What Is A Missionary
What is a Missionary, we all have an image in our minds of what a missionary ought to look like. But have you ever given a missionary’s job a second thought? Think for a second about how you would characterize a missionary.
What kind of thing? A missionary is someone who transcends cultural boundaries in order to spread the gospel and form disciples, according to the following definitions.
Alternatively, “A missionary is a person who abandons all and travels to another country to serve the Lord in a different cultural setting and spread His love to others. These are good definitions, but let’s explore what a missionary actually is and consider what these words suggest a little more.
Definition of a Missionary: Cultural Immersion
We must first examine the notions of culture, including cross-cultural and cultural context, before we can define a missionary. Despite the fact that these words sound extremely similar, their definitions are different. Without a clear understanding of culture, our perception of a missionary will be different.
In order to share the gospel with the people, it is crucial for missionaries to learn how to integrate into a culture that is different from their own. Being a successful missionary includes doing things like this.
To comprehend why this is significant, we need to look at the definitions of cross-culture and cultural background. How you go about doing that will vary depending on where you are in the world.
Cross-culture is described as “dealing with, related to, or affording a comparison between two or more different cultures or cultural areas” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
When you interact with someone from a different culture than your own, this is called cross-cultural. This is frequently the definition of a missionary that the majority of Christians use.
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Being involved in cross-cultural mission activity does not need traveling abroad. There are a number of ethnic groups in the US that have never heard of the gospel and who all need a Savior.
People who have been uprooted, rejected by their own country, and who consequently feel lost, abandoned, and alone include refugees, immigrants, and even newly naturalized US citizens.
Visiting a family from East Asia, the Middle East, or South Asia and inviting them to your home for a prepared meal are examples of cross-cultural missions.
As you converse with them, get to know them, and show an interest in their culture, you start to gradually develop trust in a lovely relationship that might offer you the chance to introduce them to Jesus, who has the power to give them hope and eternal life.
Numerous Christians in the United States are leading missionary lives and sharing their faith with everyone they come into contact with. No matter where we reside in the globe, everyone is called to create disciples and participate in the Great Commission, even though not everyone is called to be a missionary.
(1) Cultural background is defined as “looking at the society that the characters inhabit and at how their culture may influence their conduct and possibilities.”
(2) Another approach to define cultural context is as “past experiences, perceptions, and cultural background that significantly influence how people speak and behave.”
(3) In particular, the principles and practices that direct their lifestyle and form their worldview.
To the fullest extent possible, cultural engagement is living among individuals whose language you do not understand and whose practices are wholly alien to you.
You must understand why people adhere to particular customs or revere particular deities, and you must start pondering why they live the way they do in order to completely understand a people’s way of life.
While going through that process, you become quite interested in the people around you and curious about how they view God, the cosmos, and society. Your goal as a missionary is to spread the good news to everyone you encounter.
You must first comprehend the culture you are in in order to communicate the gospel in a way that is culturally suitable if you want to do that and see lost souls come to Christ. You won’t make disciples who will make disciples until you contextualize the gospel. This is what distinguishes a successful missionary.
Missionary: A Bearer of the Good News
As we proceed to define a missionary more precisely, we must also consider the good news that a missionary carries with them: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christ died for the ungodly at the appropriate time, when we were still weak. For one will hardly die for a righteous person though one might even be willing to die for a good person but God demonstrates his love for us by sending his Son to die for us while we were still sinners.
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Since we have already been justified by his blood, it follows that he will do even more to save us from God’s wrath.
Because if the death of God’s Son could bring about our reconciliation when we were at odds with him, how much more would his life bring about our salvation now that we are at peace?
More than that, we also praise God through the reconciliation we have now experienced through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:6-11
This is the aspect of understanding a missionary that is most crucial. A missionary is a person who carries the name of Jesus to places where it has never been heard in order to spread the good news to all people.
