THE GREAT COMMISSION COMMANDS US TO GO. Now, to be honest, I’m a layman and I feel like I’ve already gone. My summers have been spent in ministry: working at church camp, attending Truth & Peace and the national convention, traveling with the National Youth Evangelistic Team, and working with other groups. In my mind, however, the international E-TEAM was always for those missions-minded people.
After graduating from high school, I left my Illinois home and family to attend Free Will Baptist Bible College where I now work recruiting students to train for God’s service around the world. So, what’s left for me to fulfill my part in the Great Commission? Sure, there are still unreached peoples, but I’m not called into missions. My part is here, safe in my comfort zone.
God Changed My Mind
It’s funny how a person’s mindset and attitude can change over time. I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but haven’t been farther than Canada. Even though I have no trouble adjusting to cultures, so far the most exotic culture I’ve visited is the Deep South.
When the opportunity arose for a two-week visit to Central Asia with an FWBBC group, ministering in countries I can’t pronounce (which makes it difficult to spell them phonetically), two thoughts crossed my mind. First, I thought I should leave overseas travel to those planning ministries as career missionaries. Second, I realized what a great opportunity this would be to travel abroad. The still, small voice in my head reminded me of the witness I could be, even on the other side of the world.
Missionary for a Day
I don’t feel called into missions. I have a deep respect for those who leave it all behind to impact people who don’t speak their language, but it’s not for me. However, by the time you read this, for two weeks in March, I will have experienced the other side: the side of the Great Commission that means a different culture, an unfamiliar language, and an ocean separating me from the place I call home. I get to be a missionary for a day.
The thought is both overwhelming and eye opening. Is this “missions” attitude something I have only because I’m traveling across the world? Do international missionaries feel like they are on a mission trip when they return to the U.S.?
The Great Commission is much broader than Christians like to admit, but it is a command to every one of us. As a layman, it’s realizing that my part in spreading the gospel doesn’t begin with traveling to the uttermost; it starts today with the first step I take into my Jerusalem.
Ryan Lewis is a 2005 graduate of Free Will Baptist Bible College. Currently, he serves as director of recruitment.