I Don’t Dig Wells!

God desires to use Millennials to change the world, but as with every generation, they face unique roadblocks to living in radical obedience, and they seem to experience a particular difficulty in entering the mission field. In my previous blog posts in this series, I addressed two significant reasons why: fear of commitment and the need to instantly specialize.

In this post, I would like to look at a more fundamental barrier - the fear of the very title itself.

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.

Website: www.steiger.org/benpierce


“Missionary” is not a popular word for young people today. At best, it conjures up images of khaki shorts and digging wells; at worst, it is seen as an antiquated tool of oppression.

I have found that even Christian millennials are uncomfortable with the word.

Like their secular peers, they associate the term missionary with construction projects, boring presentations during church services, and never-ending requests for funds. Given these stereotypes, is it any wonder they aren’t rushing to sign up?

The problem is multifaceted, and the solution far from simple.

Most outreach efforts today are to the third world, focusing on teaching and training local Christians, relieving poverty, or going to hard to reach places (within the 10-40 window).

Meanwhile, there is an emerging global youth culture that exists in every major urban center all over the world, representing more than one billion people. This demographic sees truth as relative and religion as a dead tradition of the past. Young followers of Jesus are natives of this culture, and struggle to see how the traditional missionary fits in. Many of them are inspired to reach their peers for Jesus, but are equally aware that the models of missions they’ve seen would never be effective in doing so.

As a church, we need to expand our idea of what it means to be a missionary. Missionaries don’t only train pastors or dig wells (though both are critical and extremely important). They also use music and art to show people who Jesus is, create films that point to the Gospel, or build online communities to discuss apologetics with non-believers.

We need to show young people that being a missionary is not about going to a specific country, or looking a certain way, but it is rather a full-time commitment to make disciples of all nations.

Millennials do, however, deserve at least some of the blame. Pride and fear are significant barriers to them entering the mission field today.

Many missions organizations have been slow to cater to a tech-savvy, image-conscious generation that, at its worst, cares more about appearance than substance. This may seem like a cynical perspective, but many young people reject the missionary paradigm because it just doesn’t look very cool to them. This form of pride is toxic, producing neither godly obedience nor eternal fruit.

Fear of fundraising is another huge obstacle. In my experience, an unwillingness to raise support has robbed many gifted millennials of being released into their calling. I am in full-time ministry and rely on the generosity of others to live, and I’ll readily admit that I too have struggled with it. Asking someone to support you is extremely difficult because in doing so, you have to humble yourself, recognize your dependence on others, and invite them to partner with you. But are any of those things really bad?

God has used the fundraising process as a sanctifying pick ax to hack away at my pride, and I am better for it.

The truth is, God doesn’t need your money, nor anyone else’s, to accomplish His purposes, yet I am convinced that it is His will for missionaries to raise funds as a means to live. Nothing else cultivates humility and invites accountability like sitting down with somebody and asking them to support you financially.

If you are willing to go through the process of building a support team, the results will be incredible. I now have a large family of devoted advocates, who I get to invite into the work God has asked me to do. My fruit is their fruit. I couldn’t do it without them, they couldn’t do it without me, and neither of us could do any of it without God—and this is His design.

Sadly, few millennials attempt to raise funds, let alone succeed at it, and this is perhaps the most significant threat to their entrance into the mission field.

Jesus desires to use young people to reach the world, but like every generation, they will need to face the barriers head-on. If the word “missionary” is unhelpful, then ditch it. Jesus doesn’t call us to a title, but to single-minded, radical devotion to reaching the lost. Call it whatever you want, just don’t let the title stop you.

I am a millennial, and have been in full-time ministry almost ten years, but I have had to allow God to kill my pride first, and then learn to depend on Him and others to live. The good news is that He is faithful, and by His grace, He can help you overcome any barrier and use your life powerfully to reach the world!

Related items

  • Artist Interview: NUTEKI
    For this month’s Come&Live! artist interview, I chatted with Misha Nokarashvili, lead singer of the band NUTEKI from Belarus. He shared with me about the way they follow up with those who respond to the Gospel at their shows, and how people are getting involved in local churches across the Russian-speaking world, as a result.
  • Finish the Race

    I have never been around someone more anointed than John*.

    We were together in one of the most dangerous parts of Amsterdam, and he started talking to a guy on the street. Suddenly, the man dropped to his knees and began to repent.

    Later, we went to Vondelpark in Amsterdam. This park is located in the center of the city and was where all the alternative people hung out. We sat together on a hill, and people started coming and sitting at his feet. It was like John had some magnetic presence. After the crowd gathered, he would just begin to talk to them about Jesus. I had never seen anything like that before.

  • Episode 71: Chucking Puppies, the End of U2, and Why Do We Tolerate Immoral Public Figures?

    All the regulars are finally back together again! With Luke bringing his diplomatic sensitive side to the conversation and Chad talking for days, what else do you need?

    In this episode, they discuss the demise of U2, the effect that fatherlessness is having on our world and how apparently white christians don’t get care about morality.

    Think that sounds crazy? Well that’s not all, in David’s random story he tells of the time his band was labeled as a Satanic group in the newspapers.

  • Episode 70: Christian Boozing, AC DC, and the Death Grip.
    While Luke is hanging out in Russia, Ben, David and Chad try something new... they bring in the buzzer! For each topic discussed, they have 8 minutes to answer before the buzzer goes off and it’s time to move on. They talk about some difficult subjects, including the excessive consumerism in the USA, whether or not Christians should be casual about alcohol consumption, and the continued downfall of celebrities that are being accused of sexual harassment.

    Why is AC/DC in the title you may ask? Well, listen to David’s Random story and you’ll find out!
  • Is a Kitchen Sink Enough?

    Twenty One Pilots, Depression and Suicide.


    Without a doubt, we’re facing a crisis of purpose, and suicide has become an increasingly more prevalent theme in pop culture. Whether it be Netflix series like “13 Reasons Why,” nihilist meme trends on social media, or the growing number of hit songs addressing it, there’s no doubt this is an issue on our minds.

Come&Live!
Sign up for our newsletter and receive a FREE digital copy of "Revolutionary, Ten Principles That Will Empower Christian Artists to Change the World" by David Pierce.

Country
Please wait