WHO IS A MISSIONARY?
UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS-PART TWO. Since the word missionary was not used in the Bible, different people have defined who a missionary is at different times based on the perspective of thinking. A missionary is called and sent by God with a specific mandate to a particular people. A missionary is called by God to take the gospel of the kingdom of God to people that have not received it. The Bible tells of different individuals and groups of people who were called at different times to fulfill a missionary mandate. In the Old Testament it was God the Father who played the role as sender of missionaries for example, Abraham was called by God as an individual: (more…)
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WHO IS A MISSIONARY?
UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS PART ONE,Mission, the major task of the church is widely spoken of by Christians today, but the understanding of the concept and the way it should be done differ from people to people and places to places. It is often very important to compare the general understanding of the church about mission with what the Bible teaches. The true concept about mission does not only help us to do it correctly but also to maximize the use of God’s given (more…)
- THE CALL: I have mentioned often times in some of my articles that every Christian is suppose to be involved in Missions. This means that, every Christians is called to missions but each person is called to do different things, this is where the issue of understanding the call of God is very important. ‘Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles’. As a Bible student you definitely have noticed that Jesus during His life time interacted very closely with different set of people, both men and women at different times and in different places. Apart from the works of healings, deliverance, miracles and so on that Jesus Christ did in the lives of most of them, many of them played very positive and significant roles in His ministry. They were all His disciples but He did not call all of them Apostles. The twelve disciples were the only one He called Apostles based on the nature of their calling – they were called and sent to places and people who have never heard the gospel. The Apostles were sent to pioneer the gospel message among the Jews and other people of other places of their time. That was a specific calling for a specific mandate. The call to be a missionary is a special call to specific people. An individual must hear God speaking to him to engage in a full time missionary work before taking such step. A Christian must be able to hear God clearly when God is speaking to Him especially when he or she is been called upon for a specific assignment.
- THE TRAINING: Mission is a spiritual venture, and God uses spiritual people to carry it out. Spiritual formation is the first and major training that is needed for a God – focus and productive missionary work. The Lord Jesus Christ called His disciples first and foremost to be with Him: ‘that they might be with him’. ‘To be with Him’ is a means of enrolling the 12 men in the School of Jesus Christ to learn His way of life and ministry. Despite the fact that the work was urgent and enormous, Jesus did not de-emphasize the importance of training neither did He send them in haste without appropriate preparations to equip them for the task. He took time to train and prepare His disciples before sending them out on mission. There are other technical training both formal and informal that are very important for missionary work but the spiritual formation supersedes them all. It is not sufficient to have a clear missionary call but we must have adequate spiritual, cross-cultural and other relevant trainings that will enhance our fruitfulness in ministry before going to the Mission Field. Also in the course of our service as missionaries we must equally make ourselves available to relevant trainings that will further equip us for greater effectiveness and fruitfulness in ministry.
- THE TASK: The summary of the missionary mandate is to go and make disciples of all nations. We have many and different areas of work in missions but all have the overall objective of making disciples of and for the Lord Jesus Christ. “designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach”. The Lord Jesus Christ sent the disciples out to preach. The disciples were called Apostles because they were sent out to preach. They could have just been called ‘disciples’ and not ‘Apostles’ if they were not sent out. Missionaries are not like other gospel workers, but they are missionaries because they do missionary works. The only way by which the unreached people of our time can be reached with the gospel of Christ is when men respond to their missionary calls, undergo appropriate trainings and do the work of a missionary.
Now I tell this parable. Simon and Mary were missionaries couple highly devoted to God’s service; they had three sons: Jacob, John and Samuel. One day the couple sat down with their three sons to ask what each of them would like to become in future. Jacob said, he would like to be a Medical Doctor, John said he would like to be a Pilot, while Samuel said he would like to be a Church Pastor. This couple was highly disappointed to hear that none of their children said he would like to be a missionary. They both turned to their three sons in their state of disappointment and said: “so none of you want to be a missionary like Dad and Mum”? Each of the children said: Yes! I would like to be a missionary, but not like Dad and Mum. Jacob said he would like to be a Medical Doctor, practice his profession fully, support mission financially and with his medical skill as much as possible whenever he is needed. John said, while working as a Pilot, he would support mission financially and equally help to ease missionaries’ journeys to mission fields as much as possible. Samuel said while serving as a church pastor, his church will be a missionary church, committed to praying and giving for missions in every area.
SERVING WITH YOUR PROFESSION:
This is a general saying and a truth about missions ‘everybody is called to be involved in mission, but not everybody is called into a full time missionary work’. Serving with your profession is another way you can also fulfill your mission mandate. Different areas of skills and professions are needed on the mission field, and it is possible for one to keep his or her job and still offer service on the mission fields where it is needed. There are places as well where it is difficult or impossible to work as a missionary without practicing your profession alongside. There is need for Medical Practitioners to help out solve medical issues on the mission fields, Teachers to help in education programs among the Unreached People, Administrators to serve with their skill as well, and so on.
