Carey lived in poverty as a shoemaker in his twenties and never thought God would have a plan for him. He was converted as a teenager and shortly afterwards became actively involved in Bible studies and ministry. In 1785 he accepted the call to become a pastor of a tiny church where he served until he was called to a larger congregation. During these years as a pastor William Carey became fascinated by the writings of Captain Cook's Voyages. Carey slowly developed a biblical perspective on the subject of missions, and he became convinced that foreign missions were the responsibility of the church. His ideas were revolutionary. Most of his peers believed that the great commission was given only to the apostles, and therefore preaching to the "heathen" was no concern of theirs. When Carey presented his ideas to a group of ministers, one of them retorted, "Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help or mine." But Carey could not be silenced and he proceeded to publish his book on the obligations of the church in the preaching of the gospel to heathens. After publishing the book, Carey, spoke to another group of ministers where he challenged his audience from Isaiah 54:2-3 and uttered his now famous quote: "Expect the great things from God; attempt great things for God." The next day the ministers formed a Mission Society, even though most of them lived in poverty, but they believed God would open the doors and He did.
Carey raised support for his family and him to leave for India, but his wife was unwilling to follow. Even though she refused William continued and in the end she submitted and left with him. Nothing would detour Carey from the plan put in his heart even if it meant sacrificing his family.
The times in India were difficult and not one person accepted Christ in the first seven years of his work. He was disappointed, but he tarried on and the fruits of his ministry became abundant through his translations of the New Testament into local languages, as well as his evangelistic work.
Carey served in India for 39 years never resting to bring the gospel to the unreached. And even though his efforts of evangelism were not as great as other missionaries, he put into motion the charge of modern day missions. William Carey was a man of action for God and the change he so passionately preached for missions was a change still felt today.