I remember, lying in my hospital bed, reading John Piper’s book:“Let The Nations Be Glad.” No other book like this one has opened my eyes to see God’s heart for the nations (i.e, apart from the Bible). The book drove me to the scriptures, and that’s what I like about the book. Surely, what brought me to Japan in 2004 was what I heard God speaking to my heart from the pages of the scripture. One of them is an undeniably crystal clear command to “Go and make disciples” in Matthew 28: 18, 19, 20. Having said this, I’d like to draw your attention to what Piper wrote in his Driving Convictions Behind Foreign Missions. I have highlighted some in red that I think are crucial to note. When it comes to missions, he says:
“there are only three kinds of people: goers, senders, and the disobedient. It’s not God’s will for everyone to be a “goer.” Only some are called to go out for the sake of the name to a foreign culture (e.g., Mark 5:18–19).
Those who are not called to go out for the sake of the name are called to stay for the sake of the name, to be salt and light right where God has placed them, and to join others in sending those who are called to be cross-cultural missionaries.
In God’s eyes both the goers and the senders are crucial. There are no first and second class Christians in God’s hierarchy of values. Together the goers and the senders are “fellow-workers with the truth” (3 John 8).
So whether you are a goer or a sender is a secondary issue. That your heart beats with God’s in his pursuit of worshipers from every tribe and tongue and people and nation is the primary issue. This is what it means to be a World Christian.“
He goes on to say that:
“The Need of the Hour Is for Thousands of New Paul-Type Missionaries, A Fact Which Is Sometimes Obscured by the Quantity of Timothy-Type Missionaries.
Timothy left Lystra, his hometown (Acts 16:1), and became a church worker (a Timothy-type missionary) in a foreign place, Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), which had its own elders (Acts 20:17) and outreach (Acts 19:10). This is the model of a Timothy-type missionary: going far away to do Christian work where the church is fairly well established. It has biblical precedent and it is a good thing to do, if God calls you.
But that’s not what Paul was called to do. His passion was to make God’s name known in all the unreached peoples of the world. He said that he made it his ambition “to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Romans 15:20). One of the most stunning things Paul ever said is in Romans 15:19, 23: “From Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fulfilled the gospel of Christ . . . I no longer have any room for work in these regions.” This stunned me, when I finally saw its implications.
No room for work between Jerusalem and northern Greece! His work there is done in spite of all the unbelievers that remain! He is now moving on to Spain. How could he say this? The answer is that he was a frontier missionary, not just a cross-cultural missionary. He was called to reach the unreached peoples, where there is no church to evangelize its own people.
What most Christians don’t know today is that there are probably ten times more Timothy-type missionaries in the world than there are Paul-type missionaries. And yet there are still thousands of people groups – read more From Desiring God: Driving Convictions Behind Foreign Missions).
I humbly and simply want to ask: Are we goers, senders or the disobedient? Does your heart beat with God’s heart in His pursuit of worshipers from every tribe and every nation?