Wednesday, March 24

10 ways to avoid becoming a missionary

Adapted from 10 Ways to avoid becoming a missionary

1. Ignore Jesus' request in John 4:35 that we take a long hard look at the fields. Seeing the needs of people can be depressing and very unsettling. It could lead to genuine missionary concern. (John 4:35 "Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."

2. Focus your energies on socially legitimate targets. Go after a bigger salary. Focus on getting a job promotion, a bigger home, a more luxurious car, or future financial security. Along the way, run up some big credit card debts.

3. Get married to somebody who thinks the "Great Commission" is what your employer gives you after you make a big sale. After marriage, embrace the socially accepted norms of settling down, establishing a respectable career trajectory and raising a picture-perfect family.

4. Stay away from missionaries. Their testimonies can be disturbing. The situations they describe will distract you from embracing whole-heartedly the materialistic lifestyle of your home country.

5. If you happen to think about missions, restrict your attention to countries where it's impossible to openly do missionary work. Think only about North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China and other closed countries. Forget the vast areas of our globe open to missionaries. Never, never listen to talk about creative access countries.

6. Think how bad a missionary you would be based on your own past failures. It is unreasonable to expect you will ever be any better. Don't even think about Moses, David, Jonah, Peter or Mark, all of whom overcame failures.

7. Always imagine missionaries as talented, super-spiritual people who stand on lofty pedestals. Maintaining this image of missionaries will heighten your own sense of inadequacy. Convincing yourself that God does not use ordinary people as missionaries will smother any guilt you may feel about refusing to even listen for a call from God.

8. Agree with the people who tell you that you are indispensable where you are. Listen when they tell you that your local church or home country can't do without you.

9. Worry incessantly about money.

10. If you still feel you must go, go out right away without any preparation or training. You'll soon be home again and no one can ever blame you for not trying!

8 comments:

Ministerio Cosas Nuevas Cosas Viejas said...

:) oh man...you've gone to meddlin' (for Jesus!)

Great post,

--Lee

PS. You know how many times Jesus said "whomsoever" will do a thing will receive such and such a reward, etc.? Are too many of us waiting for a call that has already gone out to all that would hear?

Ministerio Cosas Nuevas Cosas Viejas said...

Hello again Guy, this is somewhat related and I would love to hear what you think about things like tent-making and creative access missions.

Things like tent-making missions are becoming more and more popular (I know they have been for a while now). In this method, you work a secular job as a means to do spiritual work in places that are openly unfriendly to Christianity or as a means of relating better to the people. But there is here a false distinction between secular and sacred. I thought that even “secular” work was made sacred by its service to Christ. Not to mention the fact that all of the apostles left market-place ministries to do the work of preaching the gospel (Simson articulated this in his Starfish manifesto). I mean, are we smarter than God’s command to simply “go”?

I was at a meeting one time with an American “missionary” (he was a full-on evangelist!) to a Muslim country who had a relationship with the director of immigrations in the country. During a visit to the director’s office the missionary saw a number of files marked “denied” on them and they happened to be Americans that the missionary knew. The missionary asked why they were denied and the director said, Because I know they are not coming here to start a coffee shop – they want to hold Bible studies and preach Jesus, etc. Then the missionary responded, Well that’s what I do (preach the gospel), so why aren’t you kicking me out of the country? The director responded, I know you tell people about Jesus, but at least you are honest about it, and I respect you for it!

Is the call of God not more influential than the laws of men? Maybe we have exalted “relationships” beyond their biblical place and usurped the power of the Holy Spirit to move men’s hearts to Christ.

GuyMuse said...

MCNCV,

Thanks for stopping by again. I am probably not the best person to comment on what you share below. The reason being we have never personally had to deal with these kinds of issues on the field. Here in Ecuador we are openly "missionaries" and are granted permission to engage in these kinds of activities. Some feel we are coming close to the end of days where these kinds of freedoms will be greatly restricted. I know many have shared with me that they feel the whole house church movement we have been behind for the past ten years is God's way of preparing his church for tougher days ahead for the country politically. Anyway, I thought what you had to write was interesting.

Ministerio Cosas Nuevas Cosas Viejas said...

Hello Guy!

And I know that these responses of mine are dealing directly with this post, but thanks for letting me "pick your brain" on this subject of missions. And just to clarify, I think tent-making is very much a part of the missionary effort in our day and the days to come, I just have doubts about whether or not we need to box it up as a "method" and then try to mass produce it in our churches, seminaries, books, etc.

Thanks,

--Lee

Stephen M. Young II said...

What are some creative ways we can help our churches look at the fields? Both local and far away?

GuyMuse said...

Stephen,

The question you ask is similar to the one I recently posted to the "Church Planting Forum" made up of mostly IMB M's in Latin America. My question touched upon what kinds of things we can do to not only awaken the church to the "fields ripe unto harvest", but how to finance endeavors to bring in the harvest. While a lot of conversation flowed out of my original question, not much of practical value came out of the 20 or so responses from fellow M's. I agree with you, though, that part of our task is to help our national brothers to see beyond their Jerusalems to see their Judeas, Samarias, and ends of the earth. Just HOW we are supposed to accomplish that, I am another inquiring M!

Gabe said...

As the owner of a small insurance and financial services business, I can appreciate #3. For years I chased a "great commission" instead of advancing the Great Commission. I've never read a line that so succinctly describes my spiritual journey.

GuyMuse said...

Gabe,

Welcome to the M Blog, and thanks for the comment. I think all of us struggle to one degree or another with the "great commission" and its calling upon our lives. You have pegged the heart of it though by understanding that we can either pursue our own GC or His.