Frequently asked questions
How/Why choose a mission agency?
How can I be used in mission?
Do I need Bible College training?
How do I know if I'm called?
What is Wholistic Mission?
Can I make a difference?
Pray, Give, Go, but...???
Encountering Purpose and Mission
It all starts with worship: a recognition that we are God’s more than he is ours to conjure with. As CS Lewis once explained of Aslan, “It’s not as if he is a tame lion.” Mission flows from our heart relationship with God as His heart for all of Creation becomes our heart.
Who does mission?
Ultimately the mission is God’s. The challenge for us is to work out where we fit in God’s plan for the salvation of his creation. That’s a challenge all Christ-followers face. Interserve Australia is convinced that passionate, skilled Australian Christians are being called to serve in overseas mission and is committed to being a part of the discovery process. It doesn’t work for us if the “wrong people” end up on mission overseas and it doesn’t work for you either!
I’m not missionary material
If you are following Christ, you ARE a missionary. The larger question is not whether we are called to be missionaries to our world, but WHERE we are called to play that role. The God who created us doesn’t have much time for political, geographical or ethnic boundaries. We are called to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
With such desperate need among the peoples of Asia and the Middle East, maybe the real question should be, “Am I sure that God does NOT want me to serve cross-culturally?” Maybe it’s not the career path you had in mind, but what would it mean to ask the question?
What about our own backyard?
Put simply, there’s still a lot of work to be done right here! It’s true that there is plenty to be done here in Australia. We now live in a post-Christian age. Humanist secular materialism has become the new religion. Christianity is often slammed in the media and on the street. Many churches are shrinking and some struggle to find pastors and church workers.
The global scene is even more shocking. Australia has many thousands of clergy and those who consider themselves ‘missionaries’. Syria has a similar population to Australia and yet just a few dozen cross-cultural Christian workers. Uzbekistan has a population slightly larger than Australia’s and yet only a few Christian workers. Meanwhile, studies have estimated that the Western church is spending 99% of its income on itself.
The truth is that truly growing and dynamic churches are looking beyond themselves and embracing Jesus’ idea that the whole world is our backyard.
Surely home-grown is better?
In recent decades, a highly effective indigenous missionary force has emerged in some countries. This is an exciting development and deserves our full support. But what about the many countries where there is no viable church, or where Christians are persecuted, or where poverty and lack of education keeps people in a constantly precarious state of existence? These are the people with which Interserve works. There are vital, strategic roles for Australians in education and skills transfer, business and community development, health care, mentoring and practical support. Sacrificially serving alongside the neediest sends a powerful message of love and identification that cannot be achieved in any other way than by being there. There will always be a vital role for personal, incarnational, cross-cultural service.
Haven’t missionaries messed up these countries already?
There is no doubt that mistakes have been made in the past. The Christian church and the missions movement needs to acknowledge these and learn from them. But alongside the mistakes, we’ve seen the gospel take root in individuals and cultures. What’s more fresh missions paradigms offer more opportunities, better training and new concepts, focusing on partnerships of equality, respect and sustainability with host cultures. It’s a new day for cross-cultural missions.
Isn’t it a bit arrogant to interfere?
In recent times, the claims of the gospel, even within the Church, have suffered under the onslaught of relativism – that truth, ethics and morality are not absolute but vary from person to person and culture to culture. Of course, individuals and cultures do have different ways of determining truth that are completely valid for their context. And it takes wisdom to be clear what is an expression of culture and what is an expression of Christ. However, a deeply hurting world and a clearly written Word together bring into focus the primacy and urgency of the gospel and its potential to bring transformational change to a world in need of hope and salvation.