The question, “Does God call everyone to be a missionary?” is one that has sparked numerous debates and discussions among believers and theologians alike. To answer this question, it’s crucial first to define missionary work and understand its biblical context.



Defining Missionary Work

To define missionary, we look at the Latin root word ‘missio,’ which means ‘to send.’ In a religious context, a missionary is an individual sent on a mission, often into an area where their faith is not yet prevalent, with the aim of spreading their religion through evangelism or humanitarian work.

Missionaries are typically associated with specific religious groups who take it upon themselves to spread their teachings and beliefs. They often travel to different parts of the world to provide aid, education, medical services, and spiritual guidance.


Biblical Perspective on Missionary Work

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 records Jesus commanding his followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This passage is often cited as the biblical foundation for Christian missionary work.

However, does this commission apply to every Christian? Are all believers called by God to be missionaries?


God’s Unique Calling for Each Individual

While the Great Commission was given to all believers, it’s important to understand that God has a unique calling for each individual. Some are called into full-time pastoral ministry; others may be called into teaching or serving in various capacities within their local church community. Still others might be called into secular professions where they can influence society for Christ.

Therefore, while every believer is called to participate in the Great Commission by spreading the gospel and making disciples in some way or another, not everyone is called by God to leave their home country and become full-time missionaries in the traditional sense.


The Role of Personal Calling and Spiritual Gifts

The New Testament emphasizes the diversity of spiritual gifts within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). Some are gifted in teaching, others in serving, others in evangelism, and so on. These gifts are given by God for the edification of the church and for carrying out His mission in the world.

If God has gifted you with a passion for cross-cultural ministry and a burden for unreached people groups, then perhaps He is calling you to be a missionary. However, if your gifts lie elsewhere, it’s likely that God has a different role for you to play in His mission.


The Benefits of Going on a Mission Trip at Least Once

Even if you may not be called to do foreign mission work full time, everyone benefits from going on a mission trip at least once. Short-term mission trips can be transformative experiences that broaden your perspective and deepen your faith. They provide opportunities to serve others, share the love of Christ in tangible ways, and see firsthand the global impact of the gospel.

Participating in a mission trip helps you to step out of your comfort zone, develop a heart for service, and cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude and humility. It also allows you to build relationships with people from different cultures and backgrounds, fostering a greater sense of unity within the body of Christ.

Moreover, the lessons learned and the experiences gained on a mission trip can be brought back to your local community, enhancing your ability to live missionally at home. This experience can inspire and equip you to support full-time missionaries and engage more actively in your local church’s outreach efforts.


God’s Universal Call to Missional Living

While not everyone is called to be a missionary in the traditional sense, every Christian is called to live missionally. This means living our lives as representatives of Christ wherever we are and whatever we do.

Missional living involves showing Christ’s love through our actions, sharing our faith with others, serving those in need, praying for the advancement of God’s kingdom, and supporting those who are called into full-time missionary work.


Use Your Gifts

So, does God call everyone to be a missionary? If we define missionary as someone who leaves their home country to spread the gospel overseas, then no – not everyone is called by God to be a missionary. However, if we define missionary as someone who participates in God’s mission by sharing their faith with others and living out their faith authentically wherever they are – then yes – every Christian is called by God to be a missionary.

Therefore let us embrace our unique callings and spiritual gifts while striving together towards fulfilling The Great Commission. Whether at home or abroad, may we all live lives worthy of our calling as followers of Christ.