Diane Moss, one of the leaders of InnerCHANGE (CRM’s ministry among the poor), would never have called herself apostolic. But after understanding what apostolic gifting looks like, she saw evidence of it throughout her whole history—even in the part of her story preceding her commitment to Jesus and during years of investing in corporate America (read more in part 1).
Apostolic people are motivated to go beyond the status quo, to take risks and start new things. They don’t take no for an answer. In a missions setting, this mover-and-shaker gene has a particularly significant role. Here’s what it looked like for Diane.
The Missionary Switch Gets Flipped
After Diane began earnestly following Jesus, she was exposed to a vision for missions through her church. Her job became increasingly unsatisfying. She longed for more purpose and meaning in her life, for “something that was going to last… something that mattered, that helped people, that blessed people, that gave life meaning and others’ lives meaning too.” She started looking for ways to help people in her job, to the point that management sent people to check up on her to see what was going on.
Diane decided to take some trips and spend time with missionaries in other countries. Eventually, she sensed God’s call to apply to CRM, even though she had no idea what role she was supposed to fill. It was in the midst of the application process that Diane discovered the missing piece of the puzzle:
I found out about the work that they were about to do in Cambodia, that they were starting an innovative project called “House of Hope” for girls who had been in prostitution, and I was like ‘Woah, now. I want to go where other people don’t want to go. I want the challenge.’ I loved that it wasn’t going to be in the city, and that it was out two hours away where there weren’t a whole lot of foreigners at all. And the most amazing thing was that they were specifically looking for someone with business skills. They were looking for me!
Diane immediately turned in her application and set her course for Cambodia.
Apostolic Beginnings in the Field
“As soon as Diane gets somewhere she starts to see what might be the future and starts thinking about somewhere else.” This became the standing joke with Diane’s teammates in Cambodia. And it was the truth.
After six months in the capital of Cambodia studying language, Diane finally arrived at the home for girls in rural Cambodia. Even as she got to work on administrative and accounting tasks for the house, she was imagining new possibilities.
“You know,” she said to her team-mates, “many of these young women that come have HIV, and I did a lot of volunteer work with people with HIV in the States. What if we started a home-based care project?”
“Well, you just got here. Let’s finish working on this first…”
“Why don’t we just do some investigation,” Diane pressed.
Diane recounted this memory with amusement. “So bless Sue’s heart, she went with me, and we investigated everything. We went to Thailand and wrote proposals… And so we started Sunrise [a care project for those with HIV], which is at 14 years, now [run] by Cambodians.
“And after we got Sunrise started, I thought, ‘Wow, this is really great. We could do this other places.’ Sue’s response was, ‘We just got this started!’ And I’m like, ‘But it started! So look, we could do this over here…’” And other countries that could use similar ministries came to mind.
Circumstances would eventually lead Diane to other places and roles she didn’t anticipate (like back to her hometown), where her apostolic gifting would show up in new ways. But before we get to that, let’s examine some specifics of what apostolic calling looks like in a missionary setting.
- In missions, apostolic calling moves people to go to the hard places, to overcome barriers in sharing Jesus, and to take the good news where it has never gone before.
- One mark of apostolic people is having big visions for how things could be and working tirelessly to accomplish them.
- Apostolic leaders are often very influential and inspirational, and they draw other people into new ministries through their passion and vision.
- Missionaries who are apostolic may continually be ready to move out and do something new. This isn’t just because they typically love adventure, but because they’re strongly motivated to pioneer new ground.
What About You?
Have you ever been anxious to leave a place that was comfortable and go to a “hard place,” or had a strong desire to share the good news of Jesus where it’s never been heard? Have you been accused (or even accused yourself) of having dreams and visions that were too big to be accomplished? What do you think the world would be like today if there were no apostolic people taking the good news where it’s never been before?
If you resonate with with the characteristics of an apostolic person, CRM President Sam Metcalf’s book Beyond the Local Church: How Apostolic Movements Can Change the World might give you additional clarity. You can download a sample chapter, “So What Is Apostolic?” on our website to get you started.