What is a missions minded person like?
Is it easy to answer this question with a set of ABC answers? We know there are some qualities that can be identified in most mission minded people. Foundational qualities such as a heart devoted to God and Worship, a life committed to prayer and the Word, a resilient, persevering, ever growing attitude of faith and belief that service to God is well worth the sacrifice. However, this question does not come with a straight forward answer.
It is clear however, that each mission minded person brings their unique skills and passions to the table. These unique qualities are often not based on one’s natural abilities, skills or personal knowledge, but flow from a connection with God, a humble heart and a willingness to learn.
Jesus’ closest companions, the apostles, experienced an intensive discipleship course that included teaching on practical life skills, obedience to following God’s ways and learning to love people. The apostles were not without faults. Neither did these men have extraordinary skills. They were ordinary people, just like you and me. However, they had the privilege of closely following Jesus for three years through to his death and resurrection. The wonderful thing is that God then commissioned them to begin spreading the gospel of Jesus that would travel the world and continue to burn bright throughout the centuries.
Take Peter for example. At one moment he was walking on water, and the next he was sinking in doubt. He was known to be impulsive and remembered for denying Jesus when the pressure was on. Yet he was deeply loved by Christ. Peter became a bold evangelist and missionary, and one of the greatest leaders of the early church.
John was referred to by Jesus as one of the “sons of thunder,” but he referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Despite his fiery temperament John had a special devotion for the Saviour and held a favoured place in Christ’s inner circle. He had an enormous impact on the early Christian church in the way he taught them to serve and love one another.
“Both of these apostles were ordinary people yet they were empowered by Jesus to do incredible things. Some of the following traits could easily be associated with our lives, so let’s take a closer look at some of them.
The Mission minded have: (a)
- Heart for God: Fruitful service comes out of a heart focused on God.
- Personal experience of God: Mission minded people must have their own experience of God, before leading others.
- Persevering faith: This type of faith is progressive and persevering and grows through good and hard times.
- Desire to model Christ: The mission minded reflects Christ and resembles him.
- Love for the Word: A consistent and intentional engagement with the Word of God is vital for service.
- Testimony of God’s love: The mission minded have been impacted first-hand by the unconditional love of God.
- Desire for holiness: Holiness and obedience is carried out with humility and reverence.
- Relationship to God: A solid relationship with God and a reliance on the Holy Spirit has paramount importance.
- Desire to not stop learning: Mission minded continue learning more about God’s world.
- Teachable heart: Not just teachable yet humble enough to take correction.
- Willingness to try: Challenges are seen as opportunities to try something new.
- Humble nature: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
- Teamwork focus: This essential quality brings unity in the Kingdom of God.
- Holistic focus: Whenever possible, and through various means, the mission minded are called to care for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the world.
- Personable approach: Mission minded people love relationships, quality time and getting to know others.
- Desire to use their gifts: They recognise that they have gifts and talents to give back to God and other people.
- Godly leadership style: Mission minded lead by example, not by force or dominance.
- Resilience: Mission minded can quickly recover from hardship or adversity.
- Accountable heart: Accountability keeps the mission minded to the standard of the Word.
- Self-awareness: Missionaries have a calling to help some of the most broken, overlooked, oppressed, or abused people. It is important that they are aware of their own struggles so that they will be able to help others.
- Love for others: True love for others is an important quality when discipling others.
- Ability to deny oneself: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”. Mission Minded don’t have a “me” mentality, but live for a bigger purpose which is to share the gospel.
- A dedicated focus: Mission Minded people don’t just give a half-hearted effort. They are dedicated to the cause of following and serving Christ.
- Steadfast heart: The journey will be met with challenges but the steadfast stand strong. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”
This is far from being an extensive list and it simply helps us as Mission Mobilisers to identify qualities within individuals which often work well in a cross-cultural missions settings. This list doesn’t mean that if one doesn’t have these they are not a mission minded person.
As we continue to mobilise for missions may our prayers be filled with faith that God will indeed send out workers into his harvest field. He requires workers who are steadfast, dedicated, humble, resilient and teachable. As Mobilisers we should also encourage individuals that these qualities are developed over time and if they are willing to learn and step out in faith they will see these qualities develop within their own lives.