Friday, January 25

Missionary quotes

Ken Sorrell shares some quotes from missionaries attending the Global Training Conference. The bi-annual event is a time to hear and share best practices and ideas related to training missionaries around the world.

  • The most dangerous time in a missionary's life is when they become competent.
  • Living organisms grow, but so does cancer.
  • Faith is contagious, but so is fear.
  • Missionaries are busy, not lazy, but what are they busy doing?
  • It is easier to replace a flame than the pilot.
  • Two questions difficult for many missionaries to answer and maintain their legitimacy for being on the field. Why are you here? Where does your pay come from?
  • Most Christians do not know how to mingle among lost people. Foray evangelism is seldom an effective method of winning people to Christ.
  • We do not find truth on the web, but in Scripture.
  • Always be faithful to do what you know.
  • Don't ever make the excuse that God cannot nor does not want to reach your people group.
  • The responsibility of communication lies with the presenter not the listener.
  • Learning is change. If you are not changing, then you are not learning.
  • The credibility of the message is found in the credibility of the messenger. (or not)
  • Leadership is being responsible for what you would have been against if you had only known it was going on.


Rhea said...


This doesn't really apply to this post, but I wanted to show you a blog that I ran across:

His two latest post looking at the idea of one guy (or I guess gal) standing up in front of "the church" and preaching a sermon, with really no interaction between the speaker and the crowd. It just reminded me of what you guys are doing in the house churches. I thought that you would enjoy it. I found it particularly interesting what he had to say about PowerPoint. I used to always think that using PowerPoint, in a way, legitimized a sermon.

Mark M said...

Guy, that’s a great list of quotes--definitely worth pondering. The first one was the best to me. To make it more personal (since I’m not a missionary), I think of it as, “The most dangerous time in an elder’s life is when he becomes competent.” Besides keeping me on my knees seeking the Lord’s continual enablement for the task, it also helps me to feel the freedom to continue serving even when I feel incompetent.

Rhea, interesting link. Forgive me if I am stating the obvious... I think there should be room for all kinds of teaching in the church, including one-to-one, small groups, medium groups, and large groups. The larger the group size, the less interaction becomes practical. The traditional Sunday morning worship in a large group setting includes reading and teaching from Word, which will tend to be more one-way. There is nothing wrong with this, but the other kinds of teaching should also be taking place. Jesus himself, as well as the Apostles, taught in all these settings. Granted, Jesus did not have PowerPoint, but he did stoop down and write on the ground. Early PowerPoint? Just kidding! : )

I don’t have a problem with using PowerPoint if it really helps the communication. I certainly do not think it makes people stupid. However, in the hands of a poor teacher/communicator, it might make things worse. PowerPoint is just a tool in the communication/teaching process. If it does not help the brethren understand/learn, then it should be set aside. The way our preacher uses it, I have found it to help keep my attention from wandering, something that I struggle with.

On a related note: I think I understand the quote above that says, “We do not find truth on the web, but in Scripture.” But I’d like to point out, as with PowerPoint, the Web is simply a modern communication tool. You can find all sorts of information, including truth as well as the vilest evil. To prove my point, just look at www. and you will find truth. The only reason I point this out is because the quote singles out the web, but it is true of any source of information invented by man. The web is a wonderful modern invention that enables us to have this very conversation. Let’s use it to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Grace & peace to you both.

GuyMuse said...

Rhea and Mark,

Thanks for the link, Rhea. I did enjoy reading the article, but can also see Mark's point of view on the article.

Our reasons for shying away from many of the electronic helps, like PowerPoint presentations, are simply that for most of our people, these are not reproducible. They don't own computers, or have video projectors. While there is certainly nothing wrong with using tools to assist us, when those tools aren't equally accessible to those we work with, then we choose to not use them. While I come from a media background and love all types of media, we do not use laptops, PowerPoint presentations, etc. in our teaching/training because 99% of those we work with do not have the same access to these same tools . We don't want to give the false impression that unless one has these tools, they cannot do the work. So we model methods that are readily reproducible by the people. This consists in mainly xerox copies of materials, $1-$2 training manuals, audio CD's and an occasional $2 DVD--all of which are readily available and reproducible by the vast majority of people we work with.

Mark, thanks for your observations about the quotes. Many of these spoke to me as well.

Kevin, Somewhere in South America said...

Greetings from somewhere in south[ern] Mississippi! Two things are going down that is novel to us: it's cold and it's wet. Living in a desert with fairly constant temps and no rainfall makes for dull weather-talk.

I never have met a competent missionary! Don't take that wrong; most of them I know are humble enough they recognize that only God can do what needs to be done where they are.

Thanks for a good post.


GuyMuse said...


I have never met a competent missionary either. I would probably modify the statement to say,

"The most dangerous time in a missionary's life is when they THINK they are becoming competent."

Just about the time any of us begins to think we might be getting a grasp on our situation, our cart of apples gets overturned. We then find ourselves back at square one, scratching our heads, wondering what is going on? Being a missionary is a life-long learning experience. It is in the process of moving towards competency that most of our work and ministry are carried out.

Another quote than seems right on target is...

"Missionaries are busy, not lazy, but what are they busy doing?"

Many of us are good at staying busy, but is "busy" what we should be about? Staying busy helps us feel good about ourselves, but the longer we are here, the more I am beginning to see that we need to carefully examine where our time is going, and what kinds of things are getting our time. One can only do so much, and doing the right things is more important than running around busy all the time.

Bryan Riley said...

The credibility of the message is found in the credibility of the messenger. (or not)

which is why we must only carry His message, not our own.

GuyMuse said...


Asi es. We must be sure we are proclaiming HIS message and not our own. How are things coming along with the travel arrangements?

Bryan Riley said...

We have made the drive to Kansas City (about 4 hours one way) to get our biometric scans taken. We are awaiting new letters from our host in England and will send those off with our passports as soon as we get them to L.A. We hope that all will be approved by Feb 14th, as that is when we have scheduled our return flights!

Pray for that! thank you for asking!