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Don’t Let These 3 Things Keep You From the Mission Field

07.08.20
by Mark Silvers
in Blog, Mark Silvers, Mission work
How to overcome obstacles and start the greatest journey of your life

Did you know that only 1 out of 100 people who commit to missions ever see that commitment fulfilled? Only 1 percent! The other 99 get stuck somewhere along the journey and never end up going.

The road to the nations, just like the road to the kingdom of God, is narrow and difficult. If you commit to joining God’s work around the world, you’re guaranteed to face obstacles that will try your courage and challenge your resolve.

Yes, the way is difficult, but those who find it will tell you it’s worth every step.

Here are a few common obstacles you might face on your journey to becoming a cross-cultural disciple-maker. If you’re struggling in one of these areas, talk to us. Our missions mentors can help you overcome these barriers and keep moving forward in obedience to God’s call.

People obstacles

Believe it or not, well-meaning people in your life can sometimes be the biggest roadblocks along your journey. The challenge is learning how to move forward when the voices of people you love (and who love you) conflict with the voice of the One who matters most.

  1. “My church wants to reach our city first.”
    Many churches today have shifted their focus from the nations to their local community. We must serve our cities, but we must not lose sight of God’s global vision either. One way to do both is to engage the nations at your doorstep — the immigrants and refugees who are making their home in your community. You’ll get to participate in your church’s mission while gaining cross-cultural ministry experience that will prepare you for a future overseas. 

  2. “My parents are mad at us for taking away their grandkids.”
    Pursuing God’s mission will require sacrifices … from you and from those around you. Your family may react in anger because they’re grieving a loss of their own. Recognize the sacrifice God is asking them to make in letting you go, and help them process their grief. But remember that Jesus calls you to follow Him above all others (Luke 14:26).

  3. “My friends think I’m crazy.”
    Not everyone will understand or agree with your decision to follow God in obedience. They may give you advice or give you the silent treatment. As you answer their questions, keep your eyes on Christ. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

Navigating obstacles that involve people you love can be tricky, and it’s important to have someone in your corner. Talk with a missions mentor who will pray with you and encourage you as you seek to follow God’s leading and lovingly invite your community into your journey.

Placement obstacles

There are endless options to choose from as you pursue God’s plan for your life. He gave you specific skills and passions for a good reason. But sometimes the options can trip you up. Watch out for these attitudes as you explore your future location and ministry.

  1. “I’m waiting for the perfect placement.”
    You probably shouldn’t take the first option on the table. But neither should you hold out for a magical alignment of everything in your dreams. There is no perfect placement — not even in your own country. Beware of making the process all about you, and instead be open to possibilities that are less than perfect. Look for doors God might be opening, and trust Him to meet your needs.

  2. “I need to know all the details.”
    You can’t. If there’s one thing that seasoned missionaries will tell you, it’s to be flexible. Life and ministry overseas are unpredictable, and having your heart set on specific details only sets you up for frustration. Be willing to take one step at a time in faith, and watch God show up in the details.

  3. “My visa was denied; I guess God is closing the door.”
    Visa issues are growing ever more common, but God will never be limited. Instead of signaling “road closed,” your visa problem could be signaling “reroute.” Even the apostle Paul experienced spiritual barriers before God gave him the green light about where to go next (Acts 16:6-10). You, too, can trust the God who is sovereign over kings and who orders our times and places.

Personal obstacles

Some of the hardest barriers to overcome are the ones in your own mind. Just like the voices of the people we love, our own voice can conflict with God’s unless we stay grounded in His Word.

  1. “I’m afraid; can I really do this?”
    You’re making a major life transition — it’s natural to have reservations. And the truth is, you can’t do it on your own. That’s why Jesus says His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Keep your eyes on God, who promises to be with you and take care of you, and then you can move forward without fear.

  2. “I don’t want to go as a single.”
    Your desire to be married isn’t wrong, but waiting for God to provide a spouse as a stipulation to your obedience is. Being single on the mission field has it challenges (so does being married), but it also comes with great opportunities. (Hear about some of them in this blog by a single Crossworld worker.) Talk with a missions mentor who can offer you wisdom from experience and helpful resources as you process God’s leading.

  3. “I have too much debt.”
    Debt can put a stop sign in your path, but it doesn’t have to. Ask a Crossworld mentor for help. Financial plans and resources like The Go Fund can keep you moving forward. You can also consider transferring your job overseas to earn a salary while you’re making disciples among the least-reached.

If you can relate to any of these obstacles, you’re in good company. The greatest missionaries before you have felt them too. The task may seem daunting, but you’re not in this alone. We understand the obstacles you face, and we can help you overcome them. Talk to a Crossworld mentor today.


Mark Silvers, Crossworld Director of MobilizationMark Silvers served with Crossworld in the Philippines for 10 years and joined the home office staff as Director of Mobilization in 2009. Mark’s driving passion is to reach the 2.9 billion people in the world today with no access to the gospel.

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