The experience you gain in serving in your own culture will benefit your ministry on the mission field. Indeed, sinners, cultures and situations are different throughout the globe. However, the joys and the pain you experience will develop a heart and knowledge of service which will benefit your ministry anywhere in the world.

Learn To Serve On The Mission Field By First Serving At Home

If you do not love the lost in your own culture you will have difficulty learning to love them in a new culture.

The experience you gain in serving in your own culture will benefit your ministry on the mission field. Indeed, sinners, cultures and situations are different throughout the globe. However, the joys and the pain you experience will develop a heart and knowledge of service which will benefit your ministry anywhere in the world.

 

A heart for missions is not something which starts when you receive your new passport. A heart for missions is given to you by God and it is evident by the way you live your life. If you are not serving the needy now, if you are not loving the unlovable in your hometown, if your life is void of God’s grace and mercy for others, you will not miraculously gain these abilities by becoming a missionary. The desire to serve others is not a switch which is turned on when you arrive on the mission field. If you do not love the lost in your own culture you will have difficulty learning to love them in a new culture.

The key to having a heart for serving others is not about having a heart for your fellow man, but having a heart for Jesus. We serve others, not because we love them. We serve others because we love Christ. Our service to other people stems from a desire to bring glory to God and to share his grace and mercy with the world.

A way to strengthen your desire to serve on the mission field is by first serving in your own community. Love the lost where you live before you try to love the lost around the globe. Learn to love and serve in your home culture.

Home Team

The way to strengthen a muscle is to use it. Serve others, evangelize the lost and share Christ’s mercy in your own town. By loving and serving others at home you will gain wisdom and passion to continue serving. The more you serve the more you want to serve. The good way to develop your servant’s heart is on the job training.

Consult the leadership of your home church. Find out what service and mercy ministries they recommend. How do your strengths and your community’s needs correspond? If no such ministries exist in your church ask your church leadership if they will provide permission for you to start such a ministry in your own church. Serve under the guidance and wisdom of your church leadership. Invite others from your church to serve with you. The experience you gain serving at home will teach you much about those in need and yourself. God will be glorified by your labors at home and you will learn more about your own heart.

Good Habits Die Hard

Having a desire to serve others in the name of Christ can be one of the most addicting drugs you’ll ever find. Knowing your Father’s name is being magnified in the lives of those in need is a glorious experience. The more you serve others, the more you feel a need to serve others. Even though serving others can sometimes be filled with pain and tears, the praise your actions bring to God’s name is rejuvenating.

The experience you gain in serving in your own culture will benefit your ministry on the mission field. Indeed, sinners, cultures and situations are different throughout the globe. However, the joys and the pain you experience will develop a heart and knowledge of service which will benefit your ministry anywhere in the world. God has a way of giving you new challenges which will stretch you, but having walked a mile in the shoes of s servant will pay dividends for future ministry.

Serve Like It Matters

Serving the less fortunate is important to God, therefore it must be important to us. Christ has called all his disciples to serve others in his name, with his power, and for his glory. The call to serve others is not a slavish directive centered on works-based theology. We are not earning our salvation. A disciple of the Lord serves others as a way of demonstrating our love for Jesus. Our works are not done out of obligatory obedience to God. Our works are evidence of our love.

Attend to the poor, the widow, the orphan, the sick, the homeless, and the aged in your town. Do it because you want to show your love for Christ by giving his grace and mercy to the broken. There are thousands of needy people within a few miles of your current home who are literally dying to receive the love of Jesus Christ. Be his standard bearer in your home town. Don’t imagine a heart full of love and justice will magically appear in your chest once you receive your passport stamp to your new home.

Serving in a new country, using a new language, under new government regulations simply makes things harder and does much to diminish your desire to serve. Trying to understand your submission to our Father’s call for service and your desire to pour out his love for those around you must not be something you try to invent or conjure up in a new culture and a new home. Serve first in your own culture to help train you to serve better on the mission field.

Mike Pettengill is a missionary serving in Equatorial Guinea with Mission to the World.  He previously served seven and a half years as a missionary in Honduras. To learn more about the Pettengills’ mission work visit Pettengill Missionaries.