As a result, in order to present the gospel in a way that will have an impact on the listeners when you take the gospel to a different country, you must learn about the local culture and traditions. The gospel has been contextualized in this way.
Setting the Gospel in Context
Contextualization refers to an effort to deliver the Gospel in a way that is relevant to the culture.
Think about how Jesus addressed His listeners, for instance. He based the characters, settings, and dates of His stories on the information and facts that the people knew.
Although the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11–32 is a wonderful tale to us today, it was unheard of, shocking, and demeaning to the original audience. Jews would never have witnessed a father run to meet his errant son in a society where elders were held in high regard.
When serving as a missionary in another nation, you must consider the local culture when spreading the gospel.
As there are hundreds of different beliefs that do not fit inside a single formula for contextualizing the gospel, this will differ significantly in each culture, religion, and people group.
They will be able to relate to and grasp the gospel message more readily if you explain it in terms that the people you are speaking to can relate to.
A Missionary is Someone Who “Goes,”
The term “missionary” has traditionally been used to refer to people who have accepted God’s call to a full-time ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4) and who have traveled across cultural and/or geographical boundaries to share the gospel in places where the gospel of Jesus Christ is largely, if not completely, unknown (Romans 15:20)
Going abroad does not geographically define a missionary, despite the fact that many unreached people groups are found there. The differentiation instead involves overcoming cultural hurdles. This indicates that a missionary “goes” across cultural obstacles like language, culture, and beliefs as well as “goings” overseas to live in a distant country.
Jesus mentions traveling to “Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” in Acts 1:8. How does this affect us in the present?
These are some of the descriptions of those mission fields:
- The people who live close by and share a similar culture and socioeconomic position are the target audience for Jerusalem’s ministry.
- Judea” could refer to far-off individuals with a similar culture.
- Samaria” refers to people who are close by and have a very distinct culture or social position.
- People who live far apart and with nothing in common are said to reside at the “End of the Earth.”
The majority of people in the world have never heard of Jesus Christ, thus missionaries who are sent or travel with the primary goal of preaching largely unreached people groups at “the End of the Earth” are entering a window of opportunity. Paul the Apostle is a good illustration of this. Think of shipwrecks, incarceration, and snake bites.
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In order to spread the gospel and establish gospel communities, missionaries travel to spiritually desolate and frequently hostile regions of the world, leaving behind the comforts of home. Because there are no assurances, we can only hope.
And frequently, families with young children are among them. Today’s missionaries abandon their homes, extended families, friends, churches, conveniences, decent schools, good health care, options for their children, safe peers, grandparents, and holiday feasts.
This kind of service has a fee or toll that must be paid. For the sake of the gospel, some even bear the burden of a prison cell.
Making Disciples: A Missionary’s Definition
In addition to working in cross-cultural settings, a missionary is someone who forges relationships through investing in the heart of the person they are speaking to through one-on-one discipleship rather than by outright evangelism.
To be clear, a missionary is not a globetrotting social justice or international humanitarian worker.
They are not evangelists either. Humanitarian initiatives, while seeking to affect change and find ways to make the world a better place to live in, do not seek spiritual development or transformation.
Additionally, an evangelist is constantly on the lookout for development and change, but there is typically no follow-up on the discussion of Jesus or any sort of discipleship.
Not all missionaries oppose evangelism, though. By serving in their own city and sharing the gospel with everyone they encounter, a person with a missional mindset can cultivate a heart for the world. However, this does not automatically make them a missionary because they are lacking one crucial component: discipleship.
A missionary has the chance to demonstrate the love of Christ through their daily deeds through engaging in discipleship.
As they continue to establish connections, the people they are discipling experience this love through them, and God uses the gospel to change their lives.
It is important to remember that a missionary is someone who goes and makes disciples. Every Christian is invited to take part in the Great Commission through prayer and discipleship, even though not everyone is called to serve as a full-time missionary overseas.
