On being called to missions in Africa.

Dear reader,

If God has called you to missions in Africa, I am happy for you. God is going to do great things in that continent through you. Go and change the world for Christ.

BUT. If you are reading this right now and God has not called you to Africa, you must not be spiritual enough and you should try harder to hear God’s calling in your life so go read your Bible because I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

God is still going to use you.

Yes, this includes you if you are going to become a construction worker. Or an accountant. Or a CEO. OR… if you are going to be a missionary in a place that’s entirely unflattering – like the United States. There is nothing more spiritual about being sent outside of America to do missions work. There is also nothing more spiritual about going somewhere foreign to do short-term missions so that you have an impressive tally of countries you have traveled to on your Christian resume.

Coming from the missions field of Utah to a huge university that sees the world as a missions field (which it is) has been frustrating for me. I am not necessarily against short-term missions trips, but the way that they are done here is frustrating. The big-ticket question around here is, “So how many missions trips/countries have you been to?” And the number you can provide or the impressive, exotic countries you’ve been to defines your spirituality.

My problem with such an attitude is this: There are certain countries that look better in profile pictures. What I mean by that is, going somewhere like a cute little village in Africa is going to be well-respected in Christian circles. I’m not sure why, it just is. Playing with kids in an orphanage is a great story to come home and tell. And we all have seen the Facebook profile picture in which one white person is surrounded by like 10 smiling black kids and they’re hugging and it’s just so cute. You might even currently have this profile picture.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think an attitude check is appropriate here. Especially in those of us who live in circles where Christians are the majority and we rank each other not on a Christian/not Christian scale, but on a good Christian/bad Christian scale. Genuinely check your attitude.

Did you go to that country and love on those kids so that you could have a really good slideshow when you came back to your home church?

Or are you truly burdened for a lost and hopeless world and do you truly have a burning desire to use the gifts God has given you to impact individual souls with the Gospel of Christ?

Because if you can answer yes to the latter question, God could tell you to go be a missionary in a small town in Idaho or a polygamist cult in Arizona or dangerous parts of urban New York, and you wouldn’t think twice about how people will perceive you when you tell them where you’re going or if the pictures will look good in a slideshow because all you want is to do the eternal work of God, and nothing else matters.

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