Typical missions programs are based on the Great Commission (found at the end of Matthew's gospel) and on the general principle that God desires all men to come to a saving knowledge of the truth. The Bible confirms this over and over, and my soul knows it well, that Christ came into the world to save pitiful sinners, even one as appalling as myself. However, our first priority as Christ-followers is still the same, to heed and follow after Christ, even after we have already passed all the missions classes in the world with flying colors.
A while ago for me, a combination of missions seminars and churchy culture had pounded the necessity of going abroad into my head to such an extent that "missions" came to be synonymous with "obedience to God." It became an indisputable fact in my mind that, as soon as possible, I need to go somewhere else... anywhere other than here, I guess.
There came to be this dialogue in my head: "Do you want to have extreme faith? Do you want to obey God, and hang out with the most spiritually elite people? Then find a way to go... um... somewhere else and live by this radical faith among the far-off people of wherever Christian statistics say there is need. Anyway, other places are without a doubt un-reached by the gospel, just look at them compared to us! They're all so... lost! They are crying out to heaven that you, Patrick Roberts, soon-to-be missions superstar, would tell them all about Jesus Christ and how to accept Him to be their personalized Lord and Savior."
"Yes!" I said to myself, "I do want to be on the spiritual cutting-edge of missions. I am going to do whatever it takes to go to some far-off people group and spend years and years learning their language so I might tell them everything I've worked so hard to learn about Jesus and God and the Bible and how to do church. And I'm sure I can change the way I dress and my personality and whatever else in order to fit right in to any culture of my choice. Pretty soon they'll be accepting Jesus by the droves."
For any missions-minded churchgoer there are innumerable conferences, classes and books calling whoever happens to be listening to take their faith on the road as soon as possible.
Later on I learned that planting thousands or even millions of house-churches is the real deal, the cream of the crop of missions. In fact, one can hardly even call house-church-planting "missions" any more, it is so missionalogically advanced.
"So," I asked myself, "am I a missionary or a house-church-planter? Can I become any of these things if I really really want to and if I go through all the right steps?"
My nebulous future disturbed me for a while, until God dragged me down off of my missionary high into a more peaceful and spiritually sound outlook on faith in general. If I am Christ's, then my place must be exactly where He deliberately places me, which is apparently right where I am. Until further notice, my calling is to work honestly with my hands, my mind and whatever else God's is loaning out to me right now.
If you seek Christ then be encouraged by the simplicity of your calling. Christ's followers obey Him wherever they are, however they can.
God has us where and when we are for specific reasons. He purposefully matches our various gifts and endowments according to wherever He deliberately places us.
This revelation brought a downpour of relief for me. It must have been a revelation because I would have never gleaned such down-to-earth, spiritual truth from the freight-train, missions mentality that surrounded me. I would have never suspected such a liberating outlook on obedience had God not hit me upside the head with it.
Whether or not you can be sure you're doing what God wants you to do depends on whether you are surrendered to Him. Has He called you to some specific business where you already are or is He calling you to take care of business elsewhere?