Church, Global Impact, Mobilizing

What the Heck is a Sender, really?

I have to admit, there was a silent sigh of relief many years ago when I realized that God had made me a Sender. Shew! I didn’t have to “go” anywhere. But reality soon sets in. Being a Sender is no small task. It’s purposeful, deliberate, challenging, time consuming …and I have failed miserably at it. However, as I sit and think back over the last eight years from that Perspectives course, I can see how God deepened some things in me regarding this calling.

If you’re thinking, “Hey, I wonder if I’m a Sender,” maybe some of this will resonate with you.

For example, every time I spoke at a church or taught a class, I instinctively wanted to get to a point in my message where I talked to my audience about their part in God’s story. Somehow, regardless of the theme of the night with chicken and rice and delicious salads, I nailed the point that we are all a part of this amazing, radical and world changing thing the Bible calls the Great Commission. That part of my message would be the point my whole spirit, mind and body would come to life. Those moments where when I felt like I was firing on all cylinders and that God was speaking directly through me. I desperately wanted them to know they are valuable to His work. If you look around at the Church and think, “I can totally encourage her to go out there and kick booty”, then you might be a Sender.

Something else that may mark a person as a Sender is that they don’t every really land on a particular mission, organization, or group. All seem equal in their importance. All are deeply loved by a Sender because not only is the purpose of that mission or organization important, but the people who run it strike a chord deep in the Sender, thus making all missions valuable. A Sender sends those to what they are called to do. (However, as a Sender you might be called to one person or group. If so, just go with it!)

Senders are usually concerned for the well-being of a missionary, pastor, or group leader more than the outcomes of their mission/church. When I think of my international missionary friends, pastor’s, pastor’s wives, organization leaders, my first thought isn’t about their outcomes, their numbers, their goals. My first thought is, “I wonder how they are doing. How is their relationship with God? What do they need?”

From the Perspectives course book here are some other things that may mark a Sender:

  • Live very normal lives.
  • Have a heart that yearns for people they have never seen.
  • Work very hard to love and make connections with people they may only see once every 4-5 years.
  • Noted for zeal to make disciples where ever they are.
  • Caught up in a war that many of their friends and family may not or will not acknowledge.
  • They give away up to half of what they earn.
  • Their lives are simple.
  • They speak often of distant people.
  • They relish extended times of prayer.
  • There is a joyous detachment yet and earnest involvement in the affairs of the world.
  • Senders serve with a singe-hearted joy: the joy of laying down their lives so that other’s obedience will be abundant.

Maybe you’re a Sender. Maybe you’re like me and when you think of the throne room of heaven, you’d gladly take a stool in the back, in the nose-bleed section, looking down at the Throne of Grace and applaud (while crying and snotting up your new duds) those coming in who faithfully laid it all on the line for the One they loved.

They deserve the front row… and back stage passes.


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