Tuesday, July 5

If you thought like a missionary...

Ernest Goodman has written a great post entitled If you thought like a missionary...

The word “church” would conjure images of people, not buildings.

Your plans for the year would be limited only by your creativity, not your available funds. You’d have a plan for what happens after you’re gone (a plan that could be implemented tomorrow).

You’d worry more about getting things right than being right. You’d know that every decision you make along the way has far-reaching implications for the work. Missionaries think about the long-term strategic consequences of decisions like establishing elders too soon, dividing up families for Bible study, and growing one large church vs. starting several smaller ones.

Church planting would be more than just starting a church and being its pastor; it would entail discipling indigenous leaders and pastoring through them.

You’d exegete your cultural context, not consume it. What you learn would inform what you do, because indigeneity would be a goal of your work.

You would love your city, but never quite feel comfortable in it. Something would always remind you that you are a stranger, pilgrim, and at best, an acceptable outsider.

Your church would understand that it’s only a part of what God is doing around the world. There’s a lot to learn from believers of other times and in other contexts. Global involvement cannot wait until local work is mature.

Your team would spend more time listening to the Holy Spirit than listening to you.

Your family’s active involvement would be vital to your ministry. Missionaries, at least the ones that last, include their spouse and children in building redemptive relationships.

The people you’re ministering to would have your mobile phone number. The real one.

Your stories would be current, first-person, and self-depreciating.

You would be keenly aware of the depth of your inadequacy, the dangers of the spiritual reality, and the blessing of God’s gracious provision.

You should become a missionary.


sattler said...

I like the list - especially the pilgrim assumptions. Why is it though, that we assume the missionary has a spouse? The greatest missionary was single.

Aussie John said...


That's information we all should have been helped to understand at the beginning of our Christian journey 50 years ago!

Hope some of the denominational "experts" take note!

GuyMuse said...

Sattler and John,

Much of what Ernest writes are easier said than done, but nonetheless worthy challenges we aspire to in our lives.

Strider said...

I agree wholeheartedly with all but one of these. My favorite is

Your team would spend more time listening to the Holy Spirit than listening to you.

I laughed out loud when I read it and hope and trust it is true on our team. The one I can't do however, is the mobile phone number. I don't have a mobile phone.

GuyMuse said...


There is a tension between "listening together to the Holy Spirit" and what each of us hears. But I agree with Ernest that we need to spend more time together seeking the Lord on issues instead of just talking and going round and round.