by Sam Taylor

$250. That is how much money I paid for the rest of my life to be changed. This semester I have taken Perspectives, a class offered each spring that seeks to change a Christian’s view of the word mission, its importance, and the role that it plays in fulfilling God’s purpose. For fifteen weeks, missiologists with personal experience in the mission field come to a local church in Tuscaloosa to teach on the biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic aspects of God’s plan to reconcile every nation, tribe, and people as shown in Revelation 7:9.

Many of us – myself included – are so accustomed to hearing that our lives and purposes are about God and not ourselves that we are almost numb to that simple truth, and I will be the first to admit that my list of secular and worldly goals typically far outweighs my spiritual goals. Perspectives is aptly named because it provides a new perspective when reading The Bible. Scripture is filled with examples of Christians and apostles going to the nations, despite their fears, to advance the Word of God. From Abraham going to Canaan to Jonah going to Nineveh, God shows from the beginning the importance of going to the nations.

During the first nine weeks of Perspectives, how much I take for granted my accessibility to Christianity has left me amazed and ashamed. Over 2 billion people live in areas of the world where Christianity is totally inaccessible, and thousands of individuals within these people groups die every day, living their entire life without ever hearing the name Jesus. It is not enough to assume someone else will reach the unreached or that they will have a life-changing experience while walking down the street that will show them a God they have never heard exists.

Similar to the commands given to Moses on Mount Sinai, Christ’s commandment to go to the nations is core to the Christian ministry. I hesitate to say that fulfilling this commandment can take different forms because so often that is used to justify one’s reluctance to reach out to international students, join mission trips, or learn how to reach the unreached. I am still very bad at initiating conversations and relationships with international students along with shedding my reluctance to leave my friends and family to pursue a purpose much greater than my own. Because of Perspectives, though, I have and continue to learn how to effectively share the gospel, how I factor into God’s purpose, and why He wants each of us to go to the nations.

For most of my life, I never felt the urgency to go beyond borders to share the good news that Christ is returning. But, as one of our speakers said, we ironically celebrate the second coming of Christ when half the world has never heard of the first. Our job is to tell them about the first. We can have our peaceful Little House on the Prairie lifestyle when we get to heaven, but for now, we should continually work for the Lord.

Perspectives has taught me how to incorporate the mission field into the workplace. One of my pursuits is to work for the U.S. Department of State, an employer that easily lends itself to incorporating mission into the workplace. This benefit had never crossed my mind until taking Perspectives, and for most of us, finding missions is much easier than we think.

Because of the coronavirus, my final six weeks of Perspectives will be taught online, so for the remainder of the semester, I will not meet the amazing, brave, inspiring Perspectives teachers who craft each lesson. What will remain and cannot be minimized by the transition to web-based, are the revelations that have I had and have been shown. There is so much work to be done for our Lord, and His purpose and plan will be fulfilled, so let us have the same passion and commitment that the apostles had following Christ’s ascension into heaven. Let us go to the groups we do not even know exist and let us share the good news.

I cannot recommend taking Perspectives enough; it truly changes you and has changed me, my mindset, and how I view God’s purpose far more than I was expecting. This is not a course on simply how to start a conversation with an international student, it is so much more and worth much more than $250.

Until the whole world hears,