10 Reasons NOT to become a missionary.

Recently a co-worker on home assignment in America for a year sent out a survey to missionaries asking the question.  What are ten reasons NOT to become a missionary.  He was going to use this as material to help him in a course he is going to teach at Moody Bible Institute.    I thought I’d share my response here for those who are interested.

  1. To prove something to yourself, God or anyone else.
  2. Because you fear you wouldn’t ‘cut it’ in ministry at home.
  3. To learn how to share your faith.  *You need to already be able to do this where you are.
  4. Because you secretly want to have an audience watching your ministry.
  5. Because you think you’ll somehow magically be a better person when you step off the plane in a new land.
  6. Because you love hurting people.  *You have to, but if this is your only and main motivation your love will dry up.
  7. To test out if your faith is genuine.
  8. For a life of adventure and risk.  *It will help to have a little of this in you, but it can’t be your main motivation!
  9. If you think you have everything to teach and nothing to learn. *You gotta pack flexibility, humility and an attitude of a lifelong learner on the mission field.
  10. If you think you have everything to learn and little to nothing to share.  *Know what you believe, and have some fire in your bones please, or you really are wasting a lot of peoples time and resources, this isn’t about you just collecting exciting experiences and learning for your own sake.

3 thoughts on “10 Reasons NOT to become a missionary.

    1. Hey Dan, sure, I’ll try to clear that one up more. When I was a new christian, I had the opportunity to be discipled by a lot of different folks, one of them, a dear brother who is now a missionary in Japan, worked at our high school doing a ministry that comes out of campus crusade, and so we would get involved in various ways of trying to give people an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel, something that wasn’t particularly a burning desire at church (and often isn’t).

      It was through that painful process of dying to myself to speak with people about the Lord, who I did not know that I learned the lesson that I had to learn to do this service unto God, and not out of a love for people primarily. God would bring a love for those people into my heart over time, but it could never be my only motivation, and I knew that because I couldn’t fake it. When I realized this I was free in a new way to share about how awesome God is with others, without trying to load on some fake interest in them (not that i was uninterested in them) but out of a deep, deep love for God and desire to make him famous.

      Recently Eric Metexas posted a great video on a similar idea, that when we share about God, are we sharing something beautiful or are we just trying to change someone? Because people can tell what is primary to us.

      One more thing that may help in philly for 9 years I saw a lot of people work with a certain groups in kensington, with a love for the hurting their. They were not encouraged to stoke what love they had for God very much, they were taught to mainly put the gas on the love they had for man, as the way they would be ‘jesus’ to others in word in deed.

      Someone who things I don’t care about deed ministries doesn’t know me well, but I was heart crushed to watch several of these young folks over the span of a few years, grow disillusioned. The same thing can happen on the mission field and i’ve seen it there as well. Because when you make your life about loving hurting people primarily you end up having to live by sight and not by faith. You become inevitable disillusioned and burnt out when you don’t see the transformation of a community or whatever you were working for in 10 years. But when you live out of the reality and narrative of God who redeems souls, that have a great weight of glory, who Angels rejoice when they repent, and when you live even more out of the reality that every thing you do is before the face of your Father in heaven.. you will have a strength to dive into the most apparently desperate situations, and even gladly through your life away for it, because you know this life is not all there is.

  1. To be clear I don’t think every one who goes out on missions needs to have the gift or a fruitful ministry of evangelism. (unless you are going to principally to evangelize or plant churches) But you can’t be afraid of it either. I was always the guy who was more fruitful teachings others evangelism, many who needed that push and than became more effective and fruitful than I ever was

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