Goer or Sender? Find Your Role in God’s Plan

Article posted with permission by Mission Data International. Original article located here.

An exciting truth to learn as a world Christian is that each of us has a God-designated role in his global plan to reclaim the earth for His glory. How do we find our personal place in that plan? Where do you and I fit?


  • World Christian: Someone who commits their time, talents, and possessions to be used daily as effectively as possible for the advancement of the kingdom of God. This means becoming informed about the many unreached peoples of the world and taking an active role in the task of reaching them, through prayer, sending others, and/or going oneself.
  • Goer: Someone who believes God has called them to carry the gospel cross- culturally, as a full-time occupation. Sometimes referred to as a missionary; this kind of missionary leaves the comforts of home and the familiarity of their culture to spread the message of salvation in Christ to those culturally distinct from them in foreign lands.
  • Sender: Someone who deems their most important contribution to world evangelization to be staying in their home country and living in such a way as to support most effectively the maximum number of “goers” as they are able. This does not preclude their primary involvement in world evangelization as expressed by their reaching the lost around them.

The Cast of Characters

In God’s plan, there are two basic categories which we want to examine. These are senders and goers. Most people believe that there is a very small number of Christians who are called to be missionaries, or goers. This leaves all the rest, ipso facto, as senders.

Not true. You see, just as surely as God calls some to go, He calls others to stay. And what he desires most of all is your obedience.

The Profile of a Goer 

How do you know if you are to be a goer? First, you may find that you have a burden for peoples of other cultures to come to the Lord. More than that, you have a desire to take the gospel message to them.

Goers often feel inadequate for the task. They struggle with the thought of leaving family and friends behind. Sometimes they even wish they had a good paying job and could buy all the “niceties” of life.

What keeps them going is a driving desire for God to receive the full glory due him from all the nations and for all peoples to have the opportunity to hear the gospel. It makes the sacrifices worth it.

Goers have heard all the statistics of how many are lost without Christ and have brought that need to the Lord in prayer. This very act of considering the need and praying for a solution has led them to be the solution. The Lord of the harvest has spoken clearly. The goer goes forth in obedience to His command.

The Profile of a Sender

The sender must be just as sure of his call as the goer. It is a call to counter-cultural living. Our culture calls us to live for self, but the sender lives for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.

Like the goer, the sender has a burden for peoples of other cultures to come to the Lord. But having assessed how God has shaped him and the place that God has called him to fill in the body, the sender concludes that he can best advance the kingdom by sending others.

A sender may be a business man who leads his family in living a simple lifestyle so they can support several missionaries. Or a sender may be a missions-minded pastor who knows he is called to remain in his country, but works hard to motivate his congregation to be effective senders and to raise up goers from their midst. A sender may be a professor who trains those who go. Or a blue-collar laborer who devotes several hours weekly to praying for several missionaries.

A sender isn’t a washed-out missionary or a goer who never made it. God calls us all to be involved in world evangelization and He calls many to be senders in His plan.

Sender or Goer?

How do you decide if you’re called to be a sender or a goer? Here are some guidelines:

  • Seek the Lord with all your heart. Ask him to purify your motives and ambitions, so that you do nothing out of guilt or selfish.
  • Ask the Lord to give you his heart for the lost. Let Him break your heart with their needs.
  • Check out all the options available to you.

~What could you do overseas?

~Where could you serve?

~What kind of an impact do you think you might have overseas?

~What can you do in your country?

~What kind of an impact might you have at home?

~What might be your potential sending ministry?


  • Evaluate where you might be most effective: as a sender or as a goer.
  • Discuss your findings with those who know you well: parents, pastor, campus ministry staff, professors, close friends. Ask them what they think your spiritual gifts are and where they think you’d do well serving the body of Christ
  • Make a decision and go for it!


The Call 

Someone once said, “If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.” To be anything other than what God calls you to be is to be less than what He calls you to be. And if God puts the desire in you to be a missionary, you won’t find satisfaction in doing anything else. You may come to this conclusion by looking at all the facts and realizing that your only legitimate response is to become a goer. Or you may come to it by getting some kind of sense from the Lord that this is what you are to do. Once you make the decision that you are called to overseas ministry and the Lord confirms it, don’t be swayed. Walk in obedience to the revealed will of God for your life.

Then again, after hearing the facts, seeing the needs, and praying for wisdom, you may come to the conclusion that your best contribution would be as a sender. Don’t feel second- rate. Don’t seek to explain to all the goers why you feel you should stay. Show them why you are staying by being the best sender you can be for the glory of God. Don’t get sucked into self-fulfillment and our culture’s system of satisfaction. Live for the glory of God among the nations.

