I don’t sense God leading me to become a missionary. Is it selfish for me to send financial and prayer support and not go myself?

“Not at all. Be a sender.”

We have all been called to the body of Christ and to function within that body. Some will be witnesses in Jerusalem (your home town), some will be witnesses in Judea (linking arms in a greater area ministry). Some will be witnesses in Samaria (among the “unlovables” of the world), and some, as they are going throughout the world, will be witnesses to the uttermost parts.

For those who go to the uttermost parts, there is a need for a support team – a care group. For every member of the military who goes to the front line of battle, a minimum of nine back him up on the line of communication. Those who serve as senders are equally important. Their responsibilities are quite different from those who go, but they are equally vital. No, it is not selfish to be a part of “the rest of the team.”

Imagine a baseball coach telling the right fielder, “Hey, you didn’t touch the ball the whole game. We don’t need you any more!” Of course not. Likewise, though the ones who go might be like a pitcher or a catcher who touches the ball every inning, the other members of the team are equally responsible to fulfill their particular role.

On the other hand, we see an interesting progression in Matthew 9-10. Jesus has called on his followers to “ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field” (9:38). A few verses later he seems to tell his followers, “OK, guys. You’re it. Get going!” It may be that as you have been faithful in providing financial and prayer support for your missionary friend, God will direct you to the front line yourself.

Answer from Neal Pirolo, director of Emmaus Road International, missionary trainer, and author of I Think God Wants Me to Be a Missionary and Serving As Senders.

“No. Senders are crucial.”

I could not give scholarships to students, milk to babies, medicine to the sick, or Bibles to as many as possible if “nobody sent!”

I find that so many people think they are “not doing anything,” when, without their support, the “sent” could not be overseas where the need is so great.

Answer from David, who has served for eight years in Honduras and coordinates the medical aspects of several community development groups.

“Consider the role of the “feeling” of being called.”

I’m in full agreement with the other answers here, but allow to address one thing. If your primary reason for asking for alternative ways to support missions is that you don’t “feel called,” I’d encourage you to take a class like Perspectives.

It is possible that learning more about the why/who/etc. of missions could compel you to go even without “feeling a call.” I know of several missionaries who went to the mission field for reasons that didn’t include a particular “feeling” of being called.

It’s okay to serve as a sender, but make sure it’s not just the lack of a feeling that leads you make this decision. Just something to think about.

Answer from Richard, a missions mobilizer, who has served for several years with The Mission Society.

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