If we truly want to be part of “finishing the task” of the missionary venture, there are 2 essential questions that every missionary should be asking:

“God, where are you going?”
“God, what are you doing?”

“God, where are you going?”

If we know where God is going, we follow and are led, not only to areas of great need (those are everywhere), but to the places he is already at work. Therein, suddenly, in our following and obedience, the ministry becomes much easier.

No more striving. No wondering if the ministry will fail. No stress and anxiety. No anger at supposed lost time and effort. The burdens are lifted.

For we all know that striving, stress, anxiety and questions of success and failure are regrettably engrained into the missionary heart. Initially, perhaps, our concerns are for God’s glory and for the redemption of our focus mission field. But over time, we take on extraneous stress elicited by the superfluous need we encounter at every turn.

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” – Corrie Ten Boom

“Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.” – Corrie Ten Boom

Not only does the ministry burden become lightened in our following where God is going. He then calls us into the unknown, toward forgotten and unreached regions that are off the radar of most Christian evangelistic targets and global missions efforts.

“God, where are you going?” His inevitable reply is, “I will always leave the 99 safely tucked away to search for the one who is yet to be found.”

Unreached peoples—those yet without a chance to hear the gospel message—are of infinite worth to the heart of God. Most of us have simply not yet experienced the depth of God’s heart for those lost and without a chance to hear of his inexorable love.

Joshua Project says of the Great Imbalance of Global Missions:

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In the parable of the Lost Sheep the shepherd leaves the 99 and seeks out the one. He uses all his resources to find the lost. It seems the priority is backwards with the vast majority of Christian resources being used to tend the flock and few being used to seek the lost. Over 90% of all missionaries work among already reached peoples. For every dollar of Christian resources less than one penny is directed at reaching unreached peoples.

In the parable of the Lost Sheep the shepherd leaves the 99 and seeks out the one. He uses all his resources to find the lost. It seems the priority is backwards with the vast majority of Christian resources being used to tend the flock and few being used to seek the lost. Over 90% of all missionaries work among already reached peoples. For every dollar of Christian resources less than one penny is directed at reaching unreached peoples.

The where question brings us to the remaining unreached people groups who are waiting at the other end of our obedience. It then compels us to ask, “God, what are you doing?”

“God, what are you doing?”

The 10/40 Window is home to the world’s remaining unreached people groups. We’ve all heard this before. And some of us are there or have joined a short term mission trip to the heart of the unreached world. But once here, we deal with a critical issue: How do we actually reach unreached people groups? How do we actually disciple people with no previous Christian background? How does the gospel take root among Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, animists and unaffiliated blocs of people?

I would like to cautiously encourage you not to shy away from the risky activities of discipleship and evangelism and trade it for an easier approach that may not be highly impactful.

There are a million different things you can do on the mission field. Teach English. Do business as mission. Travel to tribal people groups. College student ministry. Orphan relief. The list goes on. And there are no wrong or right answers. Needs abound at every turn. All of us have different gifts and callings. But there is no need for faith where there is no consciousness of an element of risk.

“There is no need for faith where there is no consciousness of an element of risk.” – Elizabeth Elliot

Here’s what Jesus said about doing the tasks of the missionary venture:

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“I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing. – John 5:19-20, Message

Do not trade a program for people. Do not let a predetermined schedule usurp a lifestyle of Spirit-led spontaneity. That’s where life on life interaction occurs. That’s where true transformation takes place. That’s how we slip away to the sidelines and Jesus takes center stage.

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Missions ain’t that mysterious! It’s throwing yourself wholeheartedly into the missionary venture, relying not upon your own gifts, but God’s power. Give to God what you have in your hand: your talents, skills and hobbies. He made you with unique bents and inclinations.

Be yourself and be available for the most random, incredible, outlandish encounters God may lead you into! As you ask God, “Where are you going? What are you doing?”, be prepared to take part in the adventure of the epic missional narrative he is penning.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global

David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.


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