As Christians, we are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations.
For some this means moving overseas for the spread of the Gospel, while for others it means supporting those who are on the mission field.
But is there ever a reason a person should NOT go overseas even if they feel “called” to do so?
While cross-cultural mission work is sorely needed to reach the nations with the Gospel message of Jesus – there are times when a person should not go.
An Escape from Reality
The “geographical cure” for escaping one’s problems is as old as time.
Often people are struggling in life – whether it’s through a bad breakup or a death of a loved one – or maybe even with a particular sin.
Somehow, they think moving across the world will “cure” whatever ails them.
Sadly, this is how many Christians fall – as their undealt with trauma explodes on the mission field harming the very people they went to serve.
Of course, this isn’t saying missionaries are perfect Christians, as none of us are – but it does mean they have a demonstrated record of walking with the Lord and bearing good fruit.
A person who struggles with unmanaged anxiety, grief, or even sexual sin will face these same issues overseas – often at a much more intense level.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Make sure before you commit to moving overseas you’ve got your own house in order.
An Emotional Whim
Perhaps you heard a sermon by a preacher who abandoned everything to move overseas and share the Gospel – and hundreds came to Christ.
You might be so compelled by his story you want to do the same.
While it’s great to have enthusiasm and a desire to serve overseas – it’s important to put things into perspective before you move.
Take your desire to do mission work to your local church – and let them disciple and mentor you.
Doing mission work as a “lone ranger” won’t enable you to have the benefit and protection of serving alongside a team who in unity can glorify Jesus.
Make sure before you consider moving overseas you are active in a local church, and they’ve sent and commissioned you out.
You Don’t Share Jesus at Home
Look at how you live your life right now – do you share the Gospel and love of Jesus with others?
If you “hate” sharing the Gospel and think Christianity is a “private religion” …
… what makes you think that magically you’ll have the desire to evangelize in a foreign country?
Cross-cultural mission work isn’t for the faint of heart.
You’re away from your family and friends – often living in extreme poverty with the people you serve learning a foreign language.
These stresses alone are tough even for the most seasoned Christians – but their desire to reach those who don’t yet know Christ drives them.
If you don’t share Jesus at home or at work – and regularly pour into those around you – it’s unlikely you’ll do it overseas.
Not Now Doesn’t Mean Never
Of course, just because you may not be ready to move overseas right now, doesn’t mean you never will.
There are always seasons in life.
Maybe your job right now is to be a mother or father and raise up a future missionary.
Or perhaps serving on a short-term mission trip so you can experience what it’s like to do mission work overseas in a short capacity.
But regardless of whether you are called to move overseas now, someday, or never – you can help spread the Great Commission and support individuals and organizations that are making His name known across the world.
Do you think every Christian is called to do overseas mission work?
What are your thoughts about the reasons we listed about not moving overseas?
You can post your answers to our Facebook page and join in the conversation with other believers from all around the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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