If you’ve ever been part of a missional church or attended a missions conference, you’ve undoubtedly have heard the call for laborers to be sent out to the hardest and darkest places on earth. Your heart feels like it is pulsating with the very heartbeat of God for the lost as you take in everything you’ve just heard. But there is something inside of you that says, you are not going. At least not yet. Commitments you’ve already made, family situations, the stage of life you are in, all come to mind. But most importantly, although your heart is now gripped with these realities, you haven’t felt a clear call from the Lord to go to the front lines. So you count yourself out and chalk it up as a great service or event. But what if there was more to reaching unreached people groups other than physically moving to Sub-Saharan Africa? What if you were given the opportunity to lay down your life by being a sender? Would you take it?
Who is a sender?
A sender is someone who lives so that the gospel may go forth in all the world. A sender regularly sacrifices time in prayer for missionaries on the front lines, so that the name of Jesus will be lifted up in the earth. A sender is a believer who forsakes their comforts and sacrificially gives their financial resources to missions. It is someone who engages other believers with the reality of the Great Commission and encourages them to get involved.
We need senders
Jesus’ command that disciples be made of all nations is not just for a few “missionaries” to take seriously. It is for every Christian to participate in at the highest level. In the book Serving as Senders Today: How to Care for your Missionaries, Neal Pirolo writes, “In secular war, for every person on the front line of battle, there are at least 9 people backing him up in what is called the ‘line of communication.’”
Many missionaries have gone to the field with a Lone Ranger mentality and because of this many suffer spiritually, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. We must begin treating missions work among unreached people groups as the greatest battle ever fought, and we must plan and act accordingly. The only way we will see the globe evangelized is through the body of Christ working together with one heart and one judgment (1 Cor 1:10). Just as there are those in the military that may not be deployed to the front lines of battle, yet they have given themselves fully to serve in a role that supports the greater purpose , so it must be in the body of Christ. As the children’s song goes, “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery, fly over the enemy, but I’m in the Lord’s Army.” Every disciple of Christ should see themselves as part of the battle. Not everyone is called to physically go to an unreached people group, but every believer is called to prioritize their lives so that Jesus will be lifted up in all the earth.
The sender’s sacrifice
It’s easy to see the sacrifice of those who leave home and live in a foreign land. Can someone be just as committed while living in the West? Senders focus their entire lives for the glorification of Jesus Christ by giving time, resources, and talents to finish the Great Commission. Just like Moses, we are called to forsake our rightful privileges and comforts in order to join in partnership with the people of God.
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt.” (Hebrews 11:24)
Moses grew up with a good education, with influence, and with prestige among the Egyptians. Yet, the scriptures tell us that he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy what he had been given the right to enjoy. He looked to a reward that the wealth and influence of Egypt could not compare to. He forsook Egypt. It’s time for senders to come out of Egypt and begin to identify with those who are giving their lives for the sake of the gospel among unreached people groups.
Where are the senders who will forsake their comforts and sacrificially give of their Western wealth for the sake of the gospel going forth? Either you are a sender or a goer. Each one requires sacrifice. You may not have a clear call to go, but the call to participate whole heartedly cannot be mistaken.
Will you be a sender?
Will you be a sender? Will you sacrifice your time in prayer for laborers on the field? Will you forsake your rightful comforts and live simpler for the sake of the gospel? Will you steward your wealth, prestige and education for the sake of the gospel? Will you live as a foreigner in your own culture by not spending your time, energy, and talents on self-glorification, but on a mission that all people everywhere hear about Christ? Will you sacrifice with the people of God who are on the front lines, so that the name of Jesus may be lifted up where it has never been heard? Will you be a sender?