Missionaries, whether they are from an evangelical church in Dubai or a Presbyterian church in New York, share the same goal: to proclaim God’s message throughout the world. That, however, is an oversimplification, as being a missionary entails more than just flying to another land and knocking on every door or speaking in open places about the word of the Lord.
For a missionary to become successful, he has to keep in mind certain things to live by. Without them, he or she can’t become a shining beacon from which the message of The Cross springs forth. To name a few, here are seven.
Humility and Servanthood
Being a missionary means being a servant of both God and people, and being a servant means being humble. In fact, being humble is not a need that is limited to missionaries alone, but also to Christians, or even non-Christians – it’s that important of a virtue.
Without humility, it’s impossible to put God’s mission and the wants and needs of others first before your own desires. Without humility, a person would easily think that he or she is too great to serve both the Lord and men.
Learning the Culture…
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It’s not a biblical maxim, but it’s a common truth – when someone is in a different place, he or she should learn how to act and dress up according to what is understood and approved by the culture of the people who live there.
Failure in doing so could lead to misunderstanding and unintended disrespect, hindering the goal of spreading God’s word. On the other hand, if you learn how to respect and embrace their culture, they would show the same level of appreciation and acceptance for you and what you want to impart to them.
And the Language
Aside from learning the culture, the language of a particular place or country is also something a missionary should adopt. After all, if a missionary does not speak in the same language as the people he or she is sharing God’s word to, they won’t be able to understand
Other than the fact that it is an imperative to get God’s message across, adopting the language would also let you understand and be understood by the people, fostering a more efficient communication and helping you become a better servant and missionary.
Adapt to the Conditions
One of the greatest reasons why not a lot of people choose not to be missionaries is because of the usually harsh living conditions in the field they are being sent to. Therefore, those who either choose or accept the call should have already prepared themselves for the hardships they will face in a strange, difficult, and even hostile land.
However, that’s not always the case. There are many missionaries who fail to adapt, leaving them packing for home. And worse, there are others who bring the comforts of home with them, leading to an alienation of the missionaries from the plight of the people he or she should be ministering to.
Toughing it in a treacherous, foreign country means more than just a test of endurance; it’s a testament to your dedication to your mission, and an opportunity to share in the sufferings of the people and ultimately God.
While adapting to the culture and the conditions of the land, learning the language, and sharing God’s word are important, it’s not enough that you do these things for the sake of doing them. You have to be genuine; the things you do for the people – be it preaching the gospel or doing good deeds – should manifest the love and concern you have for them.
Have A Vision
Doing God’s work means having a plan for your missionary ministry in the long run, and these aims should coincide with both the appointed goals of God and the church you are representing. After all, what is supposed to be spiritual work is usually discredited if it is disorganized and bears no fruit.
Closeness to God
You can spread God’s message and do things that are in accordance to His will, but you will eventually lose steam if you stray away from Him. Without Him at the center of your life, missionary work can easily become tiresome. Therefore, no matter how spiritually strong you may be, never forget to pray – publicly or privately, read the Bible, and thanking and glorifying God in everything you do.
It’s never an easy task to become a missionary. However, with God’s love and guidance, a genuine concern for the people, knowledge in the Scripture, and dedication in the ministry, the mission field can and will become fruitful, fulfilling, and pleasing to the Lord.