Matt Wells, Media Assistant
So you’re graduating. Congrats!
What are you going to do now? Do you have a job? Are you going to get your masters? Are you getting married?
Maybe you’ve heard those questions far too much lately. But people just want to know what’s next for you. “Yeah, so do I,” you may think to yourself.
Some people just have their whole lives planned out. Their first word as a baby was, “Mama,” and their second word was the job they wanted to be when they grew up. And they never strayed from that dream. Nothing could get in their way, not even college – look, they’re walking off that stage with a diploma that confirms their dream and a job offer waiting in the field of their dreams. They have a five-year-plan, a ten-year-plan, and a thousand-year-plan.
Maybe you don’t have a dream like that. Maybe you came into college with incredible dreams but some not-so-incredible grades made those dreams fade. Or a bad tryout, a bad breakup, or a bad decision broke down your bold ambitions.
It’s okay. For those of you who will have a diploma but not dreams or desires or direction, let me offer some Scriptural principles to help:
1. You already have a life mission. It’s called the Great Commission. Looking for a life’s direction? Looking for a cause to live for? Look no further than Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus calls all His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Not what you were looking for? Well there is no greater cause, no higher aim to strive for in life. No one else’s dreams will be loftier than yours – but there will be many who will join this mission with you (they’re called the church).
2. You already have your life ambition. What more amazing ambition could you have than to see people reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5)? No one could accuse the Apostle Paul of not being driven. He wrote in Romans 15:20: “I make it my ambition to preach the gospel…” That ambition for him was specifically to preach the Gospel to Gentiles in places Christ had not been named. And you can have a similar niche – how has God specifically wired you? What sort of people are you equipped to reach that no one else could reach?
3. All you have to do is pick a “side-job.” Just as the Great Commission gives us our life mission, so the Great Mandate gives us one way to accomplish that mission. You’ve probably heard it called the Creation Mandate – it’s found in Genesis 1:28, where God tells the man He created, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” This is a call to take the created order, all that God has made, and transform it for man’s use and ultimately God’s glory. God has just created man in His own image, and that includes His amazing sense of creativity. Now man can image his God by being creative himself in how he fashions God’s raw materials for man’s use. And once Christ came and gave us the Great Commission, we now have a goal with this mandate – “subdue” creation, not just for our use, but so that people hear the Gospel in all nations!
What are your skills? What was your major? What do you enjoy doing (so much so that you would do it for free)? Now, brainstorming time – how can you use that skill to get the Gospel out? How can you use
your job as an accountant to proclaim Christ? How can you use your creativity as a painter, as a movie-maker, as a musician to make others see Jesus? I could think of thousands of ways. So can you. Write them down – dream!
There – now you have a life mission and ambition. It’s time to “reach beyond yourself” and use your skills and passion and ambition and dreams (broken or unbroken) to accomplish what God has placed you on this planet to accomplish.
All for His glory.
Moses Kim, Graduate Student from Laos
“Mom, Dad, can we please go back home now?”
Don’t tell me you’ve never said that before. As a child we’ve all been there and done that. Dad’s workplace, shopping with mom, a dental clinic...you name it.
The only problem I had was that home was quite far away... or rather, whether I liked it or not, home wasn’t really “home” anymore.
My name is Moses Kim, and my parents are missionaries from South Korea to Laos.
When my family moved to Laos, I absolutely hated the place. Sure, you can’t ever make a seven-year-old happy, but I begged my parents every day, “Can we please go back home now?”
I missed home. I missed my friends. I missed food. What’s the point of living in Laos, where everything’s covered with dust and people don’t speak Korean at all?
But my perspective changed when I visited Korea after living in Laos for four years. When I heard from my parents that I get to go back to Korea during summer, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep for a whole week.
The plane landed and I was back “home.” But… was I really home? Everything was so foreign. Same country, same people, same food – but just different. I spent 45 days in Korea and came back to Laos. I felt much more at home, but still different.
Have you ever heard of the Aesop’s fable called, The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat? The story goes like this: there was a war between the birds and the beasts, but the bat didn’t know which side to join. When the birds were winning, he said, “I have wings, so I’m a bird like you!” When the beasts were winning, he said, “I have fur and teeth, so I’m a beast like you!” When the war was over, the bat was driven out of both groups because of his act.
Obviously what the bat did was wrong, but let’s try to look at it in a different angle. What if the bat honestly didn’t know what he was? Maybe he just wanted to find a group that he could relate to. Maybe he just wanted a place to call “home.”
People often ask me, “Where’s home for you?”
My answer is, “Uh...that’s a great question.” I don’t really have a place I could call “home” without a second thought.
I had days of identity crisis. I was swamped by the fact that I didn’t know where I belonged. Sometimes I blamed it on my parents.
I didn’t choose to be an MK. They chose to be missionaries. “Why, God? Why am I going through this? I just want to belong somewhere. I just want to live with people who are like me.” I was a hopeless “bat” which couldn’t be fully bird or fully beast.
I slowly got tired of asking the question as I got more used to my life in Laos, but it all came back when God brought me to the States.
