WHO IS A MISSIONARY?
UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC THEOLOGY OF MISSIONS-PART TWOSince 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…)

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…)


 

“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” ( Mark 11:13 – 14).
Looking from the method of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are basic steps to preparing people to accomplish His missions in whatever area of involvement. Mark recorded in the passage above some of the steps that the Master and our Lord Jesus Christ took in preparing men for his enormous task (Missions).
 
  1. 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.  
 
  1. 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.
 
  1. 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.
God bless you.
Matthew Olorunnaiye

 

 
 
WHO IS A MISSIONARY?
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:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Israel as a nation was also called during this era: “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites” (Exodus 19:6). God the Son was the sender of missionaries during the gospel period or the Pre-Pentecostal period and the call was specifically to the disciples who were also referred to as ‘Apostles’ from which the word missionaries emanated, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18)
Since the Apostolic or the Post-Pentecostal era, the responsibility of the sender shifted to God the Holy Spirit whose target became the church. The Holy Spirit calls the church today either as a group or individual to fulfill God’s missionary mandate.
“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:1-3).
 
 
WHO IS A MISSIONARY SENDER?
A missionary sender is simply an individual or a group that facilitates the fulfillment of God’s missionary mandate upon an individual or a group through spiritual and physical supports. It is God that calls and sends a missionary but He also needs men as co-senders. They are people who release the missionaries into their mandate through their prayers, financial, material and moral support. In the case of Abraham, his father, Terah, was the only person who was involved in his call, the prophets and priests served to help Israel fulfill her mission mandate. The church served as co-sender with God to help the Apostles fulfill their missionary call during the apostolic era. Today, the concept of co-sender’ with God in missionary task has become more developed and well structured in modern missions. Local churches act as ‘senders’, individual believers or group of believers act as senders, family members and sending organization act as senders and so on. It is this concept that brings about the fact that every believer is a missionary, either you are called to go as a missionary or called to serve as a co-sender with God.
 
REACHING THE UNREACHED
The concept of unreached people is very fundamental in the modern day missionary work. Unreached people is defined as any group within which there is no indigenous community of  Bible believers able to evangelize this people group without  help or support from outside. An Unreached people group has an insignificant percentage of Christian evangelicals among them. We have majority of unreached peoples in Africa, and most of them are in the Islamic settings. There are still some unreached people in the world today that do not have missionaries among them yet. How then can we say that we have finished the task and how can we expect the Lord to return. The task is ‘to make disciples of all nations’, which means to raise and nurture believers among every tribe. We must speed up the fulfillment of our missionary task for we cannot expect the Master to come, until the whole world has heard the Good News.
 
God bless you,
Matthew Olorunnaiye.


 
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 resources to advance the work of missions.
 
THE BIBLE AND MISSIONS:
The Bible is the foundation and basis for every doctrine on missions.  Missions is a demonstration of God’s love to humanity. The Bible reveals the magnificent, incomparable and unconditional love that God had for mankind right from the creation. This explains the great plan and purpose of God for humanity even before he was made differently from other creatures of God; from dust and in the image of God. God made man in His image so as to be able to relate with him and for man to represent and carry out God’s plan on earth.  It was for this purpose that the Almighty God gave man authority to rule and dominate on earth. Man was placed in the midst of abundance whereby he did not need to toil before getting his needs met. What a fantastic plan and privilege, God’s incomparable love which is the genesis of missions.
 
POST CREATION DIMENSION OF MISSION:
The Post creation dimension of God’s mission to humanity was very crucial in the sense that it was a response to a need. God intentionally initiated and exercised His mission towards man who in turn consciously accepts the offer based on choice. The two basic ingredients for Post Creation Dimension (PCD) of God’s mission towards man are: The fall of man and God’s provision for redemption.
 
1.      THE FALL OF MAN
 Man failed in his initial responsibility to keep his relationship with God through disobedience. The consequence of man’s disobedience to God was great. The immediate and first consequence of man’s sin of disobedience was a fall from God’s love into God’s judgment.  These were the ways in which God’s judgment ons man manifested.
 
1. They lost God’s given glory and began to seek for their own man-made glory; Gen. 3:7: “The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apron”.
2. They hid from the presence of God which implies a broken relationship; Gen. 3: 8 “and they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden”.
3. They were afraid as a result of guilt implying a break in fellowship and a loss of trust in each other, (Gen. 3:10-12).
It was since then that wickedness and its consequences began to multiply on earth (Genesis 4-11)
 
GOD’S PROVISION FOR MAN’S REDEMPTION:
The provision of God for man’s redemption is the other vital ingredient in God’s Post Creation Dimension (PCD) of His mission to humanity. God’s mission was to bring man to His original position in God’s relationship with man so that he can enjoy God’s abundant love again. This has been the basis and ultimate goal for missions at different ages.
 
