Discipling Future Missionaries

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Mark 16:15; NASB

“There are only two kinds of people,” he leaned toward our three children. He whispered and his eyes sparkled. One half finger wagged at them and how cool is a cut-off finger after all. Awed, they devoured each word from a man they considered as old as the Apostle Paul himself and every bit as godly. 

“People are either goers or senders. God gives us two choices from Scripture.” 

We sat in a restaurant nicer than most, with little girls who had never seen the inside of something classier than the golden arches. Our family of five was home for a short three months after being gone for two years as missionaries on foreign soil. We’d come to renew relationships, report to donors and rev up prayer support.  

“Pick anything on the menu,” he’d said as we settled at a candle lit table.

Three pairs of blue eyes looked at me immediately for approval. 

“Anything,” he repeated firmly. 

I’m not sure if the girls even knew what a menu was but they found the prime rib immediately. 

Our gentleman friend was delighted. 

“I want to be just like him,” my daughter breathed later from the back seat of our car. 


As part of a missionary sending agency where applications come in each year for long-term overseas missionary careers, I am amazed how many candidates felt God’s call into ministry when they were children. 

I also see one of the biggest deterrents away from missionary service is mom and dad. 

Parents are fearful of pushing children too young into emotional commitments that will harm them. We seek to protect and avoid heartache. We hope to keep them from legalism, guilt, or unrealistic ideals. 

However, one of the most common reasons is we don’t want our children to leave. We can’t let go of our grandchildren. It breaks our hearts. 

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Jesus told his disciples. 

If God the Father willingly gave His only Son to live and dwell on earth for the purpose of dying on the cross, how can we as parents hold limitations to God’s rights? 

If your child hits the missions fork in the road, remember he or she belongs to God. Don’t stifle your children’s spiritual growth by holding them in a tightly closed fist. It is an honor to be an ambassador for Christ. 

Children have tender hearts and thoughtful minds. Discernment comes with maturity, but spiritual bent can be directed. When parents transfer God’s Word and His desires into the DNA of a child, God calls it discipleship. 

Actively acquaint them with missionary stories, past and present. Introduce them to the fascinating lives of missionary children. Look at missions as much broader than a short adventure or quick trip. Help them understand overseas missions can be a lifetime commitment, even as missional living is at home. Help them relate learning language and culture to the way Jesus stepped into our world. Instill a passion for souls.  

Every year another batch of young people arrive at our headquarters. They give up careers and recognition. They will go through difficulties and face dangers. Yet, they are eager to risk in this life because they are fervent about the next. 

Jesus still taps shoulders and alters paths. I am eternally grateful that He does, because it is a demonstration of His mercy towards us and the world. 

“Go…”


Jesus still taps shoulders and alters paths @sylschroeder #parenthood #parents


(This article was originally published on Just18Summers.com)

14 thoughts on “Discipling Future Missionaries

  1. Sylvia, what wise advice you shared—teach children well and don’t hinder a call to missions. I’m sure it’s difficult to release children to enter the mission field, but what an honor.

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    1. Thanks Jeannie, it is never easy to be long distance from your children. But, the rewards of children doing what God wants them to, is a wonderful thing even if it means they are far from us. I am grateful for God’s call even though it meant some tears!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this Ms. Sylvia. Whether missionaries in a foreign land or right here in America, the greatest thing we can do is prepare our children and grandchildren for a life of service for God. Thank you so much for this important word ma’am.

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  3. Thank you, Sylvia for a reminder that our children belong to God and we can let them go, because He loves them and watches over them better than we ever could. My son is a policeman, and I have had to remember to give him to God many times over the years!

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  4. Reading your words was like rafting toward a long-awaited destination. Powerful, stirring, and inspirational. Thank you for sharing, but most of all for reminding us whose we are and what we’re called to be in Him.

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