Editorials: There is no ‘typical’ missionary

PUBLISHED ON 7 OCTOBER, 2016 BY

International (MNN) — When we think of missionaries and mission work, many of us get a specific picture in our minds of what that looks like. And yet, as times change, different trends arise in the mission field. One of the most notable trends is a movement towards native leadership training instead of relying on non-natives for things like church planting.

This has led to a whole new pattern. Joanna works with Pioneers USA. We’ve limited information about her for security purposes.

Photo courtesy of Pioneers via facebook.

She says, “One of the things we’re seeing, like so many other mission agencies, is just the incredible growth of the Global South Church in the current membership of Pioneers. We’ve seen just a massive influx from non-traditional sending countries, so places where they were obviously traditionally receiving places now becoming sending nations, and it’s just so exciting to see that.”

Did you get that? Countries where the West has been sending missionaries for centuries are now raising up their own mission field.

Joanna works in leadership development with Pioneers. Here she works on how to better resource leaders in cross-cultural situations. She views this as an area that has room for growth in the mission field. But also in her work, she gets to experience a unique perspective of what God is doing around the world.

“One of the things I find so compelling about working globally with Pioneers is […] it’s such a privilege to be a part of God’s greater story of what He’s doing around the world and what He desires to do — the ways He’s using people from every background.”

This brings up another thought that more and more people have started to realize, but something that has been true about God’s people since the beginning. There is no traditional missionary.

“It doesn’t have to be a particular gift set that equals ‘missionary’ — it’s been wonderful to see God using people according to the ways He’s gifted them in a variety of settings. That’s something we really celebrate.”

God has gifted each of us with different skills-- we may be talented in the arts, communication, technology, relationship building, leadership, and more.

She cites 1 Corinthians 12, a passage that talks about the Body of Christ being made up of individuals with a variety of talents, gifts, and purposes. We all have our place in that Body, but as Joanna says, it takes being responsive and obedient to God’s call to be effective.

When Joanna joined Pioneers, she felt called to work with a particular group of people Pioneers wasn’t working with at the time. They asked her to pray with them for a team to be assembled.

In a little over a year, God brought that team together.

No matter where we are stationed, there are people around us who don’t know Jesus. In that sense, we’re all missionaries. But sometimes God calls people to specific locations and to work with a specific ministry. If you feel like God is pricking your heart, start with prayer. Learn about the opportunities to serve with Pioneers here.

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