I couldn’t believe it! My worst nightmare! There I was sitting in the balcony of a large Toronto church when the speaker, Brother Andrew no less, described me in vivid detail and said that God was calling me to be a missionary! He then asked for the person he had described to come to the front.
Firstly, I hate responding to appeals, I am a coward and hate what seems like a walk of shame when you have to go to the front with everyone looking! Secondly, thirty odd years ago, I was very suspicious of preachers who gave out ‘words’. How do I know they weren’t making it up?! Thirdly, my wife was at home in the UK and I felt alone.
The problem was I had just said to God before I went into the meeting that if he wanted to say anything to me then I was willing to do whatever He wanted. So I made a long walk from the balcony downstairs in front of thousands of people and stood at the front and was then commissioned to go and do whatever God was calling me to.
I walked to the back of the church at the end of the meeting still in a state of shock when a man in his fifties asked to speak to me. He said he had seen me respond (who hadn’t?) and felt God prompt him to come and tell me his story.
He said God had clearly called him over thirty years ago but because of his situation he had walked away from his call. He said he knew that he had missed out on God’s best for him and that I mustn’t make the same mistake. He went on to tell me that his parents had a business and that because of his sense of duty and family pressure he decided to stay and work for them. What he didn’t or couldn’t know was that my parents also had a business and that I worked for them! The battle was on! Do we, as a couple, respond to God’s call or should I stay and work for my parents? God won!
We left our house, our cool sports car, our families and friends and went on a very scary but exciting journey! The best decision we ever made.
Recently I seem to keep getting told by people that God couldn’t really be calling them because of family reasons, or financial reasons, or some other logical and plausible reason. I’m too old now, or I’m too young, or I need to go to bible college, or God couldn’t be calling me because I’m no saint! Any of these sound familiar?
We were in our late twenties when we were called and we didn’t have any money, we had no real qualifications. We felt so inadequate.
Make sure you don’t miss the adventure of your life! If you hear the voice of God calling you then go! In Matthew 12, Jesus says our obedience to our heavenly Dad is thicker than blood.
I also hear people telling me that I shouldn’t be living off other people’s generosity and support.
I do believe that if God calls then He will supply everything we need to fulfil our calling. I also believe that we are all called to live by faith whether we have a salary or not. We are all called by God whether we are in employment, a Mum, or whatever we do. Having said that, God also calls some people to a specific role in what some people call ‘full time’ Christian ministry. So how does God provide for these people?
I always think it’s good to start with Jesus as our example. Who supported him when he stopped working for Joseph, his dad, and left his carpentry job? In the gospels it says some rich women who sometimes travelled with him supported him and his disciples. Even a woman who used to be a prostitute regularly supported him. Jesus was humble enough to let others supply his needs to enable him to carry out his calling. He did sometimes see supernatural provision like the time he needed to pay taxes and got the money from a fish!
When He sent His disciples on mission He told them not to take money with them but to receive what they needed from those they helped. They were even encouraged by Jesus to leave immediately if they didn’t provide for them!
It is also clear that the early church supported missionaries. Paul also did some tent making, but generally speaking the apostles were supported by the church to release them to fulfil their calling.
The reason for this blog is to encourage you whatever your age (from early school leavers to early retirees and beyond!) to listen and respond to the voice of God if you hear his call to be a ‘missionary’. When I use this term ‘missionary’ I am not meaning just those called to Africa or some other foreign land. We desperately need people called to the UK and western culture. People who are administrators, accountants, managers, IT, in sales and marketing, new media, artists, engineers, gardeners, in maintenance, the list is endless!
We need to respond to God’s call and let go of fear and merely human wisdom that would stop us stepping out on an adventure with God.
We also need to pray that more and more churches would realise how crucial it is to support Home Mission. And to even rethink what kind of ‘missionaries’ are needed for such a time as this. Britain desperately needs ‘missionaries’ called by God and released and supported by the church.
Our prayer is that we will see a whole new generation of ‘ordinary’ people responding to God’s call and being sent out and supported by the church.
Is it you? Do your hear God’s call?
Will you and your church support someone who is a UK ‘missionary’? Click Here if you want to become a history maker!…Jesus said “Follow Me” Will YOU?