The call of the worker is, in reality, a general call to the whole church. The real question is, “Who should join us as workers among the least-reached?” This raises the matter of God’s calling on all our lives. This is sometimes presented as a mysterious thing or a product of sentimentality or emotionalism. In Scripture there are many people whose call wasn’t recorded. God’s calling on the lives of all believers shouldn’t be seen as unique, unusual or spectacular. The Great Commission (Mt. 28:18‐20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:47; Jn. 20:21 and Acts 1:8) was given to the whole church and applies to each member of the church. A call to the whole body of believers includes a call to each member of the body. The whole church is to be committed to world mission and God is a missionary God. In a sense every believer should be a missionary. The Lord of the Harvest directs where workers go. A worker who stays in the town of his birth isn’t inferior to a worker in Atlanta, Riyadh, or Tokyo.
The New Testament offers several different examples, short-term teams going out without any financial support (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1), Jesus and the apostles as fully-supported, full-time missionaries (Matt 27:55, Mark 15:41, 2 Cor 11.9), Peter, Paul and Priscilla and Acquila being self-supported bi-vocational missionaries (the massive catch from Luke 5, 1 Thes 2.9, Acts 18). No model is referred to as being more “holy” than another because all lead to the goal of making disciples.
History shows us William Carey managed a factory while also translating the Bible into Bengali, Hans Nielsen Hauge was a serial entrepreneur and gifted Norwegian evangelist, Betsey Stockton set up a school system for 8,000 children in order that they could read the Bible while also working as a maid. The Moravians and Anabaptists are denominations which have sent hundreds of bi-vocational church planters and tentmakers to the least-reached. The question is really about intentionality. Do we wake each day with the goal of planting a church or do we simply want to make it through the day?
A disciple-maker walks with people as they become believers and pastor takes care of an established group of believers (church/ ekklesia).
To be a disciple-maker you need to be an obedient Christ, striving to become more like Christ through prayer, Bible study and reflection, and fellowship with other Christians. You also need to have a deep rooted desire to share the whole Good News of Jesus Christ (forgiveness for sin, reconciliation with God, a purpose for living, power over evil, soul transformation, and eternal life in heaven) with those who have not heard or believed. It can be helpful, but not required, that disciple-makers have some background in cross-cultural theology and bible studies.
Because we spend a majority of our time (and live out our values) at work, many churches have been planted at work. Most marketplace disciple-makers use everyday relationships to share the Gospel with people around them. Examples include: Telling work colleagues about how after prayer God met a unique need. At a school event, sharing stories from the Bible or scripture which relate to problems that other moms or dads are struggling with. Visiting and praying for a sick colleague.
The goal of these interactions is to find out who is curious about God and who would like to read the Bible together. We pray that by reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit (not us) is able to show the unbeliever their need for Christ. The key components of the Discovery Bible Study method are: involvement of the Holy Spirit, reading and obedience to God’s Word, and sharing the learning with others.
Living overseas can be a great experience. It allows us to experience different cultures, new places, and new ways of thinking and doing things. Living overseas can also be lonely, confusing, and frustrating. Some people live overseas and never venture out of their “bubble”- they live in neighborhoods filled with people from the same cultural background, make friends with these same people, and never experience local culture or friendship. Others immerse themselves in the local culture. They learn the language, make local friends, and understand the culture. You know you have become immersed when all the “strange” things the locals do now make sense to you- and you find yourself doing them.
You may find yourself earning more than you would back home depending on where you live and the type of job you have. Others will find themselves making less but feel compensated by increased career opportunities or better work/life balance. We are told to count the cost (Luke 14:28) and you’ll need to weigh career expectations, family obligations/expectations, financial compensation, work/life balance, general adaptability, and willingness to suffer for Christ when deciding whether to work overseas.
Generally, most overseas jobs for Westerners are for middle/upper management or skilled professions. Most overseas employers want to hire Western expats because of the quality of work and high productivity. Most overseas jobs are more demanding than equivalent jobs at home so be prepared to work hard. Some fields with openings:
Be aware that many countries require two years of experience before they will approve the work permit and usually the employer must demonstrate that there is a lack of local qualified talent.
This will depend on your employer and what you have negotiated in your employment contract. Some employers provide a housing stipend and you will need to find your own housing, while others will provide you with housing. Be aware that it is customary in many countries to pay one or two years’ rent in advance.
This will vary depending on where you live. If you live in a country which allows proselytizing you can distribute tracts, and share the Gospel freely with strangers or friends. However, if you live in a “closed country”, one which prohibits proselyting, you will need to limit your sharing to friends or colleagues and begin by “testing the waters” by sharing from your own experiences with Jesus, general characteristics of God, or Bible stories. You will need pray for understanding of how to balance wisdom and boldness. In any case you should be ready and willing to lose your job, leave the country, or worse because risk always exists when we share Christ (Matt 10:16-22).
Career- Get the best education you can afford. Get a job at the top company/hospital/school in your region. Work hard, deliver excellence and practice sharing your faith at work (Col 3:23).
Spiritually- Study the Bible and develop an understanding on what is Christ and what is culture, develop a lifestyle of prayer and gratitude, take Perspectives, learn and practice church planting, and develop your theology on suffering for Christ.
Culturally- Work with international students, refugees, or other cross-cultural groups, learn about other cultures and the cultural practices of the region you want to move to, and take cultural adaptation training.
The timing largely depends on what skills/education/experience you already have and how quickly you want to move. Some people are already ready and trained but need to wait for life circumstances (ailing parents, school timing, and rental contracts) while others may be ready but need more training.