What is a missionary?

1 comment
Church, Missions, Vision

What is my occupation? US forms would say unemployed or religious worker. My Japanese Visa says religious activities. My local church says missionary. I am not sure what to say. If I say I am unemployed, then I am treated like the scum of society. If I say religious worker, I am considered unintelligent and alien. If I say missionary, no one has any idea of what I am talking about because it is too foreign. So, how should I reply? What should I say?

John the Baptist could quote from the scriptures who he was and why he was there. Jesus, knew who he was and the purpose he was sent to accomplish. Paul, during his ministry shared what his call was and what he was there to accomplish. I feel like we need to address these things in the church.

The first and only sermon I have ever given was in Olongapo in the Philippines. After landing in Manila and staying the night, we took busses to the YWAM base in Olongapo. As soon as we got there, we did introductions and they asked for one of us to lead teaching and prayer first thing the next morning. I chuckled and under my breath said, “No way.” Then I heard God say do it, so I timidly and reluctantly volunteered. I prayed about what to talk about. nothing came. I couldn’t focus or think straight, then exactly five minutes before the meeting, it all started flowing. I even showed up late, because I was trying to write everything done. The message was this:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. How do we get there?
  3. Why?

Where are we going? Without vision, we sit in apathy. If we don’t have something worth fighting for or climbing towards, we give up. No amount of motivation will change this. But, our God gives clear vision. He tells us, like he did to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He guided his people through Moses, he lead through Joshua, and he armies through Gideon. Each time, God intervened in people’s lives and gave them a direction and purpose. So, where are you going? Ask God, he will tell you.

How do we get there? Through faith. If God calls you to something, and faith isn’t required it probably isn’t God. The road is straight and narrow, but it traverses mountains and descends into valleys. It crosses oceans and guides over frozen ground. God will call you to go do things that are hard. Things that are crazy. Things that are impossible, and it is your chose to go or not. Like the Israelites crossing the Jordan or Paul going to back to Jerusalem, knowing chains awaited him. Or even more crazy, Christ going to the cross. If God did not even spare his own son for your sake, what else will he not give for you? And what else can he rightfully require of you? Like Jeremiah. Like Daniel. Like Simon Peter.

The last question is by far the most important. It is so simple, but I guaranty many christians you run into cannot answer it because the do not know the Word and were not discipled. Why? I won’t answer this for you, this one is for you to look up. Ask God, because he loves to reveal his heart to those who really love him.

This brings me back to my original purpose. I have heard it said that every Christian is a missionary. I believe this is only partially true. Every Christian has a mission. The Great Commission. However, only some answer this call. These faithful can be called missionaries. There is however a differentiation. The modern context for the world missionary refers to those who leave there home to follow God into an new place like Abram, with the purpose of growing the Kingdom of God in a culture different from their own. So occupationally, I am a missionary. This does not define me though. I am first and for most a child of God. Out of intimacy and complete surrender to God, we can let God transform the world through us. Only through relationship, not striving, can works transform lives. If you want these questions answered, you must go to the source. Your creator. He will guide you and instruct you. And give you faith. You are loved.


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Artist with a heart for Japan. Student at SPU. Blogger and Nomad. Formally with YWAM Tokyo. Portfolio @ arxyuki.com - Blog @ zeroe4.me

One thought on “What is a missionary?”

  1. Wonderful post! I especially appreciate your last paragraph… just about every sentence of that paragraph, actually.

    I’d like to see our churches talk about the Great Commission more, and about how to go about it practically, whether as an occupational missionary or a mission in our daily lives. At my college, there’s a class that’s basically an introduction to the history, theology, etc. of world missions. I won’t forget the importance of “making disciples who make disciples who make disciples…” I wish all Christians, not just those in missions organizations and Bible colleges, were better exposed to this teaching, and to training in the practical application. Jesus stated this command in both certain and inspirational terms, and obeying it is part of our relationship with Him, whether we go to the front lines as occupational missionaries (thank you for being faithful to that call!), or make disciples here at home, or form a support team. He has a passion for loving people and saving souls. When we love Jesus, and feel His love for us, I think we can’t help but start to share His passion; I see it in your words. I’d like to see that passion more widespread, in my personal life and in the Church.


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