By David P. Jacob
In our latest research here at the Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention, we interviewed 14 missionary candidates from two different missions agencies, asking them about the factors God used to call them into long-term missionary service. We wanted to record and analyze their stories to better understand how current missionaries impact the mobilization of others. The study confirmed that missionaries are indeed strong influencers whom God often uses to guide others towards long-term missions work. Additionally, several factors emerged that reveal how God frequently uses missionaries as they are on home ministry assignment travelling and speaking in a variety of contexts.
- Stories and Testimonies
Many respondents shared how they remembered a missionary speaker who shared a story or testimony that made a deep impact on their own missionary call. Oftentimes, the candidates could not recall the missionaries’ names, yet God used their stories in powerful ways. Speaking of a missionary to India who came and spoke at her church when she was young, one respondent noted, “I can see she really had a big influence because of her heart for the people and the amazing stories she shared. I’d say being able to hear from childhood those stories and seeing a missionary for myself definitely had a big influence [on my own calling].”
- A Missionary’s Character
In addition to hearing stories and testimonies told by missionaries, the majority of respondents spoke about observing the character of the missionary as being a strong mobilization influencer.
After listening to a missionary share in a church service, a respondent recalled, “I wanted to experience what they did. I wanted to do what they did. I wanted to go where they went. I wanted to be on the front lines of an engagement, in a way that created a sense of spiritual adventure.” A missionary’s passion, sacrifice, and determination to follow God at all costs sets an example for other believers. God frequently uses the observance of the missionary’s character to speak to others about their own spiritual adventure in missions.
Several other important factors emerged in our study which we will be exploring further during a free graduate class titled, Trends & Issues in Mobilization hosted by our partner school, Trinity Bible College and Graduate School (https://www.trinitybiblecollege.edu/). This course will take place November 16-19, 2020 on the campus of Trinity Bible College and Graduate School (ND) with an online option as well. Anyone interested can register here: https://form.jotform.com/201886377586068. This class is part of an M.A. Intercultural Studies program with an optional track focusing on Missions Mobilization. For more information and research on missionary mobilization and retention, please visit https://www.missionarymobilization.org/.
As we study, pray, and dialog about missionary mobilization, may it result in the Lord of the harvest sending out more laborers for His glory.
This article is submitted by David Jacob of Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention. Center for Missionary Mobilization and Retention is a Missio Nexus member. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.