Mission’s Law of Inertia

I would like to address my college student friends for just a moment. Especially those college students who love Jesus and have full intention of being involved in missions with their lives – in their future. Regardless of what major you have declared you have also declared that you plan to be engaged in Great Commission work. I am excited and encouraged by you. I have often said that I think that one of the greatest needs in modern missions is for people to “pioneer” in the work of sending. We need people to show us what it looks like to be involved in missions as an accountant in Nebraska, a mechanic in Tennessee ,but to be actively involved in helping reach people in Thailand.

Recently a wild and wonderful group of missionaries and college age students took a trip to a Christian college in Pensacola, FL to promote our upcoming missions events and challenge people towards greater missions involvement. I made that trip every year for about 8 years but have not in the last couple of years. I hope to return in the years to come. When I do I will ask this question, “How many of you do not believe you will serve as a foreign missionary, but will still be involved in missions using the degree that you are currently studying to receive”. After a vast of amount of hands are raised. I will then proceed to kindly, yet bluntly tell them why I do not believe them. I will then drop the mic (okay I probably won’t do that) and sit down. Before I do I will invite them to come talk to me before I leave. I will help them develop a game plan on how they can make their intention a reality.

Here is the first point I will make to them. It is called the ‘Mission’s Law of Inertia”. It is very similar to Newtons First Law of Motion or Inertia. Isaac Newtons law states..

 An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

You will see the “Missions Law of Inertia” is very similar in that the same math is involved.

A Christian uninvolved in missions stays uninvolved and a Christian involved in missions stays involved with the same amount of commitment unless acted upon by an opposing conviction.


Let me put this in terms that the non-Biology majors will understand. If you say that one day after graduation you will use your education to be involved in missions but you currently aren’t using what you know to be involved in missions it isn’t going to happen. Let me tell the another law of life. Things are going to speed up for you, not slow down. If you think it will be hard to get on the missions trip next summer wait until you have a spouse, house, 2.5 kids, and a picket fence to paint white.

You see the inertia of life will pull you away for living for God’s glory! It will cause you to not think of His fame among the nations but your fame among those in your office. If we listen to the lies around us we will begin to work very diligently to build a kingdom, just not the right one. If you have not prayerfully considered changing your address for the sake of the Gospel do no expect to make any significant difference in this world. If you will be as Luther Rice and all believers who have signed a blank sheet of paper over to God you can position yourself to make a real difference.

I know you may not have heard this in the college infomercial but your diploma will not automatically transform you into the type of person you desire to be. As my Pastor says quite often “You will only be more of tomorrow what you are today!” If you believe 100% of the education you will receive getting a Nursing Degree will allow you to be involved in missions then wouldn’t it make sense that 25% of your education should have you more involved then you were before. You need to start now developing a strategy, better yet a lifestyle that causes you to be involved in the world evangelism. Who do you think is responsible for this? In the words of Catherine Booth “If we are to better the future we must disturb the present.” For you this means that if you truly want to be involved in missions in the future you better disturb your inactive present and get involved! If you are struggling with this principle get help from a History Major.

I will never forget when Philip told me that he was about to graduate with college debt. He told me about his desire to serve God in China and how he wanted to get there for an internship as soon as possible. I really felt for this guy. I honestly never thought it would happen. He told me of his plan to live on a small percentage of his income upon graduation and aggressively pay off his debt. I just didn’t see how he would be able to ever get out of the whole he had dug. God opened up some wonderful opportunities for him. He knew he had to make a big change in his life to allow him to live out a God given dream in the future. I am proud to say he is currently in Taiwan for a year long internship with his wonderful, Jesus loving wife. I love stories that end like this, they are far too rare.



Some years ago I was sitting in a circle on the floor with a group of teenagers. We had just walked out of an awesome session at the Our Generation Summit. We had all been challenged to take our global responsibilities more seriously. We were going to take a time to pray together. Before we began to pray the students started sharing about some things in their lives they want to change or strengthen in preparation for their future. One teenager asked another teenager what he wanted to do when he grew up. I will never forget what he said. He said he wanted to be a professional basketball player. We all burst out in laughter. Not because you cannot be a Christian and play basketball. We laughed because this guy was not known for his basketball skills. He didn’t play for his school. He never played on the weekends. I am not even sure he owned a basketball. We are still good friends today. At the time he didn’t understand why we found this hilarious but now he gets it. There is a real correlation between what you are preparing to do today and what you will do tomorrow. There is a correlation between what you are passionate about and what you will invest your time in. I wonder if you were to tell your friends you planned to use your degree to be vitally involved in foreign missions would they laugh? Would they see you involved in outreach on the weekend? Do they see you communicating with missionaries now? Are you partnering with others in the world through prayer?

