Logan Douglas is a missionary church planter in Iceland working with The Iceland Project. 

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

My first seminary course was Global Missions and Evangelism. I was amazed, as a 4-month-old Christian, that there were these groups called Unreached People Groups (UPGs). 

I figured that Gideons had distributed enough Bibles to convert the whole world. Sadly, this is not the case and there are still 6,701 Unreached People Groups in the world today. Let that sink in. That means 6,701 groups of people have never heard the name of Jesus. 

They have rebelled against the holy God of the Universe and their only hope for forgiveness is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and they don’t even know His name. 

As I went through this seminary course I was amazed by the Mission of God. God is a missionary God. He sought out Adam and Eve in their sin and shame, and He clothed them and promised to overturn the destructive works of the devil (Gen 3). 

From this point on we see God’s pattern for seeking out a people for Himself and saving them, primarily from themselves. This mission was carried by God’s people through God’s message by living for God’s glory as God had commanded. 

When Jesus comes on the scene we find out that this is the very same mission His Father in Heaven has given to Him (Lk 19:10; Jn 6:37-40). After Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected, He gave His disciples the Great Commission and told them to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20a). 

So the question shouldn’t be “Should I go?”, but instead “Should I stay?” Scripture makes it clear that God is calling Christians to be willing to go into all the world and make disciples in the context of local churches. Notice I said “willing to go”, not necessarily that you will go. But how do you know if you should go? 

Internal Calling

Have you ever listened to a sermon on missions or read a great book on missions, maybe even a missionary biography, and felt a certain level of unease? Like a disturbance in your little internal world, like something wasn’t right? 

Maybe you have found yourself praying for UPGs that The Joshua Project highlights each day and asking yourself what may be stopping you from going to live among these people and share the hope of Jesus with them through word and deed. 

Have you wrestled with the fact that there are 6,701 people groups who do not know the saving truth that God’s only begotten Son has come so that they might be saved from God’s wrath because of their sin?  If any of this is true of you, I would suggest that you might have an internal calling or burden to go and make disciples in other nations. Notice I said “might”. How can you further discern this? 

External Affirmation

One of the beautiful facets of the Gospel is that God saves us into His family, the Church. Your church family, especially your church leaders, can speak into your life and help you discern an internal calling to international missions and church planting. 

It is vital for you to lean on the wisdom of godly brothers and sisters in your local church to help you think well about the totality of what it would mean for you to move internationally to be a part of missionary church planting. 

Many people have moved onto the mission field too soon. Others have gone to the mission field when they were never called in the first place. Heartbreaking stories are told of missionaries, their families, and churches that are damaged because of a failure of the missionary, which might have been prevented if they had sought out external affirmation from their local church. 

This gets more complicated if you believe you are called to be a church planter. Much more goes into this process and there are many organizations that can help assess your competence for this task and train you, even at your local church. I highly advise you to seek out external affirmation before you start selling possessions, drop out of college, or leave your current ministry context. 

Biblical Decision-Making Process: P-S-C (Prayer-Scripture-Counsel)

I have benefited greatly from what I call a Biblical Decision-Making Process. As I have read Scripture, I see that we are called to communicate with God through prayer, seeking wisdom from Him through His Word, and also leaning on the important relationships we have in our local church, especially the wisdom from those leaders who shepherd your soul as undershepherds of Christ. 

  • Pray – Pray long and hard, and ask others to pray with you.
  • Read – Read the Gospels, read Acts, pray, and write down what God is showing you in His Word. 
  • Ask – Ask your pastor for a meeting and share with him what you feel like God is calling you to. Ask those brothers and sisters who are closest to you to share their thoughts as well. 

For those sensing a call to the international mission field, know that I am praying for you.

“And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’” – Luke 10:2

Check out this week’s podcast from In The Trenches as Jared and Logan talk to special guest Clint Clifton about how to identify and train church planters from within your own church.