Initially I tried to hang out with the Koreans, but it was pretty clear that I’m not one of them. Then I started hanging out with other international students – but still some barriers.
After them, I tried my beloved American friends. My freshman year, my roommates’ one and only goal (perhaps more than their GPA) was to “Americanize” me. Well, apparently they failed, since I don’t really feel at home in America yet.
When I began to seriously pray about it as I searched for an answer, God showed me some truths from His Word.
Because God made the word “home” a little bit vague for me in this world, I long for my heavenly home more. I have God, the Church, and Heaven. With those, I’m quite content. God taught me many valuable lessons (and He still is!) by making me a “bat.”
There are many different kinds of people in this world—different cultures and even some who are “third-culture-kids” like me.
But I don’t care what culture you are from. Are you my brother or sister in Christ? Let’s praise God together!
Ashlyn Hunt, Freshman Biblical Counseling Major
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Africa”? Let me take a guess: wild animals, jungle, heat? Poverty, malaria, death? The one word that comes to my mind is HOME. What is a foreign continent to so many is the place that holds my heart!
Twenty-six years ago, before I was even born, my parents felt God leading them to leave their home in America to be missionaries in Africa. God clearly called them to ministry, but my question was: did He call me? See, I wasn’t the one who chose to move across the ocean to serve God. From the moment I was born, Zambia was home—my normal. Yes, technically I was an MK (missionary kid), but that doesn’t make me a special, superhero Christian (simply ask my siblings J). I attended church every Sunday, did school during the week, and hung out with friends on the weekends. Life in Zambia was normal for me. So yes, clearly my parents were called; but was I, Ashlyn Hunt, called too?
From the time I can remember, my parents would purposely get us kids involved in ministry. After Sunday service, my Dad would say, "Okay, kids, time to do ministry. Go pick up all the song books.” Other times, we would help clean up after an event. This usually meant washing the never-ending piles of dishes. Many times we would have a grouchy attitude, but Dad would remind us that we were serving Jesus. Due to the nature of our ministry, Dad would often be away for several days or weeks. Upon arriving home, he would always remind us kids that by our allowing him to go away and preach, we too had had a part in the spreading of the Gospel. Whenever he would make this claim, I would sarcastically think, “Yeah, yeah.” I did not see how doing normal life was helping people get saved.
As I grew older, God began burdening me to get involved intentionally in our ministry. At that time, we were beginning a new church plant, and that provided the perfect platform for me to serve and grow in my faith. I had been teaching myself guitar for a while, and so I decided to help get a music team started. I was fourteen years old and knew nothing about music (I couldn’t even keep a tempo), but it was so much fun! A year later, my brother and I, who had only just learned the rudiments of sign language, were asked to help interpret a conference for the deaf. Then this past April, I had the amazing opportunity to help organize and run our church’s first youth camp, an experience that still stands out as the highlight of my year. But my involvement in ministry was not just limited to playing on a music team, interpreting conferences, or organizing our youth camp.
Somewhere in my mid-teen years, it clicked. What my parents had been engraving in us since we were little finally made sense: that ministry isn’t just doing “big” stuff for God. Rather, ministry is selflessly serving every day. It is seeing a need and serving to meet that need for the sake of the Gospel. That’s why picking up song books, washing dishes, and allowing Dad to travel was indeed a ministry. Sure, we weren’t preaching, but we were serving Jesus by serving others.
This concept radically changed my world! I began to see everything as an opportunity for ministry, even down to the very friends I made! I began purposely making friendships with girls in my youth group, not just to have friends myself, but rather to have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them. About two years ago, I began developing a friendship with this one girl and even got a chance to share the Gospel with her. Then, my family visited the United States last year for five months, and every day I prayed that she would believe in the Gospel and turn to Christ. Upon arriving home, I found out that she had indeed gotten saved while we were away. And a few weeks later, I had the privilege of watching her be baptized. We then began meeting every week for Bible study, and it has been amazing to see the power of God’s Word transform her life.
I want to boil everything that’s just been said down to two important points – something that I have come to learn and full-heartedly believe…
Life is for ministry, and ministry is life. You see, life and ministry are really one. So often we separate them, forming an inaccurate view of ministry. Usually, our mindset is life – Monday through Saturday – and ministry – Sunday morning singing in choir. Ministry is so much more than just serving at church (although that is extremely important).
Life, every-day life, is our call to ministry! And people, every-day people, are our mission field! God hasn’t called us all to minister overseas, but He has called us all serve right where we are.
So to answer my question, “Am I, an MK from Kitwe, Zambia, called to ministry too?” my answer would be YES! Just like every other Christian is called to minister right where they are. You do not have to have the skill, experience, and degrees in order to serve. God is looking at the heart, and He will use those who have a humble, selfless spirit. And believe me, serving Jesus by ministering to others is one of the most rewarding experiences in the world! Be great and serve. Because life is for ministry!
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The CGO Blog
Written by the CGO staff, with guest posts from students and other faculty/staff at BJU to provide thought leadership for missions in a new millennium.