How to avoid becoming a missionary
- A tongue-in-cheek, humorous list of sure-fire ways to avoid
becoming a cross-cultural Christian missionary
- Stay away from missionaries. They will distract you from
tightly embracing a materialistic lifestyle.
- Dwell on how bad a missionary you would be based on your
short-comings. Don't think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter or
Mark, all of whom had to overcome failures.
- If you do not want to be called to be a missionary, listen to
people who say you are indispensable right where you are.
"My wife and I are considering church-planting on a foreign field. Your 10 ways to
avoid becoming a missionary are very challenging." — John C., Indiana
How not to become a missionary
Stay away! Steer clear! Weasel out of it!
To avoid winding up as a foreign missionary . . .
- Ignore Jesus' request in John 4:35 that we take a long, hard look at the
fields. Seeing the needs of people can be depressing and very unsettling. It could lead to
genuine missionary concern.
John 4:35 "Do you not say, `Four months more and then the
harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (More
on John 4:35 Other
Bible passages on missions)
- Focus your energies on socially legitimate targets. Go after a bigger salary. Focus
on getting a job promotion, a bigger home, a more luxurious car, or future financial security.
Along the way, run up some big credit card debts.
- Get married to somebody who thinks the "Great
Commission" is what your employer gives you after you make a big sale. After
marriage, embrace the socially-accepted norms of settling down, establishing a respectable
career trajectory and raising a picture-perfect family.
- Stay away from missionaries. Their testimonies can be disturbing. The situations
they describe will distract you from embracing whole-heartedly the materialistic lifestyle of your
- If you happen to think about a mission calling, restrict your attention to countries where
it's impossible to openly do missionary work. Think only about North Korea, Saudi Arabia,
China and other similar countries as being completely walled off from any Gospel witness.
Forget the vast areas of our globe open to missionaries. Never, never listen to talk about
creative access countries.
- Think how bad a missionary you would be based on your own past failures. It is
unreasonable to expect you will ever be any better. Don't even think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter or Mark, all of whom had to overcome serious
more on Jonah | e-book on
- Always imagine missionaries as talented, super-spiritual people who stand on lofty
pedestals. Maintaining this image of missionaries will heighten your own sense of
inadequacy. Convincing yourself that God does not use
ordinary people as missionaries will smother any guilt you may feel about refusing to
even listen for a missionary call from God.
- Agree with the people who tell you that you are indispensable where you are. Listen
when they tell you that your local church or home country can't do without you. [ Apple pickers parable ]
- Worry incessantly about money. [ simple
- If you still feel you must go, go out right away without any preparation or training.
You'll soon be home again and no one can ever blame you for not trying!
Inspired by Stewart Dinnen's list in How are you doing?
(Bromley: STL Books)
"I must put God and His vision ahead
of my personal checklist"
Fullerton, former director, Nazarene Youth International
Pledge to work toward Great Commission fulfillment
Count me in, Lord
Would you sign this?
"I believe that God's command to take the Gospel message to all peoples
applies to every Christian.
"Therefore, I pledge myself to do whatever God asks of me to fulfill the
Great Commission articulated in Matthew 28:19-20.
- "I understand this will likely mean praying regularly for those peoples who have not yet
- "I understand this will likely mean sacrificially giving money to support missions.
- "I understand it may mean going myself as a missionary.
"Whatever it means, I am saying 'yes' to all of it."
" It is fine to be aware of the need for global evangelization and to have statistics at
the ready to discuss the millions of people across the globe who are as yet unreached by the
gospel. However, God does not call the church to be a fount of information. God calls the church
to be an agent for global evangelization and the redemption of the world." -- LeAnn T.,
Northwest Nazarene University student
-- Howard Culbertson,
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Nazarene Missions International resources