I recently finished reading Rosilind Jukic’s new release The Missional Handbook, a handy guide for those considering a missionary lifestyle and even those simply interested in missions work. In it, the author addresses a key question that is often misunderstood: what makes someone a missionary?
I remember struggling with this question in my early years of college, when I was searching for God’s plan for my life. After my years spent as an MK (missionary kid) on the field of Papua New Guinea, I knew the urgent need for career missionaries and I felt a real burden for unreached people groups. So, of course, I assumed I would be an overseas missionary someday.
Oh, how the Lord has a way of changing our best-laid plans! Once I met my husband, I began to consider a different ministry, that of pastor’s wife. Even before we married, I wholeheartedly embraced the role of youth leader and helpmeet to my husband, who was a young youth minister. I found purpose and contentment in this role.
But then our first child came along and I was no longer as free to be involved with my husband’s ministry. Life became busy and more complicated, as it usually does after children. Suddenly, the role I thought I was meant for had to be put aside while I focused on raising our son. I began to feel like a bit of a failure since I wasn’t “serving the Lord” in the way I thought I should be, one of many undesired sacrifices I offered up in my attempt to earn the approval He freely gives!
Fast forward a year or two and we decided to take an extended break from full-time ministry. We had marital issues that needed tending to, as well as wounds from the past we both needed to deal with. It was a difficult time for both of us as we often felt like failures. We questioned God’s path for us, for our future.
It took me a few years, but slowly I began to learn the truth that Rosilind Jukic shares in The Missional Handbook – we can and should minister right where we are! We should all be involved in missionary work, whether it be in our homes, on our streets, in our churches, or overseas. Eventually, I began to see that mothering itself is a ministry, a mission field of sorts – we should be missionaries first in our own homes to the young minds we have been entrusted with!
So, if you are ever tempted to think, I’m just a mom – what can I possibly do?, recognize that as the voice of the Great Deceiver. He likes us to believe that ministry work only “counts” if titles and positions like missionary or pastor are involved. He likes to make investing in others more about us and less about Christ. He wants us apathetic and discouraged and feeling like failures. Because then we are paralyzed to do the work God has set before us.
If you desire to reach others with the Good News, begin right where you are!
Ask the Lord to show you those He has put in your path. Ask Him to bring you someone to mentor or disciple (and then be ready for a possibly surprising answer!). Or perhaps you are mother to young children? Begin right there in your home. Be intentional about teaching your children biblical truth (don’t just leave it to the church). Be intentional about teaching them the importance of missions, too!
It’s never too late to start being a missionary.
In fact, you probably already are one whether you realize it or not.
For more information on modern missions work, be sure to check out Rosilind’s new book, The Missional Handbook (buy before Wednesday when the sale ends!)
In this book, you’ll find first-hand experiences of missionaries entering overseas fields and tips for potential missionaries. You’ll also find Jukic’s unique ideas on how missions work needs to be modernized to be more effective, and practical ways that readers can become more missions-minded right in their own countries. I especially enjoyed her section on “uncommon” missionaries, the question and answer section, and the personal accounts she includes in the bonus section of her book. You’ll even find a short story from me and one from another MK!
So, be a missionary every da-ay! (Anyone else know that song??)
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy our Much Ado About Missions series – practical resources and methods for teaching children the importance of reaching the unreached.
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