“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” ( Mark 11:13 – 14).
Looking from the method of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are basic steps to preparing people to accomplish His missions in whatever area of involvement. Mark recorded in the passage above some of the steps that the Master and our Lord Jesus Christ took in preparing men for his enormous task (Missions).
- THE CALL: I have mentioned often times in some of my articles that every Christian is suppose to be involved in Missions. This means that, every Christians is called to missions but each person is called to do different things, this is where the issue of understanding the call of God is very important. ‘Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles’. As a Bible student you definitely have noticed that Jesus during His life time interacted very closely with different set of people, both men and women at different times and in different places. Apart from the works of healings, deliverance, miracles and so on that Jesus Christ did in the lives of most of them, many of them played very positive and significant roles in His ministry. They were all His disciples but He did not call all of them Apostles. The twelve disciples were the only one He called Apostles based on the nature of their calling – they were called and sent to places and people who have never heard the gospel. The Apostles were sent to pioneer the gospel message among the Jews and other people of other places of their time. That was a specific calling for a specific mandate. The call to be a missionary is a special call to specific people. An individual must hear God speaking to him to engage in a full time missionary work before taking such step. A Christian must be able to hear God clearly when God is speaking to Him especially when he or she is been called upon for a specific assignment.
- THE TRAINING: Mission is a spiritual venture, and God uses spiritual people to carry it out. Spiritual formation is the first and major training that is needed for a God – focus and productive missionary work. The Lord Jesus Christ called His disciples first and foremost to be with Him: ‘that they might be with him’. ‘To be with Him’ is a means of enrolling the 12 men in the School of Jesus Christ to learn His way of life and ministry. Despite the fact that the work was urgent and enormous, Jesus did not de-emphasize the importance of training neither did He send them in haste without appropriate preparations to equip them for the task. He took time to train and prepare His disciples before sending them out on mission. There are other technical training both formal and informal that are very important for missionary work but the spiritual formation supersedes them all. It is not sufficient to have a clear missionary call but we must have adequate spiritual, cross-cultural and other relevant trainings that will enhance our fruitfulness in ministry before going to the Mission Field. Also in the course of our service as missionaries we must equally make ourselves available to relevant trainings that will further equip us for greater effectiveness and fruitfulness in ministry.
- THE TASK: The summary of the missionary mandate is to go and make disciples of all nations. We have many and different areas of work in missions but all have the overall objective of making disciples of and for the Lord Jesus Christ. “designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach”. The Lord Jesus Christ sent the disciples out to preach. The disciples were called Apostles because they were sent out to preach. They could have just been called ‘disciples’ and not ‘Apostles’ if they were not sent out. Missionaries are not like other gospel workers, but they are missionaries because they do missionary works. The only way by which the unreached people of our time can be reached with the gospel of Christ is when men respond to their missionary calls, undergo appropriate trainings and do the work of a missionary.
God bless you.