VIC Branch


Zeal for God is the reason

Ben Dopplinger hiking in Europe

Ben Dopplinger hiking in Europe

“Ben… Do you hear me?”
“Yes, Lord! I hear you!”
“Return to Austria, find the lost and preach my word to them.”
“I will do as you say, Lord!”

… Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody received their calling like that? But no, it’s not how I received mine, either!

When it comes to mission, I think a lot of people are waiting for a sign from above. But at my Seriously Interested in Mission (SIIM) group, we read a book together called Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, which provided some unexpected insights on this question. Kevin says that we don’t have to super-spiritualise our decision-making process and wait for a voice or sign from heaven.

We should pursue a holy and obedient life to God, and as we begin to reflect the character of Jesus Christ, so will our decisions.

We realised how liberating it is to make the decision to go into mission, and to pursue the gospel to the ends of the earth. If we have a will to be obedient and to ‘go’ cross-culturally, then that is God’s will! (Acts 1:8)

This was just some of the profound teaching I have received from SIIM. It has also been very encouraging to hear the thoughts of other young people on the path to mission. Just as a family shares a common bloodline, this group shares a common passion for mission, making it feel like a family.

I’m originally from Austria, and soon after I became Christian I moved to Australia. My desire to pass on the good news was there from the start; I enjoyed mentoring people here in Melbourne, but I wondered if I could cope in another culture.

Then one day, my church announced a short-term mission trip to the Philippines, and I jumped at the chance.

I felt that this would be a good opportunity to test myself, to see if overseas mission was worth pursuing. When I arrived on location, I was constantly asking myself,

“Can I see myself sleeping in that house, picking rice, sitting together having lunch and reading the Bible with the people over there?” The answer was always, “YES! YES YES!”

On our way home I was already quite determined to go back to the Philippines for long-term mission, and that’s when a friend told me about CMS and I joined SIIM.

In the end though, the Philippines was not where I ended up. Soon after my trip to the Philippines, I had a visit to Austria, and quickly became aware of the great need for the gospel in my own country. My eyes were opened, and I said, “Wow, I’ve never seen such need here before.” At roughly the same time I got in touch with Rob Horne, who at the time was a CMS missionary in Austria, and we started talking about the different needs in Austria and the Philippines. Rob’s wife, Arabelle, is actually from the Philippines originally, so after chatting to them and reflecting more about the great need in Austria as well, I realised that it may be wiser – given my familiarity with the Austrian culture and language – to shift my focus from the Philippines over to Austria instead.

At this stage, I aim to move back to Austria in 2021, after I have completed my AFES apprenticeship here in Melbourne, and that’s very exciting!

Even though I’m moving back to my own culture, my SIIM group is still helpful, for example by thinking together as a group WHY we go into missions – what’s our motive in desiring to go.

I would encourage anybody thinking even remotely about mission to join a SIIM group. It’s a great place to ask questions to yourself that may help you discern whether mission is something you want to pursue.

When I think about my reasons for going on mission, it isn’t primarily to save the lost from condemnation. It is to recruit more people that would join us in our joyful adoration and praise of our wonderful God who is worthy of every bit of it and more! As John Stott has said so well:

The highest of missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God…), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ.

(John Stott, Romans: God’s Good News for the World (Downers Grover, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1994), 53)

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