MAKING YOUR CHURCH A MISSIONARY CHURCH:
The local church is a seedbed for mission work and mission growth. Mission growth in any generation is a reflection of church understanding and commitment to mission. Missionaries are disciples, nurtured and sent from their local church. People who pray and give for missions are equally nurtured and disciple in their local church. If pastors of local churches can understand and play their role in mission, missionary work will advance very fast. Making your church a missionary church by encouraging those who go as full time missionaries, those who pray and those who give are possible and wonderful ways you can play your role in mission.
EVERY ROLE IS IMPORTANT:
Serving as a full time missionary either on short or long term basis, reaching out to the spiritual and physical needs of serving missionaries and the needs of mission works, either on the field or office are all important. Spiritual and financial supports are both needed in every area and in every level in missions. Those who go and those who support are doing the same work pursuing the same goal, and no one is doing a better work than the other. Some people who support wish they are called to go as full time while some who are serving full time wish they are called to support. This is not supposed to be so; no one or role is superior above the other. It is important for each person to identify his or her role in mission and play it faithfully and joyfully. We are called to the work together, but each of us plays different roles and God demands faithfulness.
God bless you
“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord, is with us, why then is all this befallen us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, Did not the Lord brings us up out of Egypt? But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian. The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6: 12 – 14).The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord again, and He gave them into the hands of their enemies. The Midianites, Ammonites and other Eastern people oppressed Israel so greatly, they invaded their land, spoilt their crops and made life unbearable for them. The Israelites cried unto the Lord and He heard them and sent an Angel to give a word of hope to Gideon who He had chosen as their deliverer. Gideon could not believe the Lord was with Israel because of the difficult time the people were going through. He almost could not hear what God was saying to him personally concerning his call because of the situation of the people God was calling him to deliver. Have you ever been in a situation in which you found it very difficult to believe that God cares, or He still answers the prayers of His people? Gideon was in that situation. Gideon who was going to be a great judge and deliverer in Israel saw the sufferings and the oppression in the hands of the enemies as indications that God had forgotten the people (Israelites) He so much loved and cherished.1. “And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him”: It is always an awesome experience for any man who God decides to visit in a special way. There has never been a man who received God’s visitation and remained the same. When God visits a man, He changes his history, gives him a message and a vision or an assignment. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon while he was doing something that looked unspiritual in an unpopular place to commit a spiritual assignment to him. “…Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress…..” (Judges 6:11). Gideon had a lot of doubts in this encounter. At first, he could not believe it was an angel that appeared to him. Gideon may have imagined in his mind, how possible it was for an Angel to appear so casually to a poor man who was not in the temple worshipping or doing spiritual things but rather involved in a menial task. These calculations and analysis almost made Gideon miss God’s divine purpose for his life. Thank God for the Angel who was so patient with Gideon, even when he asked for signs to be sure it was really an Angel of God. The problem that could hinder the accomplishment of God’s purpose in His visitation in our lives is never with Him but with us2. “The Lord is with thee thou mighty man of valour”: There is nothing as precious and assuring as having God’s presence with us. Men of God who did exploit in the Bible had this common thing ‘The presence of God’,“The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…” (Genesis 39:2). It is the presence of the Lord that guarantees our prosperity in whatever we do in life either spiritual or physical. The presence of God carries victory, blessings, peace and so on. The Angel knew that the main thing that Gideon needed to succeed in the task that is about to be given him was the presence of God, so he assured him of God’s presence. It was a word to strengthen Gideon’s faith and prepare him for the task, though Gideon did not believe God was with him because of the situation of his people.“And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord, is with us, why then is all this befallen”.Gideon saw problems bigger than possibilities; he saw the past problems and not the present solutions. Gideon based his assessment on the general dealings of God with Israel, and not on the personal dealings of God with him. Gideon was behind the event of things as God had opened a new page in the history of Israel which Gideon was unaware of. The second thing that the Angel told Gideon was that he’s a mighty man of valour. “Oh! How can a man like me be a mighty man of valour?” that was Gideon’s answer. Gideon considered his family background and his status in the family and felt that the Angel must have made a mistake, to be calling him a mighty man of valour. The Lord assured Gideon that He was not only with him, but He will be with him. That was all that Gideon needed to deliver Israel.3. “Go in the strength you have”: Strength is the ability that enables us to work and achieve results. There are so many kinds of strengths: physical and spiritual, visible and invisible. Some strengths are natural talents, some are spiritual gifts, while some are acquired through training or labour. Everyone has strength in one area or the other. Beyond other purposes, strengths are to be used to serve and glorify God. The Angel told Gideon, that God had given enough strength to deliver Israel; God had given him enough strength for the task he was called to do. The Lord has called every one of us to play one role or the other, so as to advance His kingdom on earth, but some of us often complain of not having enough strength. Some people are called to be preachers, but they complain they have not been to any theological school, some are called to be Christian counselors, but they complain of not having adequate training. Mission work is one of kingdom tasks that people, who are called to it, often complain about. Those who are called to go sometimes complain about their family, those called to pray complain about feeble knees and those called to give complain about lack of finance. God says to you this day, “Go in the strength you have and play your role in cross cultural missions”. “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul” ( Deuteronomy 10:12).Matthew Olorunnaiye
THE LOCAL CHURCH AND GLOBAL MISSIONS-PART SEVEN. “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). (more…)
THE LOCAL CHURCH AND GLOBAL MISSIONS-PART SIX. The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20)