I am a missionary

Emily Ballmaier discusses how missions begins with the local church.



Associate professor of Biblical and Theological Studies Mickey Klink shares about the importance of keeping the focus on the local church in missions. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Emily Ballmaier, Writer

I have never really had a heart for missions. I’ve gone on mission trips and prayed for missionaries around the world. But there is not an immense burning on my heart to go to a country and live with people to share the gospel. And it’s always bothered me that I felt this way, especially when it seemed like everyone else at my church felt called to go out in the world. I felt like I was a bad Christian who needed to change their mindset.

But I think I’ve been missing the point this whole time.  Pofessor of biblical and theological studies Mickey Klink said God is the ultimate missionary because he is missions. And I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood this concept: that it all starts at the local church. Missions fits into the local church because we are the mission.

There’s something about the local church that people don’t understand. The Church is a place. It is a building and it’s messy and it’s real, it’s about relationships and it works through our sin. It’s not an ideal. It’s not a “social network,” as Klink said. If you are not involved in a local church you are sinning. You are actively denying what it means to be the Church, to be Christ for others. The church is not an accessory, because you and I are not an accessory to God. We are vital to God’s plan to make disciples out of the nations and it all starts at the local Church. Biola is not the local Church. It is vital to be plugged into a local Church to be a part of the Great Commission that God has called us to.
We can’t first understand cross-cultural missions until we first understand what it means to be on mission within our local Church and seek discipleship there.

So what does this all mean? I still don’t have a passion to go to Africa. But I am called to be here and to be a part of my local church where I have fostered relationships I hope last a lifetime. I am called to be on mission for Christ within my local church.

God has called you, and I and us to be a part of the local Church, by starting missions at the local Church, by being missions at the local Church.

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