This post is the next installment on the topic of an effective missionary. An effective missionary has specific characteristics, characteristics that I want to have in my life. We have learned about a few, and today we continue with perhaps the most obvious characteristic of an effective missionary. Pleasing Jesus is his number one goal.
Becoming a missionary takes time and there are several stages before the missionary family ever plants a church. A family serves in their local church. God works in them and in time they share with the pastor their desire to go to the mission field. As the pastor and the family share this news with the church, the church family recognizes what God has done and they rejoice! From there, the family starts deputation. This time can last anywhere from 2 – 3 years, some may be on deputation for even longer. After traveling to different churches around the country (or at least around their region), God raises their support and they leave everything to go to the mission field, but that is not the end. The missionary family then sets up a house, and begins language school and cultural acquisition. This “parenthesis stage” should take around 2 years. The missionary family then may take a 3 month furlough before beginning their first term (this is recommended). Finally, the missionary family starts a church (which begins a whole new set of stages). Through all of this, an effective missionary must keep his priorities in line, and number one should be to please Jesus no matter the stage.
We started Faith Baptist Church in Lanús, Buenos Aires, Argentina. We have a theme for the church, “Todo se trata de Jesús”, it means “Everything is about Jesus” or “It is all about Jesus”. Everything we do should be to glorify Jesus. If that is our motive, everything else will fall in line. I want to see the church grow, I want to plant other churches, I want to see people saved. The important question is “Why?” If the answer is to be well known among my Baptist friends, or to please the churches that support us, or even to make my home church proud, then I have failed. I want to be an effective missionary and to to do so, I must make pleasing Jesus as my number one goal!
God spoke to Israel through many prophets. Some saw “great success” from the human perspective. Jonah went to Nineveh, and saw the whole city turn to God! Others did not see such results. Isaiah volunteered to be sent by God in Isaiah 6, and when he asked God how long he would prophesy, God told Him until they are judged (Isaiah 6:11-12). In other words, they were not going to repent. Jeremiah faithfully prophesied God’s message of judgement to a rebellious people while other “false prophets” preached a message of peace, Jeremiah prophesied that message until the city was burned! These men had one priority, to please God, and they did so!
I want to do everything I can to please Jesus, I want it to be my top priority, and I think you do too. Let’s make pleasing Jesus our number one goal! This is perhaps the most important characteristic of an effective missionary!