Are we a “sender” or a “goer”? Or are we disobedient? Part 1

This past week has been incredibly busy and an incredible blessing.  My wife and I made a quick trip back to Phoenix so that I could co-officiate the wedding of a young refugee couple from the Chin ethnic group of Burma.  Then, the morning after our return to Southern California, I traveled about 4 hours south of the border with Ron Clipp from Shepherd’s Staff in order to visit and hopefully encourage a few missionaries that live and serve in that huge, developing nation, known as Mexico.

Because of the busy-ness of the week and thus the limited time I’ve had available to write, I need to be brief in this post.  What I will write about in this and my next few posts is the result of my time in Mexico spending just a few hours with these amazingly faithful servants who have stayed at their God-assigned posts through heart crushing personal trials and personal suffering and yet joyfully love, serve, and represent Jesus to those they live among.  Spending even a few moments with the one family who has lived there for 13 years and the other that has lived there for 26 years is a privilege that I don’t take for granted. 

During the 1 hour and 45 minute wait at the border to cross back over to San Diego, Ron and I talked about the giant, yet humble examples of faithfulness the people we visited are.  And I couldn’t help but ponder afresh what/who it is that motivates people like them to do what they do.  As I said, this will be the first of a few posts, and as I unpackage them, I do believe that some of what I write will be of use to those who pastor and lead churches. 

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Paul, the greatest non-divine theologian in the New Testament, was also its greatest missionary.   And if that truth is not a coincidence, than it shouldn’t be surprising to discover that throughout church history, many other great theologians and pastors with solid, thoroughly saturated, bible-based theology either went, wanted to go, or strongly encouraged their followers to take the gospel to all nations.

Why is this? 

To put it simply, if anyone is in an authentic relationship with the God of the bible, they are in a relationship with the missionary God.  The deeper our relationship with and understanding of Him, the greater our desire will be to “declare His glory among the nations” (Psalm 96:3), and to find our own, God-given role in accomplishing that purpose. 

I believe the following quote summarizes quite accurately the thrust of God’s word in regards to the individual believer and a local church:  “there are only 2 options:  you’re either a sender or a goer.  Anything else is disobedience.”


7 replies
  1. Tim Brown
    Tim Brown says:

    Hi, Jeff – I am reading your post while waiting for a flight in the Anchoragr, AK, airport. A team from CC Fremont is returning after a week of assisting to raise a short wave radio antenna (not a conventional antenna), in Ninilchik. This antenna is massive and can generate 250,000 watts. It will cover all of Russia, China – and all the way to Israel. Much of rural Russia and China have short wave radios and this antenna willbe the vehicle for the gospel penetrating many nooks and crannies that even conventional radio doesn’t reach.

    The reason for this response is that the couple whose vision this is have a single minded pursuit of this one goal – everything is subordinated to this. They are passionate and relentless to see this ministry come to full fruition. They are goers of a certain sort. It is always good to be around those with a single minded passion for Christ and the gospel.

    • Jeff Jackson
      Jeff Jackson says:


      I LOVE it! Laser-like vision and single minded pursuit of one goal with everything subordinated to it is what makes bible translation and many other aspects of glorifying God among the nations a reality. I have very good friends who have just finished 27 years of translating a tribal language in the Philippines that is going to the publisher within the next two months. Not all are called and gifted to be that focused for that long, but without those that are and who obey that call, the kingdom would not be progressing as it is.

      I totally agree that being around those type people is inspiring, challenging, and thought provoking.

  2. Jon Langley
    Jon Langley says:

    Looking forward to your further posts, Jeff.

    You said, “The deeper our relationship with and understanding of Him, the greater our desire will be to ‘declare His glory among the nations.’” From the perspective of the “goer”, I was reminded of just how true this is! When I begin to doubt “the call” or stress about finances or even want to quit it’s because of this very thing… a lack of relationship (time, communication, etc). When my relationship is vital and healthy so is my passion for the ministry the Lord has called us to.

    Lord, please continue to provide “senders” and “goers” to accomplish Your mission for Your glory.

  3. John Verber
    John Verber says:

    Good stuff! Is there a 3rd option? Financier perhaps? I’ve thought about attending theology graduate school in an effort to be of better use to the Lord. But I have an education in Computer Science that always me to do other things, one of which is the ability to make a comfortable living for my family, in addition to funding missionaries. I’ve spoken to my pastor about this. A friend said to me one day “Perhaps you’re the guy who goes and makes $120,000 a year so someone else can go to Africa to share the word.”. What are you’re thoughts if any on this?

    • Jeff Jackson
      Jeff Jackson says:


      Actually, being a sender would include giving of finances for God’s global purposes. Sending is much more multi-faceted than going and because of that literally everyone can and should be a sender, (through encouragement, prayer, finances, passing on information to others about the goer and what he’s doing, etc.)

      Your friend’s comment is exactly what I’ve told a few people over the years. Although no one would love to see more missionaries actually go to the field that I would, I have learned by personal experience and by knowing literally hundreds of missionaries, that the gift of generating income and the gift of giving that income for the expansion of the kingdom around the world is as hard to find as those willing to go to the field.

      I know a brother in the Lord who is a very successful businessman and who actually did desire to sell his business and go to serve in one of the poorest countries in Africa. Knowing him as well as I do, we talked it through, I shared my thoughts on just this subject, and he decided that he should stick with his business and fund those who go. For a few years he even turned over his business to a general manager to free himself up to spend 3 months away each year. When the economy sank he had to step back in full time, but the giving that made so much work possible for others over there has continued till this day.

      The key issue is knowing where you will be most useful for the cause. If your goal is to see the kingdom of God have it’s greatest impact around the world, that impact just might be the greatest if you’re a sender rather than a goer. Although it isn’t direct, face-to-face impact, you’re enabling others to do that and thus the overall cause is furthered to a greater degree than it may have been if you went direct to the field yourself.

      If you want to talk more about this personally, I’d love to talk with you brother. Just let me know and we can set up a way to connect.

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