What Does a Missionary Do?

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by Andy Comer

I admire missionaries. The sacrifice they make to carry the gospel to the remotest parts of the earth is wonderful. Though when you talk with them, they don’t call it a sacrifice; they call it a privilege. Missionaries honestly believe the mission is more important than accommodation.

I’ll admit. I tend to think of missionaries as the people who move to a remote village somewhere to introduce a tribe to Jesus. That’s certainly true, but it’s only a tiny part. My small-minded view of missionaries was recently blown out of the water when I came across this profound definition of missionary.

Missionary – one who is sent on a mission.

Pretty profound eh? You see, by this definition, you and I are missionaries. We are missionaries because we have been sent on a mission. Jesus commissions us to “go and make disciples…” The prefix “co-“ means “to join in.” We have an invitation from Jesus to join Him in His mission of making disciples in all the earth!  What an invitation!

Now if you want to take Jesus seriously, there are three things that every missionary must do.

1. LEAVE.

Living as a missionary means you must first leave your current environment. It’s impossible to stay where you are and live on mission. Leaving doesn’t mean you have to move to China, but it does mean you have to leave your comfort and security.

Yes, for some, that means moving across the world. For others, it means moving across the nation. Maybe for you, it just means leaving your home and walking across the street.  Maybe it means leaving your cubicle and walking down the hall. Maybe it means leaving your neighborhood and driving across town. Wherever God is specifically calling you, living on mission demands you leave your current environment.

 2. EMBRACE.

The only prerequisite for reaching a people group is loving that people group. What “subculture” do you have a passion to reach? Think beyond nationality. Think about a group of people you connect with and have a God-inspired passion to reach: teenagers; single moms; single dads; business professionals; motorcyclist, cowboys, senior adults, etc.

Identify that subculture and embrace them. Fall in love with that particular group—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

3. INVADE.

Some Christian’s missional strategy is to evade. They put up walls around their lives to avoid being “contaminated” by the “evil” culture. They hide. It’s a great strategy to avoid a salesman, but horrible strategy of living on mission.

Others go to the opposite extreme and pervade. They attack the culture. They’re a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal, but they don’t have love.

To invade the culture is to influence the culture. It’s being able to live life along side others without being influenced yourself. It’s intentional and it’s missional.

Following the Example:

Leaving, embracing and invading is exactly what Jesus did. He left heaven; embraced the downcast, poor, sick, and lame; and He invaded the world with His message of redemption.

Perhaps these 3 steps oversimplifies what it means to live on mission. However, it does give you a place to start. No more excuses. What are you waiting on? You have the invitation. Go and live on mission.

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