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5 Roles of a Goer

Posted on Friday, May 10, 2024
By
Meghan

Do you remember taking a career aptitude test in high school? I mean the ones set up to have you answer a bunch of questions and then reveal the ideal career or job for your potential future. Everyone wanted something really exciting and unique like Astronaut or Zoologist. Or one that offered extraordinary fame like a Performer or Designer. 

I remember the feeling of anticipation after intensely mining my personality for its unique potential and waiting to see my results. I had a strong desire to know a clear path forward into my perfect future. And it was hard to resist the promise of a role that would most perfectly use my personality and gifts to their maximum potential! 

Yet after all that hard work and expectation, I remember always being let down. I looked at my results page and saw myself destined to become someone who sits at a desk in an office somewhere wondering where the glamor and excitement of my career got lost along the way. I had never felt more ordinary.

But that wasn’t how the story unfolded at all. Fast-forward to me as a recent college graduate and my ordinary self was embarking on some extraordinary adventures. What changed? No, I didn’t swap out my personality for one with a bigger wow factor on the career aptitude test! I followed God’s invitation to tithe my career in a 2-year global placement. And I discovered the roles that really matter when it comes to building a career with eternal impact.

GoCorps specializes in helping ordinary Christians find ways to join God’s extraordinary work globally.  But most Christians feel intimidated by the idea of following God into the work of the great commission.  It seems that one must possess super skills and extreme spirituality in order to be worthy and effective for missions, right?

Our best example of how to approach cross-cultural missions is to look at the life and example of Christ.

Our best example of how to approach cross-cultural missions is to look at the life and example of Christ.  Why?  Well, he was the ultimate Goer.  He came from a whole different culture (heaven culture) and came to earth culture.  He was an outsider, who came to a new culture to share a new way of thinking and living.  He came to share good news, but he had to do it in a culture not his own. And he did all of this in ways that might just surprise you by how ordinary they are! So, check out the 5 ways he approaches how to share the good news as an outsider.  We call these the 5 roles of a Goer…

Learner

The foundational role of a Goer is that of a learner. When Jesus came to the earth he had created and the people he had formed, he came to know them in real experience. As he lived, he grew in wisdom, in stature, in spirituality, and in relationships (Luke 2:52). We also learn from Luke’s gospel account that “Jesus began his ministry when he was about 30 years old” (Luke 3:23), and he ministered for about 3 years. That means Jesus spent 10 years learning for every 1 year of service. GoCorps carries on his example by being the connector and catalyst for young adults in their 20s to launch into 2-year global placements - approximately 1 year of service for every 10 years of learning. Jesus launched the Tithe Your Career movement!

And the learning doesn’t stop once you launch. A lot of our educational settings today involve learning a lot and only using a little. But taking on the role of a learner as a Goer is about learning a little and using it a lot. 

Imagine a trip to the market, for example. This everyday cross-cultural experience pushes you out of your comfort zone. You learn by engaging all five of your senses! Taking in the sights, sounds, smells, feels, and tastes of what you discover. It allows for you to gain confidence, build relationships, learn new vocabulary, and develop a growing ease in the cultural context. The only potential loss is a little time and money.

This is also why language learning is such a core aspect of a 2-year global placement. We believe that speaking the heart language of the people is so important for being a friend. And a little goes a long way in making the effort to connect with people in their native tongue.

Being a learner is about patience. It is not always comfortable. But it is an active choice with great reward. You could even start now, by making it a habit to learn something new every day!

Being a learner is about patience. It is not always comfortable. But it is an active choice with great reward.

Friend

Taking on this posture of a learner by listening and engaging with those around you, you become a friend. Throughout the course of history, a vast majority of people have come to know Jesus through the context of friendship. And especially those on the outside of religious circles. Jesus himself was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt 11:19). And he says: “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). 

We believe incarnational ministry is the best way to see and serve the least reached and global poor - those who wouldn’t hear the good news if someone didn’t change their address to move into their neighborhood and become their friend.

In Jesus’ example of friendship, we see a man who took time with people. As Jesus traveled from place to place healing many, he could have chosen to heal thousands of people at a time and from a distance, using only words. But he so often chose to heal by means of touch. He took an individual approach which required time and attention. He connected with people as a friend. 

So like Jesus, a Goer is a friend. A Goer walks with people, talks with people, spends time connecting with people over meals and shopping, swapping stories as they live parallel lives. In friendships, we have the unique opportunity to live out our everyday lives with transparency. Jesus wasn’t isolated. And he wasn’t independent. John Stott says it this way: “The word became flesh and he didn’t come as an astronaut.” We believe that serving in community is the best way to reach people with the love of Christ, giving them living examples of life together in fellowship. God has sent us into the world as love letters. He wants people to read our lives and see him on the pages. 

Look again at the incarnation: “The word became flesh and he lived among us. We have seen his glory.” (John 1:14) Being a Goer allows for the glory of God to be seen in you through the context of cross-cultural friendship.

Servant

At Jesus’ final meal before his death, he took things a step further. Jesus wrapped a cloth around his waist and taking a jug and bowl, went one by one washing his friends’ feet. It was a radical example of service and humility.

