The Place Where FOMO Becomes FOBI


One might think the term FOMO is a rather new term, but according to Wikipedia it was made popular over 10 years ago. For those of us who can’t keep up with such “new” words, this might be the first time we have ever even heard or read of such a term. FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, is defined by one source as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts on a social media website.” So just when was the last time you experienced this fear or anxiety? What caused it? Is it a real phobia?

Because there is so much going on in this culture and society every single moment of every single day, it seems quite reasonable that fear could develop over missing out. If it is indeed a real phobia, every single person could be inclined to develop this issue. The truth is that without an inclination to being intentional in life, many will miss out all the time on everything! There are just too many opportunities and not enough time or energy in a day. The way to combat FOMO is to be intentional and make sure that nothing of value is missed.  Clear, deliberate choices must be made, and there must be a belief that there is a distinct path for each person to follow.

Perhaps there is an additional phobia that has developed all around us. What about FOBI? FOBI is a phobia that has existed for centuries, though it has never been identified. Breaking news…there is a phobia called FOBI which develops when one has a Fear Of Being Involved. FOBI is alive and well in churches today because there is a tremendous fear of being involved in missions. Likely, this fear plagues every other area of church life too, but it seems apparent that the biggest fear might be the idea of being called to leave one’s home, leave one’s family, be condemned to raise support, and head out across the world to some assuredly dangerous place, likely resulting in persecution or death.  Sounds like a terminal condition rather than just a fear, doesn’t it?  Those already participating in missions won’t agree. There may be a hint of FOBI for those who are honest, but the blessings and assurance that come from being involved and being part of God’s eternal plans far outweigh any fears or doubts.

What if missions created FOMO instead of FOBI?  Currently, there is no fear of missing out on that which God intended for His people to join. It has always been the plan for the Gospel to go forth and reach the nations, and it should be viewed as an exciting and interesting movement that is all the hype and rage of Christianity. There should be a true FOMO that spreads to every church and every Christian because without being intentional in finding one’s role in the missions task, missing out is exactly what happens! Instead, the cancer of FOBI has developed and is spreading rapidly. This fear of being involved is crippling churches and individuals, and FOMO is FOBI when the word “missions” is uttered.

Let’s change that! How about keeping a FOMO on these opportunities?

  • Learning about the biblical basis for missions
  • Learning how to pray about missions
  • Learning about resources to use as an individual or church
  • Learning where to go to network and keep up with trends in missions
  • Learning how to properly send those who are called to GO
  • Learning how to find and mobilize those who are called to GO

It is your lucky day because you are now aware of the dangers of FOBI.  Although this new sickness is spreading rapidly, you can receive the prescription before it ever affects you. You hold the keys to combat FOBI and keep a healthy FOMO! Don’t wait! Find help now by contacting a missions health expert today! The cure awaits!

Kirsten McClain serves in church missions mobilization for Propempo International and OMF. She has been serving churches and mission agencies for the last 20 years. She has a heart to see the church realize her potential in missions and is driven to be a mobilizer to this end. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three children, and she is ready to direct pastors to the various resources that Propempo and OMF use to come alongside churches and individuals so that they can do missions well.

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