Defining the Missionary

A missionary is a person who in response to God’s calls and gifting, leaves his or her comfort zone and crosses cultural, geographic or other barriers to proclaim the gospel and live out a Christian witness in obedience to the Great Commission.

It is through the Sovereignty of God that men, women and children are born again. As Christians we are commanded by scripture to pray to the Lord in order that He might prepare the hearts of people to have faith in Jesus Christ.  (Acts 13:48)

1)   Biblical View of Reaching People and building bridges (John 4)The clearest example of reaching people and crossing cultural barriers in order to share the gospel is found in John Chapter 4.

This episode represents the first instance of cross-cultural evangelism. Jesus’ love for mankind involves no boundaries as He reaches out to a woman who was a social outcast.  The word needed is the key to understanding this conversion experience. Jesus purposely travelled a more direct route in order to reveal His messiahship to this one individual. He intentionally crossed cultural barriers in order to do it. (The Northern 10 tribes were led away into captivity leaving behind a group that eventually intermingled with non-Jews. Tension developed between the Jews who returned from captivity and the Samaritans) the cultural tensions between both groups led each faction to avoid contact as much as possible. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24) Jesus spiritually determined that she needed to be born again and accepted into the family of God. Jesus intentionally crossed cultural boundaries and social customs by speaking to this Samaritan. Jewish regulations restricted a “rabbi” or religious leader from speaking to women of ill-repute. His willingness to break cultural restriction allowed Him to transition from the physical discussion of water to sustain life to a spiritual object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation. In her mind according to verse 15 she was interested in a well that would keep her from making frequent trips but Jesus was revealing that He would like to offer spiritual cleansing, spiritual life, and transforming power. Jesus would eventually identify Himself as “I Am” and His impact on the woman would lead her to witness to the very people she avoided.  The people were so impressed by her witness that they came to see for themselves and the whole city was saved.

2)   Started small groups: In this chapter we see a clear example of small groups developing as a result of individuals hearing the gospel. (Rom 10:13) This chapter contains a list of unknown people who after having heard the gospel formed the first church of Philippi.  Paul encountered his first convert named Lydia at the river side. Due to the lack of Jewish men who were heads of households no synagogue had been established.  Because the Lord had already prepared Lydia’s heart to receive the gospel (Matt 13) she welcomed the missionary team into her home. His next convert would be a girl with a demonic spirit that supposedly could predict the future.  Paul would cast out these demons and she too would believe on the name of the Lord. After being imprisoned for being a Jew (Paul and Silas) and proclaim a religion not sanctioned by the state. It was in prison that Paul and Silas met the Philippians jailer and led both he and his family to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul being a Roman citizen was released by the magistrates and officially began the first church meeting in Lydia’s house. It is here that this small group made up of new converts began being disciple.  (Discipleship includes Teaching, Fellowship, Worship, Communion, and Praise) Some ten years later Paul would write to this now established Philippians church commending the saints, deacons, and overseers for their participation in the gospel.

3)   Identify and equip leaders – It is the Sovereignty of God that assigns places of spiritual ministry and leadership in His sovereign will. Jesus gives us the best example of identifying leaders and equipping them for service.  “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people” (I Samuel 13:14)  Jesus begins His public ministry by calling men who have first practiced the discipline of seeking first the kingdom of God. The gospel of John records that Andrew was one of two men (Simon Peter) that were followers of John the Baptist and heard Jesus speak. Andrew along with the second man were instructed by John the Baptist to follow Jesus because He was the One in which the Spirit of God rested upon. That same commitment to the Lord is demonstrated by Nathaniel under the fig tree. Jesus compliments him for being an Israelite in who is no guile. During His 3 ½ years of ministry Jesus used this time to mature the men that He called by teaching them to be servants. (John 13) “But it not so among you but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mark 10:43) God confirmed their leadership role by allowing the Spirit of God to work through them. (Matt 10:1, 8, 20) Scripture records that when God finds a person qualified to lead, He anoints that person with the Holy Spirit and calls him or her to a special ministry. (Acts 9:17; 22:21)

4)   Take what they learn and share through writingsThe apostle Paul is a primary example of a person sharing their personal experiences through writings. For example, he wrote what is known as ‘Pastoral Epistles’ to Timothy and Titus. The two epistles written to Timothy are rich in doctrinal content pertinent to the Christian life, especially as it relates to the Ephesus church. The apostle Paul writing to his protégé in order to instruct him on how to deal with practical problems that he will face as a leader of Gods people. I Timothy was written in order to give Timothy needed instructions based on Paul’s great experience and revelations from the Lord.

  1. Enforce the teaching of sound doctrine
  2. Meetings are conducted orderly and scripturally
  3. Church officers are sufficiently qualified and that they are motivated by spiritual considerations rather than worldly prestige or gain
  4. Warn of the dangers of false teacher
  5. Letter of encouragement

As an apostolic representative Timothy exercised the guidance and counseling ministry that Paul would have performed had he been present. Timothy was Paul’s official delegate to assist the Ephesians church with its officials in conducting affairs in the proper manner.

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About Robin Bickerstaff Glover
I am a born-again Christian who loves being mom to four precious daughters. In addition to writing, I am also a homeschool teacher, and a Independent Project Researcher. I am married to Steven and together he and I are forever looking for adventure! My passions include: writing, singing, theater and of course glorifying Christ in all I do.

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