Jesus then instructed his disciples to go and do likewise saying: “Now that I have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) This kind of modeling and guidance for how to live is so helpful. It is why we hand pick teams and placements that are a fit for discipling and mentoring young adults. So that as a Goer, you are surrounded by living examples who possess years upon years of experience in global missions.

Sometimes being a servant looks like washing a friend’s feet. But in another context, it might look like handing out flowers in the red light district to women in prostitution or digging side by side with local villagers to excavate a new water canal. Being a servant as a Goer might look really different than it does in your home culture. This is just one more reason why having a long-term team to learn from is so beneficial. Those who have been immersed in the local culture for much longer than you can give guidance and wisdom about how best to be a servant in the local context. 

So no matter the activity, Goers give priority to the needs of others. They put aside their comforts and desires to welcome the needs of their friends. A Goer is a servant. And a Goer serves in community.

Storyteller

Anyone who spent time around Jesus, heard him tell stories. Jesus was a master at understanding the world he inhabited, identifying opportunities for illustration, and making a spiritual connection for the people with him. This skill of communicating large truths in digestible pieces came through the means of storytelling. And people can’t fight stories. Stories are powerful vessels for delivering messages of truth, hope, and love.

Imagine a truck carrying a 5-ton load trying to cross a 1-ton bridge. There are a few options for how to proceed: The truck can cross with the full load and risk the bridge breaking. The truck can not cross the bridge at all. The truck can cross the bridge without the cargo inside. Or the truck can cross the bridge carrying a few packages each time in smaller loads.

In this story, we are the truck. We carry a gospel message - precious cargo! But often our delivery can feel like a 5-ton load for our friends whose spiritual readiness bears the strength of a 1-ton bridge. So these possibilities result: If we cross the bridge with the full load, we break the bridge. This hinders future opportunities for sharing the gospel through this friendship. If we don’t cross the bridge at all, we are not obedient to be the message-bearers we have been called to be. If we cross the bridge without the cargo, we are irrelevant. Our message brings no lasting hope to our friend. If we cross the bridge with smaller loads of cargo, we meet the person where they’re at. Our message can be received, digested, and built upon for future interactions. 

A Goer is a storyteller. They meet people where they’re at, engage them with a story of how the gospel relates to the situation they are in, and encourage them by small steps into deeper experiences of God and his truth. Learning to do this takes practice. It’s also not rocket science. 

They meet people where they’re at, engage them with a story of how the gospel relates to the situation they are in, and encourage them by small steps into deeper experiences of God and his truth.

We tell stories and listen to stories with friends and neighbors every day. A Goer sees these storytelling opportunities as vessels through which to carry the greatest message and gift we’ve ever received. 

This role of a Goer is an active part of the deepening of relationships cross-culturally. It is also a role that Goers take on months before ever stepping foot on an airplane. GoCorps trains and equips Goers in raising support for their 2-year global placements. We provide Goers with tools for sharing their story, making invitations, and networking with others. A Goer learns to use storytelling to cast vision and communicate needs. They come through the support-raising journey full of stories of God’s incredible provision and faithful encouragement.

Both stateside and beyond, Goers are storytellers. They carry stories of faith, of good news, of great joy. In this way, friends experience God’s truth in new ways.

Worshiper

In Jesus’ final days, he prayed for his friends. Jesus said of his friend, Peter: “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:32). And he prayed for us also. John 17 gives us an in depth look at Jesus’ heart for his disciples and for those who would come after them. 

He continues to be our intercessor today, no matter what region of the globe you find yourself in. We learn from Jesus’ holy example as a worshiper and intercessor. 

Following this mold, Goers acknowledge the ultimate power and authority of the Lord to draw people of all nations to know their Creator. Did you know there are over 566 passages in the Bible that speak of God’s heart for all nations? God cares a great deal about establishing a kingdom of diverse worshipers, people from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

As Goers display a life of obedience and service modeled after Christ, those around witness a greater story. It is a story of peace and belonging. By their examples, Goers invite others to worship God as well.

Conclusion

These roles of a Goer, as a learner, a friend, a servant, a storyteller, and a worshiper, build on one another. GoCorps’ foundational approach to ministry is being ‘incarnational’. That means moving into the neighborhood to enter and embody the host culture’s forms and practices. Jesus is our example of this, moving down to earth and living among mankind. He had to learn. He made friends. He served others intentionally. He told life-changing stories. And he drew people into worship.

The 5 roles of a Goer are how all of our Goers are trained and equipped to do their work. It is an ancient model of ordinary people joining God’s extraordinary mission. And we believe it works. The hundreds of Goers that have tithed their careers agree!

If you want to know more about these 5 roles of a Goer, connect with a Coach for a commitment-free conversation today. And check out what it means to tithe your career as you consider your future as a Goer!

 

Meghan

Meghan is a missions coach with GoCorps. She spent 7 years in cross-cultural ministry in the UK, discipling young adults and teens. She is married to a Goer alum, and they live in Texas with their 3 kids. She loves tea, good stories, and learning something new every day.

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