When someone decides to become a missionary, the majority of decisions revolve around training, language learning, and other important steps in the process. Although these all are necessary parts of preparing to be a missionary, Christians also need to ready their hearts. Anyone who decides to follow Christ and teach the gospel needs to consider their heart’s current state. This means that people should deal with baggage that could weigh them down, check their intentions for doing this work, and attain any necessary closure. When Christians choose to take the necessary steps to prepare their hearts for the field, they become better equipped to reach people with gospel.
Baggage looks different for everyone, but no matter what burdens Christians are carrying, Jesus wants to take them away from us. Some Christians may struggle with baggage rooted in their difficult childhood or recently picked up from complicated relationships. Yet, in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus instructs, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (ESV). Although some people desperately try to manage all their past and present issues on their own, Jesus clearly teaches Christians to give Him their troubles. Jesus yearns to give Christians rest in exchange for their burdens. This trade allows for Christians to further themselves into a relationship with God as their Father. Furthermore, this allows Christians to spread the gospel better. Christians no longer have to be focused on the pain of their past grievances and get to live actively in the present where they trust Jesus. This enables and encourages Christians to dive into missions without anything holding them back.
Additionally, to prepare themselves for spreading the gospel, Christians should check their heart’s intentions. Although this should be a daily step for all Christians, people pursuing missions should specifically aim to purify their hearts of selfish desires. Christians should not spread the gospel for their own pride and should ask God daily to reveal and forgive any sinful desires like pride in them. In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about a pharisee who prayed boastfully and publicly. Jesus explained to His followers that this behavior does not please Him and that their hearts should be full of humility when speaking to and living for God. Therefore, Christians should be cautious when spreading the gospel that their hearts solely desire to give glory and honor to Him.
One emotional step before moving overseas to spread the gospel, although seemingly minuscule and unimportant at first, is getting closure through goodbyes. Saying goodbye to family, friends, and fellow church members might hurt but creates closure. This closure allows for a new beginning somewhere else because then Christians will not only be concentrated on what they left behind. Instead, missionaries can focus on their new home and the opportunities to spread the gospel there. This is a simple and final step in order to establish a strong heart that is ready to work for God and towards His kingdom. In any case, becoming a successful missionary begins with focusing on the present with Christ at your side.