If you are one of those rare anomalies that will admit to me that you just simply know how to “use your degree in missions” aka the furtherance of the Gospel. Then without reservation I tell you to proceed no further. It is most likely you could use your degree for the sake of advancing the Gospel but if you had never thought this through this what was your motivation in studying that topic in the first place.

So are you at rest or are you in motion? Will you be able to continue what you are doing after graduation and be obedient to playing your role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission? I understand you may or may not have many clear, strong examples of people with your chosen occupation that are involved in world evangelism. That is why I call upon you to pioneer. I challenge you to start today.

I think at the heart of the issue of inactivity is a problem with accounting. If you only have 4 thousand dollars then I might understand why you would be so cautious with your money. I might even understand but not condone you being selfish with it. This is not the case in the Christian life. We are like Scrooge McDuck in Ducktales. We have a pool full of gold coins in terms of our life. At the point of salvation you received eternal life! This means in comparison to what you really have four years is not all that long. You may be treating your four years as all that matters. You may be being selfish with it. How much easier is it to give up $4,000 or 4 years when you realize what your Heavenly Father has given you by redeeming you! If you have trouble with this talk it over with an Accountant Major.

To the graphic design major why couldn’t you be designing literature for churches around the world between your class work? To the Nursing Major why couldn’t you take a trip with Medical Missions Outreach next summer? To the Accounting Major why couldn’t you look to intern at the home office at a mission board next year? As a business major why in the world haven’t you read Stanley Tams’ book “God owns my business”. I could go on and on, but I will wait to do so when I meet you in person and hear your story.

If you are rest today, don’t stay that way. Allow this to help drive you towards a conviction in the here and now. Get involved now and continue it in the life you will live after graduation.

About the author

Trent serves as an Associate Pastor at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. He writes, speaks, and helps lead events that encourage people to "pioneer" in the work of sending.
5 Responses
  1. Eric Elrod

    I believe many people want to be involved in missions but feel “tied” to their degree. How do you help them see the greater picture? I know for me it was taking a Medical Missions Outreach trip to see the mission field.

  2. Kanon Bloom

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that most people that are at rest in their involvement in foreign missions will only remain at rest unless something happens to get them in motion, but how do I encourage a friend that is at rest in his involvement with missions but says he doesn`t want to waste his life, how do I encourage him to get into motion?

  3. Over 20 years ago, I was that college student that believed I’d one day be on the mission field. One summer half-way through my degree, God showed me the need to be a pioneer senders, though I didn’t have a name for it until I met you, Trent.

    Looking back from that time to now, I can certainly see periods of inertia, and waves of influencing forces in my life – both acceleration and friction (to continue the physics metaphor). Thanks for this enlightening article, and for being one of my accelerating forces.

  4. Thank you for this encouragement. I came to OG camp in 2010 when it was at your church, World Vision Baptist. That week left a permanent impression on my mind. I will never forget the challenges from the missionaries or the eye-opening experiences of visiting the temples, mosque, synagogue, Mandir, or Hire-Krishna right in my hometown. It was there that I committed to go anywhere and do anything the Lord called me to. Missions had always been something I was excited about each year when missionaries visited for Missions Conference, but I didn’t realize how each of us is called to obey the great commission everyday wherever we are and how great the need for the gospel was even in Atlanta. Thank you for introducing us to the lost; thank you for showing us how dark the world is without the truth; thank you for challenging us to interview shoppers in China Town and talk with the priests and monks and Imam. The Lord used that week to open my heart for those blinded to the truth. I am a nursing student now, and this winter I was able to take my first mission’s trip with Medical Missions Outreach to Guyana. I would highly recommend going! Find a way to get involved and let the Lord change your desires. He doesn’t ask us to know everything – just be willing.

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