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Replacing the Either/Or Debate with a Both/And Vision

The U.S. Church needs more domestic and international laborers to be recruited to the Great Commission! Bundling a national call to service with international mobilization and recruiting will unleash the greatest number of recruits to work with us in both arenas.

It’s been my experience with recruiting in the U.S., that God has etched it on the American soul to want to be challenged to contribute to something of global proportions. It ignites the apostolic spirit in us, doesn’t it? I believe an environment of international recruiting to great global need resonates with American believers to help awaken enthusiasm for working with us in every setting, both locally and globally, leading to more laborers for every part of the international and domestic work.

It seems counter-intuitive that sending to and emphasizing all nations recruits to and strengthens our domestic needs and work. Both anecdotally and measurably, the churches and ministries that amplify and prioritize God’s global heart, global need, and global sending, attract the most local laborers! Ironically, it seems that God delights to help us reach our own nation when we increase sending into the whole world—a paradoxical strategy of reaching our nation through the nations! I think because God has imprinted it on our souls to reach the entire earth for Christ, that as we reach for it, others are drawn in and built up around our local U.S. works. It’s the spirit of Luke 6:38, “Give and it will be given to you.” Not to mention the “heavy lifting” and enrichment for local U.S. ministry from the formidable expertise of missionaries coming back when their overseas assignments of various lengths are completed.

Another reason to synthesize a global emphasis with our national recruiting is that there are many of our international workers, besieged by daily survival and wrenching needs, who do not even know how or where to ask for desperately needed reinforcements. Once workers are sent, our sending is not done. Their cry for help is often muted or marginalized by urgent local need. We need to maintain a dual, balanced mindset in personnel placement.

One American missionary recently told me that he had asked for personnel from the U.S. office repeatedly, without even a prospect being offered to pursue. He finally gave up asking. This should break our hearts and awaken us to action!

I often think of the parable of the Good Samaritan as impetus for external sending. American believers, like the Good Samaritan, must respond to the victimized peoples laying by the global roadside. Please re-read Luke 10:30–37 from a nations perspective. “He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed,” Proverbs 11:24–25.

Yes, we must address ministry in our Jerusalem, and in the near “nations” of our Judea and Samaria. We also must move out to the ends of the earth with a plan of engagement. But let’s leverage the power of synergy with all these. Let’s work what appears to be competing needs into strategic advantage, and fuse all this together into a dynamic, unified call to finish the Great Commission throughout the whole earth. Let’s think both/and, not either/or. That will inspire a new generation of laborers to lock arms with us next door to everywhere!


Mark Stebbins with The Navigators, a Mission Nexus member, provided this article. Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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