What Makes a Missionary?

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?

from Missional Call

 

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!

from Missional Call

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!)

The Missional Handbook available now!

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??)

Jen :)

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.

I may be sharing this with any of these lovely blogs and here:

A Little R &R, Missional Call, Cornerstone Confessions, A Mama’s Story, My Joy-filled Life,

Finding Heaven Today, Wholehearted Home

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Great post! I’m currently reading the book “Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples” by Francis Chan and the chapter I read related to what you wrote here. Check it out when you get a chance :)

    • says

      Thanks for sharing with us! I have not read that particular book, but I’ve learned the ideas behind multiplication by discipleship before. It sounds like a book I would find interesting, too. :) The Missional Handbook mentioned in this post also discusses how mentorship/discipleship multiplies your efforts. My favorite resource for discipleship is The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus by John Cross (published by Goodseed). So, if you need a good creation to Christ resource, check that one out.
      Jen :)

  2. says

    We had an interesting sermon the other day, it was about how by being authentic and true in the ordinary interactions of life — we can have a profound impact on others without really realizing it. It is the little things in life that sometimes make a big difference.

  3. says

    Wonderful post, Jen. It is so true that God calls us all to be missionaries right where we are. He has shown me this vividly as my husband and I have been called to work with international students who attend the local college just 9 miles from our home. There are over 50 students from many different countries attending there, and by and large, most do not know Jesus. Simply showing them the love of Christ through meals in our home, attending their sports events, and showing an interest in their lives are ways we can be Jesus to them. It truly is foreign missions without ever leaving home!

  4. says

    Hi Jen! What a sweet reminder that God calls each of us to different mission fields and that sometimes they do not match what our plans were! By working on our God given missions right in our own homes who knows how many lives that will effect by raising children who love and serve the Lord! I have never felt the call for foreign missions but I have felt the call for God’s work in my home, church, and community! God Bless!

  5. says

    Now I have that song in my head – thanks a lot! Ha! Just Kidding :) I have fond memories of singing that in GA’s. I am interested in this book and love your thoughts here. “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.” Yeah…..I get this. I’ve seen myself fall into that trap and I want to fight against it with all my heart and His strength.

  6. says

    This is so true! My husband and I are in ministry at a Bible Camp. When we started, Zeke (the hubs) got a little disapproval from people- he was leaving a well-paying job and taking a huge pay cut to do *more* work and have *longer* hours. He once told me, “This isn’t a job, it’s a mission.” I would think it would be hard to keep a missional mindset when fixing toilets, but he does it!

    • says

      Well, bless him for being willing to not only fix toilets, but to also see it as an act of worship or ministry. Yes, I think it definitely counts as a mission!
      Jen :)

    • says

      I get that, Deanna. I think home life can often feel so ordinary and mundane (since much of it is repetitive) that we forget how important the home field is!
      Jen :)

  7. says

    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging review and for making the launch of The Missional Call successful and fun!! It was suuuuuch a blessing to read all of these comments and to see how so many have such a desire to work for the Lord. Wow – that totally made my day!!! You are such a blessing to me, Jen. Thank you

    • says

      You’re very welcome, Rosilind! It was a good learning experience for me, and I’m always happy to support something that furthers the cause of Missions!
      Jen :)

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