Seventy-five percent of our military age men are unfit for service. Some military branches are lowering standards and increasing financial incentives to recruit personnel. Sadly, recruitment for overseas missionary service is very low as well. The apostle Paul declares that salvation is available to everyone everywhere. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Then he launches into a series of rhetorical questions intended to motivate us to deliver the good news to the world. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” They cannot. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” They cannot. “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” They cannot. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Send preachers! God must send them, of course, but the church must recruit and prepare them for Him to send. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Prayer is not a suggestion but a command. However, we seldom hear a public prayer for more laborers. We have not because we ask not! But why do we ask not? We ask for what we want. Apparently, we really do not want missionaries; or, we want them to come from other churches, not ours. The Antiochian church was a missionary recruitment center. The believers prayed for missionaries and produced them. According to Acts 13:14, God sent them; “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed….” As co-laborers with God, we are failing to produce laborers for Him to send.
A few missionaries are coming from a few churches. Why so few? Why not ours? Childbearing is normally not a problem for a young couple, but when it is, they may seek medical help. We must admit our missionary infertility and consult the Great Physician.
Failure to produce foreign missionaries is so widespread that it seems almost normal.We would all agree that missionaries should come from our churches—where else would they come from? Yet most churches do not produce missionaries. This missionary barrenness may be common, but we must not accept it as normal.The purpose of the church is missions, and missions cannot be accomplished without missionaries. So, our missionary scarcity is a grave problem that must be addressed. A first step toward fixing the problem is to increase missionary emphasis in our church services. Look at the amount of time given to missions in the church services. What does it say about our missionary priority? We wonder why God is not calling enough missionaries to reach every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. Missionaries do not magically appear! They are developed in the home and the church where there is a strong missionary emphasis.
While we thank God for what churches do for missions, we must do more. There are many ways local churches can be actively involved in missions. We could give missions more priority by reading prayer letters from the pulpit and praying for the requests. A church could purchase good missionary books and strongly suggest that people read them. Someone could read short, interesting portions from these books to whet the congregation’s appetite. Occasionally, we could show missionary videos or short presentations downloaded from the missionaries’ websites. Someone could research and give a brief report on the spiritual condition of a certain country. Before the service, why not project pictures of missionaries that you support? Get to know them. Hosting missionaries is expensive; they need meals, money, and often a motel. But they help keep our minds on missions. They convey a burden for their field and make a plea for help. A church could also display the current faith promise goal and giving along with a list of missionaries that could be supported if the mission giving increased. Missions must be emphasized all year long, not just during the annual missions conference. Sing missionary songs occasionally; preach missionary sermons. If reaching the world is your church’s priority, keep missions before the congregation. If it is not, repent! Encourage communication with missionary wives and children. Use different creative ideas to promote missions in the church services. Do not just say world evangelism is important; show that it is! Let us prepare our young people for missionary service and let them go! For too long we have cautioned them to stay unless they are absolutely sure that God wants them to go. It is time to challenge them to go unless they are absolutely sure God wants them to stay!
Pastors must call people to the altar of total surrender (Romans 12:1-2.) We preach, “Give God your heart.” But God says, “Give me your body.” He demands that the body be holy, and not conformed to the world. Look at the worldliness of our people. They often wear the immodest clothes of the world. They deface and stain their bodies like the heathen. Worldly music and sinful images enter their eyes and ears, and worldly speech comes out of their mouths. Most Christians probably do not even try to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” They are neither transformed, nor renewed, and are anything but missionary material. Perhaps one young person out of one hundred has an inclination toward fulltime missions. One percent is pathetic! We need a radical change in thinking about missions! Let the world provide its cab drivers, plumbers, lawyers, and programmers. Let the church produce missionaries!
Change is needed because what we are doing is not working. There remain thousands of unreached people groups and Bibleless languages. At the rate we are producing missionaries, billions will never hear the Gospel. When we compare what we are doing with what we are not doing, we must conclude that something is terribly wrong. God, give us a revival in missions. Make our churches recruitment stations that produce laborers for You to send!