MISSIONS IN DIFFERENT ERA:
After chapter 11 of Genesis, the Bible tells us the different efforts made by God from the Old Testament time till the time of Jesus Christ to accomplish the work of salvation for mankind.
 God did this through different people and groups of people at different times in the Bible days.
The word missions was not used in the Old Testament; neither was there a common name given to the people who carried out God’s plan of salvation to man at different times.
God spoke to these people in different ways, some of them heard God’s voice directly, while for some, God spoke to them through other people; while He led some through certain circumstances etc. But they all fulfilled God’s plan of salvation for man. They were not called missionaries but were called: Priest, Judges, Prophets and so on. As a result of missions evolution over the ages, today we have missions in its diversities and missionaries in their different operations.
God bless you, we shall talk further on this topic in the next article by God’s grace.
Matthew Olorunnaiye

 

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

Matthew Olorunnaiye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
“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 us
 
2.       “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
 
 

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Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:1-4)     
 
Jonah was the prophet who was first swallowed by a great fish before he obeyed God’s command to preach repentance to the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Jonah was not always a reluctant spokesman for the Lord. He is apparently the same prophet who predicted the remarkable expansion of Israel’s territory during the reign of Jeroboam II (ruled about 793 B.C. – 753 B.C;   Jonah, the son of Amittai, was from Gath Hepher, a town in Zebulun in the northern kingdom of Israel (taken and adapted from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
By divine election Israel was chosen as the people of God and by responsibility, they were called to establish the Lordship of the sovereign God among other nations. Israel for a long period took the advantage of their privilege as people of God and not their responsibility as God’s messenger to other nations. Israel was selfish and would not want other nations to identify with the true God, the God of the Bible. The nations around them were setting up idols as gods and were growing in all sorts of wickedness but Israel did not show any concern. The attitude of Jonah towards God’s call to go and preach righteousness to the people of Nineveh, explains the overall attitude of Israel towards the preaching of righteousness and God’s sovereignty to other nations.
 
1.      THE  WICKEDNESS OF THE NATIONS:
The nations and tribes are growing daily in wickedness and in enmity against God like it was with Nineveh in the time of Jonah. Sin and lawlessness are in a high increase in different parts of the world and there are lots of aggressions, hostility, hatred and deprivation against the children of God in this age .Why is the battle against God’s kingdom and righteousness becoming more and more fierce?  Many have attributed this to the evil of opposing religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddha etc, but what is happening in this age is beyond religion and also beyond the syndrome of civilisation and modernisation.  It can best be described as ‘Satan’s last battle’. Satan knows that his time is short, so he is fighting his last battle, to see that many people on earth follow his deceptive ways and suffer along with him. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1-2). In the face of this, the preaching of the gospel remains the major means to establish God’s righteousness on earth.
 
2.      THE RELUCTANT CHURCH:
The same way Israel was chosen by God, and called to preach righteousness to the wicked nations around them, and to promote the worship of Jehovah, the church has been chosen by grace and has been called with the responsibility of preaching and proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ to every nation on earth. The church is called to take the gospel to where it has not been preached and to people that have not heard it. The church like Israel often celebrates her position and privileges in Christ more than her mandate of preaching the gospel to the unsaved souls and unreached nations.
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands:  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:1,2 and 3). Many local churches are very zealous and are doing fantastic works in many areas today, but their zeal and commitments to preaching the gospel to the lost souls and unreached people have become cold. The church cannot afford to become indifferent to the unsaved souls and unreached people around her and still claim to be a true and a living church of Christ.
 
3.      THE RELUCTANT CHRISTIAN:
Every Chastain has been given a mandate to fulfil concerning the preaching of the gospel to the unsaved souls and unreached nations, but many like Jonah are running away from their mandate. The wickedness of the nations will continue be on the increase and the unreached will remain unreached until every Christian arise to the responsibility of making Christ known every where He is yet to be known. Whenever God gives us a mandate to fulfil, He looks for our willing heart rather than our ability or inability. God deserves our total obedience to whatever area He has called us in the work of advancing His kingdom.
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” (Galatians 1:15-16)
          Matthew Olorunnaiye
Please consult www.capromissions.org for a more detailed information on missions
 

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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)

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