Maybe you have listened to a sermon or a missionary appeal and you have thought to yourself, “I am there! I am going to that unreached people group!” After church, you get in your car and have lunch with friends, then you go home and do some yard-work. Monday morning rolls around and you drag yourself out of bed, sit in a colorless cubicle for 8 hours, come home to more work, and then repeat this cycle day in and day out. Come Friday afternoon, your once-passionate-heart for missions is as dry as a bone. You do not feel much of anything, let alone the zeal to compel you to sell everything and go somewhere hot and uncomfortable. So you go home and watch some TV. Missionary passion is long forgotten.
So, how does one get from being passionate about missions to feeling absolutely nothing? Here are 11 ways we’ve come up with to deaden missionary passion …
1.Ignore it. The desires that you do not feed die. Put positively, the desires that you feed grow. So, if you want to grow good desires, feed them. Be vigilant to fill your mind with “missionary propaganda.” Memorize Scriptures that propel you to missions, subscribe to missions-minded blogs, listen to missions sermons regularly (particularly by David Platt and John Piper), read good books on missions, read missionary biographies, attend a prayer meeting that prays for the nations, and so on. I committed my life to missions when I was 20 years old and now, 10 years later, I now have a husband, 4 kids, I have lived in 3 different states, have been through 4 churches, a degree program, 5 different jobs, and various ministries. There has been A LOT to distract me, but throughout the years I have just taken a minute or two to remind myself that there are people that do not have access to the Bible or the Gospel and that these people are bound to Hell FOREVER…unless they hear and believe the Gospel. This reality has re-focused my eyes time and time again.
2.Do NOT pray about it. What you do not pray about you do not care about. Conversely, have you ever prayed “Lord, give me an unquenchable desire to go onto the mission field”? If you pray that prayer, do you think God would answer it? I do. I think he will answer it because he has answered that prayer in my life. Similarly, in regard to your relationship with the Lord, have you prayed this prayer, “Lord, I do not desire you right now. I repent, please draw me closer to you”? When you have prayed this prayer, did the Lord answer it? I am sure he did because you asked for something that he wanted you to have. Why not apply this same principle to missions? Let’s be honest before the Lord and tell him if we do not desire the mission field and ask that he would make our hearts passionate for the nations.
3.Fill up your life with other (even good) things. Things that are out of sight are out of mind. If you want to kill a missionary desire, do not be vigilant to put missions “in your way.” One of the pivotal moments that pushed us to adopt our second two children was when I did a google image search for “Ethiopian orphans.” I saw picture after picture of starving, lonely children and being faced with a right picture of the need made me see the obstacles in perspective. Yes, it was and is expensive and difficult, but the need was too great to ignore. So, if you want to kill any desire you have for missions, fill up your life with a million other things, possibly even noble things, so that you do not have time to ponder the plight of the unreached.
4.Keep NOT repenting of your sin. Certainly a time if dryness in a desire to go overseas is not always caused by sin, but it can be. We cannot see the world as God does when we have sin in our eyes. We cannot feel for the needs of others when our eyes are turned towards ourselves. Unrepentant sin will obliterate a passion for missions. In the words of Christian-rap artist Lecrae, “Maybe I could change the world, but this porn on my lap-top got me stuck.” Secret sins subtly kill big dreams.
5.Constantly debate finer points of doctrine. It is possible for the Biblical forest to be lost through the Biblical trees.The foreordained goal of God to have people from every tribe, tongue, and nation worshipping him can be neglected at the hand of doctrinal accuracy. It is possible to get so caught up debating methods of evangelism that we do not evangelize. It is possible to spend so much of our time arguing over which translation of the English Bible is best that we continue to leave 2,100 language groups without any portion of the Scriptures. It is possible to squabble over which commentator thinks what about the interpretation of a particular passage that we neglect to obey that very passage! If you want to kill any desire you have for missions, enter into circles that constantly debate peripheral issues and do not shed a tear for the souls of the lost.
6.Pursue entertainment. A life-style of entertainment deadens the soul and quenches zeal. If you are troubled by hearing the footsteps of people running into Hell at night, turn on a movie. Those footsteps will be quieted in no time.
7.Keep accumulating. The more comfortable one is in America, the harder it will be to leave. The longer the kids play with the toys in the toy store, the harder it is to get them out of it. So, if you want to avoid missions, keep accumulating lots of things, keep thinking about “stuff,” talk about your “stuff,” keep maintaining your “stuff “and the result will be that your mind will have no space for missions. When you start to feel a twinge of compassion for the lost, go shopping.
8.Surround yourself with people just like you. If you want to quench the Spirit’s work in your heart regarding missions, make sure to only spend time with people that say things like, “Missions, I could never do that!” Avoid like the plague “missions people” or the zealous pastor. Be just too busy to attend church when there is a special presentation from a missionary or a missionary returns home on home assignment.
9. Pray for only what’s in front of you. If you want to kill any zeal for missions, pray only for your Community Group, your co-workers, and for your family—this is your circle of influence right? In the mean-time there are millions of people who are living and dying without having a single person pray for them. Who will pray for these people?
10.Deaden your Compassion with God’s Sovereignty. If you want to rid yourself of any sense of obligation to go overseas, focus primarily on the passages dealing with God’s sovereignty in salvation to the neglect of the passages that command us to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Stop at Romans 9 and do not dare to read further onto Romans 10. When your mind drifts towards Christians being God’s means of evangelizing the world, subconsciously remind yourself that all the elect will be saved anyway.
11.Remain Open but Never Commit “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results” (I copied this quote from a friend’s FB page). Interest in missions is a great starting point, but unless it grows and turns into commitment one will never go overseas. One can be open and interested, but until there is commitment, visa applications will not get filled out, malaria medicine will not get taken, and mission agencies will not be pursued. If you want to kill any desire you have for missions, see openness as an end and not as a means to get to commitment.
There aregreat reasons to not go into missions, but we pray these 11 reasons would help a few more stay the course and go where there is incredible need.
Stacey is a wife, mom, linguist, and Bible translator. Right now she is working on the writing system for the Kwakum including how to mark tone. Literacy among the Kwakum is already beginning and translation is scheduled to begin in September 2019!
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World Team is a global mission agency dedicated to church planting among unreached people groups.
Our goal is to make disciples and equip the local church to grow and multiply.
We do this by sharing the hope of Christ in word and deed.
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Dave and Stacey Hare met at The Master’s College (now The Master’s University) in Santa Clarita, CA. They then went on to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY where they each received their MDivs. Also in Louisville, they adopted four kids from Ethiopia. Their first term on the field they spent learning French and Kwakum. For their first home assignment they each received a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics, Bible Translation from the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (now Dallas International University). They currently live in Cameroon, Africa where they serve as Linguists/Bible Translators among the Kwakum (aka Bakoum) people.