home, or a cross-cultural context elsewhere in the world?
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)
In our many years of helping to send people on mission to and from Latin America, we can say with confidence that everyone’s situation is unique; one person’s experience of being called is different from the next. So let’s reframe the question: “Am I ready for mission?”
ARE YOU READY FOR MISSION?
Here are seven really practical questions to help you think about mission. Ask yourself honestly whether or not you think the following things apply to your situation:
- Service: Are you involved in serving your local church or Christian Union, or part of a ministry that serves your community, like a food bank or street pastors? Mission is about service and it’s good to have experience of that in your own culture before looking to serve in a different country.
- Accountability: Have you talked to your church leaders? It’s important to chat things through with trusted individuals. Often they’ll be able point you to ways to test your sense of calling or get involved in some form of service. At Latin Link, we don’t just send people, we partner with churches to help them send people – your church’s support is vital.
- Spiritual Growth: Are you growing in your faith? Mission is about sharing what God has done in our lives and encouraging others to follow Jesus. We aren’t looking for spiritual superstars but we do want people who are growing close to God through prayer, spending time getting into the Bible, and who are committed to Christian community.
- Humility: Are you willing to be vulnerable? Learning to live in a different culture, grappling with a new language, and living with people who do things differently can be both exciting and terrifying – and even a bit embarrassing at times! Entering a different culture requires us to be willing to learn and be sensitive to other people’s ideas and traditions. Usually, you’ll be working in a team led by someone from a different country, so you’ll need to be a team player.
- Resilience: Are you resilient? Mission can be hard, taking a toll on you physically, emotionally and spiritually. While we all rely on God for strength, we still have a responsibility to take care of our mental and physical health. Many people living with health concerns have been effective mission workers, so don’t write yourself off! Talk to us about your particular needs, but recognise that support and care is not always as easy to access as in the UK.
- Talents: Is God providing an opening for you to use the gifts he’s given you? Sometimes you know you are called when you hear about a project or need that’s crying out for your particular expertise. In our Stride programme, we try to pair someone’s passions and skills with a project or community where they are just what’s needed.
- Listening: What’s your sense of where God is taking your life? For many people, a call to mission happens gradually. God can speak through seemingly unrelated events or people over many years. If God’s beginning to stir something, it’s okay to wait and listen. Sometimes that act of patience can give you space to align your motives with his. If your desire is to go wherever and whenever he calls you, you’ll know your heart is in the right place for mission!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
These questions might have given you confidence that you are ready for mission after all. Or maybe you’re scared that you’ll never ‘tick all the boxes’! Wherever you’re at, if mission is something that excites or intrigues you, talk to us. We’d love to walk alongside you as you explore what your calling might look like – we have a lot of experience in this area and we’re always up for a chat.
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES WITH LATIN LINK
STEP is our short-term programme for teams. A hands-on experience of mission in another culture for 3–16 weeks, living and working alongside a local church, helping with a practical project and joining them in reaching out to their community.
STRIDE is an opportunity for individuals, couples or families to spend 6-24 months putting their faith into practice in a different culture. Striders use their gifts and skills working with a church or Christian-run project.