I have heard a common refrain from many in the church - "I am not into missions; My thing is not mission work; I am not a missionary." Often these responses are put in direct opposition to statements like "I am more concerned about discipleship, God's word, bible study, or some other christian kind of term."
I remember my youth group Drama Team sang a song "O Lord please send me anywhere, but K-Town high" (that was the name of my high school). The sentiment was clear - I will go do anything for you, just don't send me to share the gospel with the people that I know or that know me the most. This was probably a fairly common expression for teenagers - but I am finding it is also a common expression for adult christians too - I will do anything for you (Jesus) but I won't do that (go tell those around me about the gospel).
While it sounds super spiritual and mature to say that we are more passionate or concerned about discipleship, the bible, teaching or the church - it does not reflect the way Jesus views his people - the church, us - or the bible reflects what it is to be a disciple at all. Jesus said to his disciples that you (we) are his witnesses; Paul says that the church (we) are ambassadors for Christ; and Peter says that you (we) are to declare the glories of Christ in darkness.
God does not call EVERYONE to go to Africa, China or some other people group. But God does call EVERYONE to make known the gospel where He has already sovereignly put us - in our neighborhoods, schools, work places, relationships and beyond.
If you are a follower of Jesus - you ARE a missionary. If you do not want to be a missionary - you might not be a follower of Jesus. Being a missionary where you already suggests several things: 1) that you are passionate about discipleship, namely your own. You want to grow in your knowledge of the gospel and your relationship with Jesus. You can not share what you do not already know or have. The goal of your own discipleship, is that you would make new disciples of those around you. 2) that you are passionate about the bible. If you read the bible for any length of time you will notice very quickly that mission is at the heart of the bible because it is at the heart of God. If you are an active ready of God's word and you are not convicted and challenged to make God known to others - you are missing one of the main points of scripture. 3) you are passionate about the gospel. The gospel that you believed, that ushered you out of darkness and into the light of Christ is at its core a missionary call - the gospel is what God has done to reconcile sinners to himself through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a message not just to be heard and believed but to be told or declared to others. If you know the gospel well, you will share the gospel often. 4) you are passionate about the church. Jesus Christ is building his church - the way he uniquely builds it is through his own sovereign work in the world, the Holy Spirit's power and through you. If you love the church, if you love being a part of the church, if you love worshipping with the church, if you love seeing the church grow, you will share the gospel with others - because the way we people are added to the Kingdom of Jesus and into the church is through....the proclamation of the gospel.
In the coming weeks - identify 2 or 3 people you know that do not know Jesus Christ. Begin to pray for God to change their heart and mind about Him and about who they are. Intentionally be a gospel presence in their life - demonstrating the transforming power of God in you - talking about what He has done. Finally, tell them how much God loves them in Jesus.
God's missional call for his church, for us, is to make converts. God does the converting and he is better at it than way are anyway. God's call for us is to simply declare and make known the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness, directing people to see Jesus (the savior of the world) and to invite them to respond to his Gospel with faith. Don't worry about the results - just engage. Let God send you...right where you already are...and be amazed at how he uses you for his glory in the world.