Well, we’ve come to the end of the Introverts & the Great Commission series! We’ve talked with a pastor and a stay-at-home mom about evangelism as an introvert, and now we are going to conclude with some practical advice from a short-term missionary who goes to my church. Without further ado, Mr. Kung!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you? When and how did you become a Christian?
My name is Chien-Wei Kung. I am a Chinese-American born in Taiwan who moved to the States when I was less than a year old. I grew up in a loving Christian household and accepted Christ early on in my life. It’s hard to say when I was saved, but it was probably somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10. God used my parents, grandparents, and the church to bring me to himself. I have fond memories of going to church when I was young and learning about God week after week.
Do you believe that every Christian is called to fulfill the Great Commission? Why or why not?
First and foremost, I’d like to note that carrying out the Great Commission has multiple facets including evangelism, missions, and discipleship. These aspects overlap in many areas but are not synonymous. Evangelism is sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to others, which all believers are called to do. We are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to the lost world.
Yet the Great Commission also contains a more global vision of evangelism, with Christians helping carry the gospel message to the ends of the earth, to peoples of different tribes, nations, and tongues. After all the Great Commission says “Go therefore and make disciples of ALL NATIONS,” not just to those in our nation, or to those in our circle of friends and family. This commission, that Jesus gave to the disciples, would be spread to those not only in Jerusalem, but “in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Many Christians unintentionally belittle the distinct importance of global missions when they say things like they can be “missionaries” where they live. I’ve been guilty of saying things like that myself in the past, but we really mean is we can be evangelists where we live. By using terms like “missions” or “missionary” so loosely, we undercut the distinct work that global missionaries do. Now the last aspect of the Great Commission is discipleship, as Christ says to “make disciples.” We aren’t called just to share the good news or bring others to Christ, but to see them grow in Christ in an ongoing way.
So my answer on whether every Christian should fulfill the Great Commission is yes.
Should every Christian evangelize? Yes. Should every Christian play a role in global missions? Yes. Should every Christian disciple others? Yes.
That being said, this doesn’t look the same for everyone. It doesn’t mean all need to do street evangelism, or pick up their belongings and become missionaries abroad or sit down in a formal setting to disciple another believer. But in our hearts, there should be a willingness to explore various means of magnifying God that make us uncomfortable. If Christians properly understand the supreme value of Christ, we will want him to be magnified as much as possible, as far as possible, in the hearts of as many people as possible.
How do you fulfill the Great Commission Jesus gave us in Matthew 28?
Personally how I’ve tried to fulfill the Great Commission is looking for opportunities to share Christ with my unbelieving coworkers, friends, and family. That is the evangelism part. I support various missionaries financially, through prayer, and through occasional emails. I’ve also gone on a number of short term missions in the past to various countries and plan on continuing to do this in the coming years. That is the global missions part. And I’ve tried to disciple a few people at church both formally and informally. That’s the discipleship part.
What obstacles have made this harder for you?
I am quite introverted and that has always been a challenge for me. Growing up I could not look people in the eye or start conversations. I envied those who could build rapport with others so easily. I did and still find alone time quite refreshing and oftentimes, preferable to hanging out with others. No doubt, this can easily become a barrier to carrying out the Great Commission. It’s already difficult enough to initiate and maintain conversations with others, but to bring in spirituality/religion into the picture increases the discomfort level even more.
How have you overcome these obstacles?
Now the possibility of being called to talk, share, lead, disciple in a foreign language and culture can be paralyzing. But a few truths have helped me to be better at carrying out the Great Commission.
1) Christians are often called to things that are uncomfortable.
We live in a culture that idolizes comfort and safety. Yet many of Christ’s statements were difficult (hence many of the crowd no longer followed him – John 6:66).
We are not our own, we were bought at a price and belong to Him (1 Corinthians 6:20). Ambassadors do not represent themselves, they represent their country. Their feelings and message are secondary to the country which they represent. Similarly, we ultimately represent Christ, not ourselves.
2) Meditate on the profound privilege of being chosen by God.
Really dwell and chew on this. How undeserving I was to receive His grace, and what abundance of riches are mine in Christ now! Did not God use other people to reach out to me? Was it uncomfortable for them to share with me? Perhaps. But they loved me enough to share. How can I then, not desire to be an instrument to share Christ with others?
3) Think deeply of the joys of heaven and the horrors of hell.
If these realities grabbed us like they did CT Studd, we could say as he did: “Some want to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” In 100 years, all the people I know will likely be dead, either in heaven or hell. I’ve pictured in my mind various dear friends and family members in hell without Christ, and that horror has often inflamed my desire to share Christ with them.
Similarly, picturing those same people celebrating eternal and perfect joy forever and ever too has increased desire to share Christ with them. To expand this into the missions aspect of the Great Commission, what if Christians regularly pictured entire people groups in hell, because Christ-followers never found it a priority to reach the ends of the nations for Christ? It would be horrific and shameful to think that people’s eternities were due to Christian indifference or inaction.
4) Remember the passage on the Great Commission doesn’t start with “Go.”
It starts back in Matthew 28:18, where Jesus says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” We need to reflect on that more before even getting to the imperative part of the Great Commission. ALL authority? In heaven? AND on earth? If Jesus is the all-powerful King it means there is no force or rival king that can match Christ, so we need not fear ultimate defeat. We are on the victorious side.
It also means that He is able to equip us with what is needed for the task of making his name known. Also, let’s not ignore the part after the Great Commission imperative either. It says “And behold, I am with you, to the end of the age.” What comfort! Christ promises His presence, a presence that is consistent, never-ending, and dependable.
What is your advice to other introverts who want to obey this command?
From a practical standpoint for introverts to better carry out the Great Commission:
1) Put yourself in positions where you are forced to talk with others.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable, and you’ll feel embarrassed by the awkwardness of many conversations. The truth is though, it will get better and more natural over time. You’ll learn from mistakes and see what worked well. I now work in a job where I am a medical provider counseling people all day long. I often still get exhausted after certain days from the interactions, but often encouraged by the conversations and how God helped me handle certain medical cases. If you can’t even talk about normal day-to-day things with others, it certainly will be hard to ever bring up the gospel.
2) Find creative ways to share the gospel, be involved in missions, and discipling others that may play to your introvert tendencies and strengths.
For evangelism, it could be walking alongside a friend who wants to evangelize. Your friend will be the one that initiates and talks, and you can be there for moral support. What almost always inevitably happens is that you’ll find yourself jumping in and talking as well. Most of the time, what introverts fear most is the initiation of the conversation, and also being alone when the conversation gets silent or awkward. Having another person there can ease the anxiety significantly.
For missions, you may want to write to encourage the missionaries. Or it may mean going on a short term trip to see how life is lived in other cultures, and what are the struggles that missionaries have so you can better pray for them. It may be financially supporting the missionaries.
I always think of Andrew Fuller as an exemplary example of supporting the Great Commission at home. His friend William Carey, became one of the first missionaries in India. He notes Carey’s undertaking was like one going into a deep, unexplored mine, and Carey seemed to say, “Well, I will go down, if you will hold the rope.” Fuller was indeed faithful all his years in holding the rope for Carey, in making sure he was supported, defended, taken care of.
Lastly, for discipleship, invest in those younger in the faith. This could be younger brothers/sisters, or friends. This could be going through a book together. It could be given wise Christian counsel. Let it be regular and consistent. There are many other possibilities, but be creative.
Thank you for coming on my blog and sharing your advice, Mr. Kung!
What do you think?
Which of Mr. Kung’s tips was the most helpful for you? What did you think of the series? What will you walk away with from the three interviews?