God has a global plan. Each of us has a role to play in it. It may be as a sender or a goer. What is your role? Are you committed to playing your part?

Source: Caleb Project, n.d., 2010 Pioneers.

Please feel free to reproduce this article and share it with others.

Recommended Reading: “Cross-Cultural Servanthood,” by Duane Elmer

WIM senior missionaries were recently asked the question, “From the perspective gained during your time on the field, what additional study materials or preparation would you like to have received during your training?”  One answer repeatedly surfaced. The single most-frequent response revealed a desire for greater understanding of how to live and work cross-culturally. With a goal of addressing this need, for the past several years WIM’s required reading for new missionaries includes the book, Cross-Cultural Servanthood, by Duane Elmer, among others.

Concerning this book, missionary Chad Pennington says, “This book does a great job of highlighting Biblical principles of leadership and how to apply those principles to missions and cross-cultural ministry.”  He reiterates that, if we endeavor to lead in the way Jesus led, we must be serving others. As cross-cultural ministers of the Gospel, we must intentionally remain humble and teachable, ever learning from the people we are called to serve.  Our attempts to minister to people of a different culture are problematic, if we fail to dedicate the time necessary to learn well the culture and its values. We must remember that we have much to learn, and God is able to teach us and shape us into His perfect will, even through the culture we are called to serve.

Missionaries and other people in ministry must always be purposeful in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, “to ensure that we are leading in a way that honors Christ and serves those who look to us for direction.”  In the end, if the people to whom we are called to minister view us as leaders, hopefully it is because we have modeled servanthood, just as Jesus did. Serving as Jesus did will demonstrate how to serve, in practical terms—for the benefit of those who would follow our example.

If you have not yet read this book, I would encourage you to put it on your short-list of books to read.

WIM Partners with AARE’s Generous Giving Program

Did you know?
You can buy or sell a home and support World Indigenous Missions at the same time!

WIM has partnered with AARE’s Generous Giving Program. This means if you or anyone you know chooses to work with AARE as their agent, when the transaction closes, AARE will donate 10-40% of the the company’s gross commission to WIM! This donation program is in addition to the 20% in charitable contributions the company currently donates from its gross profits to charity.

This means you can donate thousands of dollars to WIM without writing us a check. Watch the video below to learn how it works:


World Indigenous Missions acknowledges the support of AARE. This is not an endorsement or promotion of AARE’s service.

Make a Global Impact No Matter Where you Are

You have a passion to reach the lost. You want to make a difference through global missions. However, you feel like you can’t. Perhaps you feel that you are limited because you are in a season of your life when you must remain where you are. Don’t worry. Even if life has you planted firmly in a small town, you can still make a global impact. Like a pebble dropped in a pond, even the smallest actions create a ripple effect with the potential to reach across the world. Here are some ways to impact global missions from any location.


While it may seem simple and obvious, prayer is one of the most important ways to make a difference in global missions. Pray for more workers to go into the field. Pray for missionaries by name and let them know you pray for them. Ask missionaries how you can specifically pray for them. Pray for specific countries and areas of the world.


You can support global missions several ways. Providing financial support to missionaries and mission organizations is one way. Another way is through communication with missionaries. Depending on technology restrictions, there are several ways to communicate, such as email, Skype, phone, communication apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Ask the missionary which way they prefer to communicate. Reaching out to them (especially between newsletter updates) provides great encouragement and helps them battle feelings of isolation. If a missionary is in town, take them out for dinner, see if they need help finding a place to stay or maybe a car to use. If they have children, offer childcare so they can have a date night and recharge. These small acts of kindness are such a blessing to missionaries. You can also make a global impact by volunteering your time and services at your local missions agency. Learn more about ways to volunteer here.

Gather Information about Global Missions

Articles, books, and videos about the history of missions, missions training, or even inspirational stories from the field help us learn more and equip us with knowledge to fulfill the call of the Great Commission.

Reach Out to Internationals in Your Community

Maybe you can’t leave the country to reach the nations, but the nations may be closer than you think by way of immigrants in your community. Scott Slayton recommends in a post on the IMB website: “Approach internationals living in your community as neighbors. Show them hospitality. Welcome them into your circle of friends. Find out the difficulties they face as they settle into a new home. Learn how you can minister to them and serve them in Jesus’s name.”

No matter your location, you can still make a difference. You just have to start.