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Missions Major...A Closer Look
By Kirsten Brown
What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Missions”? Perhaps you picture orphans in a third-world country and think that involvement in Missions requires the sacrifice of ‘normal’ routine and comforts to move to a distant land. The reality is that a career in Missions is not so far-fetched from what you most likely consider a standard life. It is, however, a life that we as Christ-followers are called to live.
In Matthew 28:16-20 we find what we call the Great Commission, where Jesus tells his disciples, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
As Christians we take this commission and the commands found in Scripture as our task: calling us to make disciples or followers of Christ, to proclaim the gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15), to be the light that brings salvation to the ends of the earth (Acts 13:47), and to declare God’s glory and his marvelous works among the nations (Psalm 96:3).
To live out this task, we must understand that in order to reach the nations, we have to start small— by first loving and serving those around us. Since God has gifted each individual with unique strengths and talents, don’t you think He intends for us to use those gifts for His glory? If you have a heart to reach the nations for Christ, begin by taking your passions and turning them into service opportunities.
As a college student, you may be overwhelmed by your desire to serve God in Missions and not know where to begin. Consider your college education training for a life on the Mission Field. In whatever area you invest your time and mind, God will ultimately use for His purposes if you desire to serve Him. Equip yourself to be of the most use for God’s glory by pursuing a career where your interests lead you: whether that be in Teaching/Training, Bible Translation, Evangelism, Medicine, Church or Parachurch Ministry, or through a Non-Profit Service Organization.
Once you have an idea of the direction you feel called to pursue, you are then able to determine what field of study you should enter. Again, remember that investing and developing your interests and strengths can open up a world of possibilities when it comes to Missions. A specific training and skill set could serve as a ticket into a community or culture that is otherwise closed to the gospel. Some commonly pursued degrees that can be used for the purpose of Missions include Foreign Language, Communication, International Business/Business Administration, Aviation, Technology, Broadcasting, Education, Social Work, Medicine, or Missions itself. The list does not end here – you can turn any passion into an outlet for service.
Finally, service to others may seem to fix a temporary need, but without sharing Christ with them your service will not ultimately have a lasting impact. In a 2014 sermon on Missions, Pastor John Piper states, The missionaries that will do the most good for eternity and for time – for eternal salvationand temporal transformation- are the missionaries who focus on converting the nations to faith in Christ. And then on that basis, and from that root, teach them to bear the fruit of all that Jesus commanded us.
To share the gospel through service in Missions we must enhance our knowledge of Scripture. Many Christian colleges offer a Bible Minor— or at minimum a solid foundation in Scripture— built directly into your coursework and degree of study in order to equip you to be a light in a dark world, regardless of your ultimate career goals. Immerse yourself in God’s word, and you won’t be able to help but develop more of a desire to love, serve, and reach the lost for Christ.