Are you one of those who feel a driving sense of interest, passion, urge to serve the Lord as a missionary cross-culturally?

Do you have a deep desire and conviction that you should seek to become a missionary to another culture? Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to learn another culture and language (or two or three other languages) in order to get the gospel to people of another culture who have no access to it otherwise?

A missions commitment is similar to someone who wants to be a pastor or church elder (as in 1 Tim. 3) or to becoming a teacher or local church leader – pastor-teacher-elder. It starts with a desire and grows into a conviction and commitment and is confirmed by the external verification of that call by a local church ordaining them to start a church in a new area or by a local church calling them to become their pastor.

1 Timothy 3:1 says, “If any man aspires to the office of an overseer, it is a fine work that he desires to do.” A missionary/ evangelist also starts with an internal desire and conviction the same way the pastoral ministry does.

There is a godly ambition to preach the gospel not where Christ is named. (Romans 15:20-21)

Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” – I Cor. 9:16 Usually, someone who is really “called” by God to be a missionary, will have such a strong conviction and commitment to going that they will do all they can to get there – they will seek the Lord, seek to live holy so as to not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27) and be submissive to their local church leaders along the way and persevere in the time it takes to actually get to the mission field.

It is going to take some time. Often someone who feels that they have a missionary calling wants to get to the field ASAP.  Even if and whenever they arrive, they want to get into "real ministry" ASAP and go light on the commitment to language and culture learning. Realize that the Apostle Paul, who had the equivalent of a doctorate in Scripture training when he became a Christian, took 12-14 YEARS of ministry training and experience before he was sent out by his home church!  Most people will take from 2 to 7 years to be equipped and supported before making that flight to move to another country for the long term. Then, solid language and culture training could take, depending on the complexity of the language and linguistic difference with your own native language, 12 to 36 months of intense, dedicated work before you are fluent enough to discuss the Scriptures and spiritual truths with your host country ministry people.

So, take a deep breath. Committing to being a missionary is a long-haul marathon, not a sprint.