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Discipling Future Missionaries

Discipling Future Missionaries

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Mark 16:15; NASB

“There are only two kinds of people,” he leaned toward our three children. He whispered and his eyes sparkled. One half finger wagged at them and how cool is a cut off finger after all? Awed, they devoured each word from a man they considered as old as the Apostle Paul himself and every bit as godly.

“People are either goers or senders. God gives us two choices from Scripture.”

We sat in a restaurant nicer than most, with little girls who had never seen the inside of something classier than golden arches. Our family of five was home for a short three months after being gone for two years as missionaries on foreign soil. We’d come to renew relationships, report to donors, and rev up prayer support.

“Pick anything on the menu,” he’d said as we settled at a candle lit table.

Three pairs of blue eyes looked at me immediately for approval.

“Anything,” he repeated firmly.

I’m not sure if the girls even knew what a menu was but they found the prime rib immediately.

Our gentleman friend was delighted.

“I want to be just like him,” my daughter breathed later from the back seat of our car.

As part of a missionary sending agency where applications come in each year for long term overseas missionary careers, I am amazed how many candidates felt God’s call into ministry when they were children.

I also see that mom and dad are one of the biggest deterrents away from missionary service.

Parents are fearful of pushing children too young into emotional commitments that will harm them. We seek to protect and avoid heartache. We hope to keep them from legalism, guilt, or unrealistic ideals.

However, one of the most common reasons is we don’t want our children to leave. We can’t let go of our grandchildren. It breaks our hearts.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Jesus told his disciples.

If God the Father willingly gave His only Son to live and dwell on earth for the purpose of dying on the cross, how can we as parents hold limitations to God’s rights?

If your child hits the missions fork in the road, remember he or she belongs to God. Don’t stifle your children’s spiritual growth by holding them in a tightly closed fist.

Children have tender hearts and thoughtful minds. Discernment comes with maturity, but spiritual bent can be directed. When parents transfer God’s Word and His desires into the DNA of a child, God calls it discipleship.

Acquaint them with missionary stories, past and present. Introduce them to the fascinating lives of missionary children. Look at missions as much broader than a short adventure or quick trip. Help them understand overseas missions can be a lifetime commitment, even as missional living is at home. Help them relate learning language and culture to the way Jesus stepped into our world. Instill a passion for souls.

Another batch of young people arrive at our headquarters. They give up careers and recognition. They will go through difficulties and face dangers. Yet, they are eager to risk in this life because they are fervent about the next.

Jesus still taps shoulders and alters paths. I am eternally grateful for He does, because it is a demonstration of His mercy.


By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 13, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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