How to avoid becoming a missionary

"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 . . .

  1. Ignore Jesus' request in John 4:35 that we take a long, hard look at the fields. Seeing people's needs 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stay away from missionaries. Their testimonies can be disturbing. The situations they describe will distract you from embracing wholeheartedly the materialistic lifestyle of your home country.
  5. If you happen to think about a mission calling, restrict your attention to countries where it's impossible to openly do Christian missionary work. Think only about North Korea, SaudiArabia, 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.
  6. 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 failures. [ more on Jonah | e-book on Jonah ]
  7. 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.
  8. 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 ]
  9. Worry incessantly about money. [ simple lifestyle ]
  10. 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 will 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" 
    — Fred 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.

"Whatever it means, I am saying 'yes' to all of it."

signatures of several people

" 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

What Do People Think of When They Hear "World Evangelism"?

What words pop into people's minds when they hear or read the words "world evangelism"? Here are fifteen possibilities:

  1. Missionary
  2. Gospel
  3. New Converts
  4. Preaching
  5. Bible
  6. Faith
  7. Discipleship
  8. Salvation
  9. Outreach
  10. Witnessing
  11. Culture
  12. <
  13. Prayer
  14. Great Commission
  15. Love
  16. <
  17. Transformation

    -- Howard Culbertson,

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