What role do “going” and “making disciples” play in the description of a missionary? How do culture and the gospel fit in?
A missionary is someone who demonstrates Jesus’ love for others by living a life of obedience to Him wherever they are.
All of us who love and follow Jesus are called to make disciples. A missionary is someone who goes above and beyond to proclaim the gospel across cultural divides. The last explanation of what a missionary is is as follows:
In order to share the good news with someone who does not know Jesus, a missionary must overcome numerous cultural barriers.
What Is a Christian Missionary?
The main objective of missionaries is to evangelize largely unreached people groups at “the End of the Earth.” They frequently situate themselves in a segment of society where the majority of people have never heard of Jesus Christ.
Everything begins here. “Go therefore 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 follow all that I have commanded you,” Jesus tells His apostles in Matthew 28:18–20.As stated in the Gospel of Mark, Christians are obligated to take part in the mission to “Go, Make Disciples, Baptize, Teach, or Preach” (Mark 16:15).
Is Every Christian a “Missionary” Now?
On this non-Biblical phrase, there are at least two different schools of thought.
- Every Believer Is a Missionary Every Christian is an impostor or a missionary. According to the well-known statement by Charles Spurgeon, any genuine follower of Jesus Christ would want the rest of the world to know about Him. Anyone using their skills and abilities to advance the Kingdom could be included in this description. Since we are all called to go, we are missionaries traveling to fulfill this calling while we go about our daily lives.
- There Are Not All Missionaries According to When Everything is Missions, a more specific definition of the term “missionary,” which comes from the Latin root “to send,” refers to someone who is sent out “to plant the gospel within a target culture until it expands throughout that culture and possibly beyond.” “We need terminology to define individuals called and equipped by God for cross-cultural missions,” argues Matt Tyler, a church planter in East Asia.
Although some may call it semantics, the terms “Great Commission” and “missionary” are not always equivalent. Both definitions’ requirements are genuine, important, and required for obedience to the Great Commission.
Practically, we use the phrases “Missions,” “Missionary,” and “the Mission” interchangeably, and we frequently are unsure of whether someone is only referring to a worker in social concerns, gospel exchanges, or both.
As we are all called to do everything for the glory of our Creator, it is important to distinguish the term “Missionary” to denote a unique calling that is honorable. This calling is not one that is higher or “more spiritual” than others.
Those Who Stay, what about them?
The rest of us, what does this mean? Are we exempt from the Great Commission’s call? Tyler said, “While not every church member will serve as a missionary, every church member can participate in this job of sending, training, evaluating, and confirming. The mission applies to everyone.
To be a follower of Jesus is to accept all peoples, as John Piper emphasizes. Therefore, there are no roller coasters. No one declares that missions are not their thing, Piper remarked. You have three options: a goer, a sender, or a disobedient slave. There are only those three choices available.
By providing finances, supporting those who are called to go, calling them out, and linking them to the church, we as senders may mobilize, assisting individuals in getting to the field.
Old Testament missionaries
Abram was the first person to answer the Lord’s summons to leave his homeland, his people, and his father’s household in order that one day “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1-3).
He lived and passed away generations before Jesus, but it is through his lineage that we are saved by Jesus Christ. As he set out to fulfill God’s call on his life, his righteousness was reckoned to him as faith.
The Exile of Jonah.
God dispatched Jonah to the repulsive city of Nineveh in order to “cry out against it the word that I give you” Jonah 3:2 As a result, the people turned to God and repented.
New Testament missionary with the most notoriety
Similar to this, Paul is a person who the Lord also commissioned to travel as “a chosen tool of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
The Lord had said He would “show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” from the outset (Acts 9:16).
As traveling to preach The Way of Christ, Paul gathered congregations of believers for his mentee Timothy and others who would stay behind to grow while he traveled on to continue preaching.
Even though he frequently expressed a wish to remain with or visit his fellow Christians, he heeded the call of the missionaries to keep moving forward.
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