How Seriously do we take the Mission?

August 04, 2023 Brian W

Imagine you are on a beach surrounded by soldiers of your own country. Before you can even process why you are there, enemy shells begin exploding all around you, and enemy gunfire starts raking the beach. You want to run, but you have no idea where to go or where to find cover. Before you completely panic, a man in charge turns to you and shoves a pack with some explosives and weapons into your hands. He shouts and points, “Go! Climb up that cliff and take out those guns, or our men will die!” 

Finally, you find your voice and shout back, “Wait, I’m not sure what is happening, I have no training for this! I am not even a soldier! I don’t even know how to climb!”

The man looks back at you grimly, “You love your country, don’t you? You know we must defeat the enemy! Understand that soldiers’ lives hang in the balance! You must climb and destroy those guns! If necessary, watch the other soldiers climbing and do what they do to get the job done.”

What do you do? Even if you don’t fully understand the situation and you are not trained, I hope you find the courage to do your very best to destroy those guns and save lives. Though, I would not blame you if you failed for lack of training or if your courage failed you at the base of the cliff and you ran away. Unfortunately, many missionaries find themselves in a similar situation. They go to share the Gospel without situational awareness, training, or context to do it successfully. Many missionaries find a way forward anyway and learn as they go, but I wonder why the church often makes it so hard for them?


Missionaries often have very little training in the tasks of their calling. Especially in understanding and processing culture and expressing truths from Scripture in a way understandable to the people with whom they are communicating. Many missionaries go to the field with little more than orientation to their sending agency’s policies, a few tips of the trade, a strong suggestion to learn from the people already there, and, inadequate at best, non-existent at worst, training in spiritual warfare. 

The difference between an ex-pat trying their best to share about Jesus and a missionary firmly planting the Gospel in a new culture is training. Training happens through skilled trainers, on and off the field, preparing the missionary for the task, or learning through great pain, tears, and grief in the school of hard knocks on the field. A school, I might add, that many missionaries do not and cannot complete. We should back up, though! For there to be a missionary, there must first be a clear mission. It is impossible to complete a task if it is not understood or only defined in vague terms.

My colleague at MissioSERVE went on a mission trip, and after she was already committed to the trip, she discovered something alarming. In her own words, here is what she discovered as she was going through the training :

“The trainer asked, ‘If you had to choose between truth or love on the mission field, which would you choose? Raise your hand if you would choose love…’ Almost every hand in the room shot up except for mine. I knew that the two, love and truth, were inseparable in Scripture. At that moment, I discovered that my team’s mission was not true to the Gospel.”

I have great sympathy for her in the sense that love only comes from truth, and love is only beneficial when it is in truth. Only someone other than Jesus would ever be motivated to choose only truth or love. In that case, training could not have saved the situation because the mission was off. While the agency that sent my colleague said they were training, they had lost all sense of the task that Jesus had set before us. If a task is worth doing, if a mission is worthy of being accomplished, it is worth taking the time to prepare.

My colleague said another wise thing to me in the context of short-term trips that also applies in spades to long-term missionaries. She said:

“I learned that ill-prepared teams, no matter how good their intentions, often do not have a positive, lasting effect on those they go to serve.”

Preparation is the heart behind our D3 training process. As we walk through discoverydevelopment, and deployment, we help both the missionary and the church that sends them prepare to serve, know, and engage with their host culture in a way that builds trust, authentic relationships, and faithful Gospel proclamation and disciple-making. When we accept the Missio Dei to extend His worship to all the Earth and to spread the praise of His glorious grace to every nation, tribe, language, and people we undertake a serious task. 


All of us at MissioSERVE dedicate ourselves to the idea that if a mission is worth doing, the church that sends and the missionary that goes need to be prepared to accomplish that task. The missionary does not go on mission alonetheir sending church goes on mission with them. Supporting churches enter into a relationship of giving and receiving much deeper than finances. The church supplies comfort, spiritual careadditional recruitsprayer, and they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their missionaries on the battle line. When pursuing the Missio Dei, the church and missionary need to prepare for the task so that no matter what deception the Enemy uses and how dire the circumstance, God is glorified and His people praise Him. We can help; we are here to serve; what is holding you back?

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Brian W
Brian served 14 years in the Republic of Georgia, where he started a youth ministry, discipled new leaders, and planted over 15 new churches before serving in leadership of another missions organization. Brian is married to Maia and they have two children.