James McAvoy Shares His Thoughts on Being a Missionary

Best known for his role as the young Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies, James McAvoy made his acting debut as a teen and has not stopped since. He has even done voice work for animated films Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur Christmas. But it was his role in The Last King of Scotland that would garner him several award nominations. We interviewed McAvoy in 2007 and talked to him about how his role changed his worldview and how he once wanted to be a missionary.


McAvoy reflects on how his role in The Last King of Scotland changed his worldviews and his take on playing shallow characters.


“Playing this role changed my views slightly because it made me think about the power I have going into any other country. Like going to Thailand, the power I have is really huge just because of the fil. The power over other people’s lives around you is really large. It’s not to be underestimated. And you can cause a lot of hassle. You can create a lot of havoc. But the thing that changed me…coming from a working-class background, I had a very large chip on my shoulder. I got into a country where that chip on my shoulder was completely insulting to everyone around me. Actually, in world terms, we are the elite. I didn’t know what it was like to have nothing and that made me re-evaluate the way I looked at myself…I think I like playing shallow characters because quite often we ‘play’ strong people. But you also need to tell stories about all of humanity. You need to tell stories where your protagonists are flawed.”


Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20


“I wanted to be a missionary. But I didn’t pursue that. In fact, I stopped pursuing it for the reason that I didn’t want to use the excuse of wanting to help the world to be a free meal ticket. I think that’s what I was doing in wanting to become a missionary. In our country, we have a gap year where we are encouraged to go see the world, but that didn’t exist back then.


Risen Reflections

Be a world changer. You don’t have to be a full-time missionary to make an impact for Christ. While going on an international mission trip can be a great experience, we can impact the world right in our own backyard. God has put people in your life that He wants you to share His gospel with, some might be your friends, others might be family, neighbors, teammates, classmates or even someone you meet in passing. Remember that many people will travel and go to other countries and many schools now have international students that will return to their countries. By sharing with them, you can have a global impact. Social media has also opened the doors for people to share their faith with others. Film your testimony and share it with others. This can be something good to do as a small group. You can give each other feedback before you post it and then you can share the stories of impact together afterwards.


Pray for missionaries. Ask your church or pastor for a list of missionaries that they support. Many missionaries send a monthly update of how you can pray for them. Commit to praying for the missionaries once a week or once a month as a small group. Ask God to open doors for them to be able to share Christ with others. Pray that God would provide for all of their needs. The missionaries might even have tangible things that they need like Bibles or study materials that you or your small group can help support them in to do ministry.


Consider going on a mission trip. Many churches and organizations have a variety of mission trips ranging from one-day to multiple weeks. Pray and ask God to show you where He wants you go to and ask Him to make your motives pure. Don’t get discouraged if you have to raise money to go on the trip. God will provide all of your needs as He guides and directs you to be a part of a trip. If you have never taken a mission trip before, it is good to go with a church or group that has gone before. They will be able to train you before you go and advise you on what to bring. Often, they are going to places or working with ministries and churches that they have established relationships with.


To read our entire interview with James McAvoy, click here.

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