In a world of loud voices and competing messages, God calls men to follow Him and live out the Great Commission. How do pastors lead men to their mandestination and connect them to the heart of God?
By Rick Allen
God created people in His image. He wants us to reflect His heart, His desires, and His character. We are not a project God completed so He could wash His hands and say, “Done!”
God made us to experience His plan and His presence as He reveals them — day by day. Our life in Christ is a journey with highs and lows that brings moments of exhilaration, times of travail, and seasons of joy, wonderment, and exploration. We are on a divine mission that can only be fulfilled as we seek the One who made us and called us. In a world of loud voices and competing messages, the Son of God calls us to follow Him and fish for people.
Answering that call brings us face-to-face with life’s purpose and meaning — our reason for being. Following Christ and fulfilling His kingdom purpose through missions is our mandate. Knowing Him and living with Him forever is our destination. Together, these make up what I call our mandestination.
How do we, as pastors and leaders, bring this mandate to the men in our congregations and connect them to His heartbeat? We must echo Christ’s call in the words we speak. And we should exemplify His concern for others by reaching out to those who live across the street, across the state, and even across the seas.
Obviously, mandestination is an invented word, but I like it. It challenges men to embark on the adventure God wants them to take. It calls them to take up the cross and follow Him. It emboldens them to journey where they have never journeyed before.
Missions isn’t tough once men put their minds to it. Men like challenges and adventures. When they make a decision to follow the Great Commission — the pilgrimage that has no end in this world — they begin their mandestination.
Calling men to their mandestination is not for the faint of heart, fearful, or cowardly. Pastors must decide how many times throughout the year they will give their congregation the opportunity to hear from missionaries who are connecting to unreached people groups. Some attendees will likely complain until they give their hearts to the Great Commission. But the response from people who become committed to missions is worth the potential hassle. This is only for the pure in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek. It is for those who seek after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.
Let us not forget those who willingly endure persecution for the stand they take for Christ. These men will not back down against a spiritual enemy. They receive and accept the call to go to the ends of the earth in the love of Christ. The Holy Spirit leads them as they proclaim Christ’s name to all generations, people, and cultures.
From the beginning, men have been on a mission to know God. We call others to that mission as we deliver the message that cannot be stopped, trampled, or cast down. This message never returns void, loses its impact, or changes.
Mandestination takes us places we never thought we would go. It also teaches us to speak like we’ve never before spoken. Mandestination calls us to live out the Great Commission and gives us courage to follow Christ in a world that does not recognize Him.
It is the middle of the night as I write these words. I am on a plane headed to Africa to meet with some of the greatest missionaries in the world. Viewing the travel path of this 747 reminds me every step I take is ordered by God.
I learn more about myself as I engage in missions. As I meet people, participate in outreaches, and see what God is doing in my own community or another part of the world, I gain a Kingdom worldview.
This is my first trip to Africa. I will meet people I’ve preached about and read about throughout my lifetime. I will hear testimonies of people who have accepted Christ. I will hear stories of how Jesus changed lives just as He changed mine 38 years ago. I will see the results of my prayers, my giving, and my hope that one day this would happen. I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. I did not look like those I met when I started going to church. Yet I longed for an adventure with God, and here I am.
Mandestination has a funny way of bringing men into the deeper things of God. It takes over your life and brings fulfillment that only comes by following after Christ.
If you want to breathe new life into your ministry to men, go to your prayer closet, shut the door, and don’t come out until you are ready for the journey of a lifetime. You will find yourself considering the potential of the men in your church and wondering whether they will begin a God-ordained adventure with you. You’ll find yourself seeking God for new ways to share missions throughout the year — to raise more dollars to reach more people for Christ. You might even see your city through a different set of lenses — with renewed hope and purpose.
Mandestination is contagious. Since the inception of the Assemblies of God, men [and women] have longed to reach the world for Christ. Evangelism was the AG’s primary directive 100 years ago, and it remains our focus today. We have reached more countries with the gospel, sent more missionaries around the globe, and launched more Pentecostal churches than anyone at any time in history. This is no time to stop. The momentum, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, is igniting more men, and more churches, to reach the unreachable by going to the ends of the Earth and announcing that Jesus is Lord.
The men in your church will begin to grow just as they did in the first century church. One day they’re hearing the Acts 2 message, and the next day they are taking the gospel to their world. Preachers, deacons, prayer warriors, and servants who don’t mind serving — as long as their Master is Christ — will rise up.
Mandestination can begin in simple conversations — at a coffee shop, with a neighbor, or around the water cooler — as men share their life in Christ with others. It continues as they hear from missionaries, pastors, and leaders who challenge them to pursue the Great Commission in every aspect of their lives. And it really takes off when men hear from God and accept their mandestination journey — the unique Kingdom plan He has for them.
For men, missions starts with simple steps. But once the journey begins, it is hard to go back. I’ve watched men take their vacations to go on a missions trip, work in a compassion center, or help with a disaster response. Men want to know they make a difference. They desire to use their skills and energy in worthwhile, lasting ways.
Missions gives every man that opportunity — not just in exotic locations but also at home and on the job. Missions can include maintaining a godly character that draws others to Jesus, loving a wife as Christ loves the Church, and raising children to serve God. Our example will shape those who have a front row seat to our lives in times of victory, repentance, adjustment, and security. Our treatment of others can help them understand the power of God’s compassion, forgiveness, grace, and truth. Our families will know what love is by the examples we set.
Missions drives men to be disciples of Christ, workers in the church, givers of their resources, and travelers for the gospel. I’ve watched men who allowed mandestination to change the way they view life, their homes, and churches. They’ve become the servants of Christ for which every pastor prays. Through missions, men change.
As the National Director of Light for the Lost, I’ve read and heard the stories of men who worked jobs, attended churches, had life-changing experiences, and created Light for the Lost at an altar one Sunday. Sixty years later, men around the United States and all over the world offer their time, hands-on involvement, and finances to continue this mandestination for missions. From that simple beginning, countless men have partnered with Light for the Lost to live out the Great Commission by distributing evangelism resources across the globe.
As leaders, we have an amazing opportunity to invite men on a journey of a lifetime — to go to places few have gone, share the message that will never cease, and understand the destiny God alone has given us to make disciples.
God is calling us to know Him, share the greatest message ever told, and be the men He wants us to be. This is our mandate and our destination — our mandestination.