i’ve met my share of christians who are gung-ho about being a part of missions. and then i’ve met my share of christians who are so gung-ho about missions, they essentially tell everyone else who aren’t going into full-time missions that they’re rubbish and worldly-materialistic-selfloving pagans.
okay, not in those exact words, but that’s the general feeling i get after talking to them. and i already am a missionary. you can only imagine how “regular” christians feel after a conversation with them.
to these people, i say: cut the crap. if you’re so adamant about people living “missionally,” why don’t you apply to a missions organization and become a full-time missionary? oh, it’s because missionary organizations (those with a good screening process) will sniff you out like a cop dog on a high school locker.
stop making people feel bad. your name is not Holy Spirit.
being guilted into how to live missionally does not help someone actually live missionally. not to mention it makes people not want to talk to you because you just make them feel bad. no wonder people think missionaries are a bunch of bible-totin’-God-lovin’-all-we-talk-about-is-how-everyone-should-be-a-missionary people. whenever i’m back at home and trying to share with people at church about what the mission field is like, they’re always afraid i’m trying to make them become full-time missionaries overseas. that’s never the case. after all, there are ways to be a faithful part of the furthering of God’s kingdom without having to go overseas (not saying people should instantly rule out going, though). and those that are already living overseas (as expats) have other means of being involved with local missions even if their time does not allow them to physically serve in a local ministry.
anyway, all this to say, if you are (or know of) one of those people who lives in a foreign country and serves alongside the missionaries there, but are not actually a full-time missionary, don’t think that just because you take time out of your schedule to serve the poor or whathaveyou, you’re more “Christian” than everyone else.
you’re not. missionaries are not either.
we’re all just regular people, saved by the grace of God, and serving Him in a different country. yes, we’re excited about what God’s doing in the countries we serve in, and yes, there is always a need for more workers, but guilting people into coming (or taking whatever action) when they’re not ready to commit never ends well.
everyone has their specific place in the building of God’s global Church – some may go, some may send/give, some may pray, some may learn, some may mobilize, others may welcome, and some might do all these things. the point is that we christians live as obedient disciples of Christ who actively participate in what God’s doing around the world.
if you want to encourage people on ways to be involved with missions, be an effective mobilizer.
don’t push. pushers are jerks.
…unless you’re Ice-T and pushing 100% legit life out of your trunk and dope beat and lyrics.