I posted an article about the biblical method for world missions. I will be taking a few posts to look at some of the biblical attributes of a missionary. This study will in no way be comprehensive. Missionaries are not a “cookie-cutter” sort. Everyone is different. This was true even in the biblical times as well. Even so, there are specific attributes that these “different” men all shared. There are some biblical attributes found in our New Testament missionaries that I strive for in my life. It is important in this study to note that these are not characteristics (or attributes) a man is born with, but are developed in men who follow God’s command to take the Gospel to the nations!
For this post, we will look first call our attention to the quintessential models of New Testament missions. These men serve as the ideal! They are a sort of paradigm for modern day missionaries to follow. Let’s briefly look at them…
- Paul: Paul is almost always the first person we turn our attention to in New Testament missions. He is regarded as the most influential in the early Christian church. Paul was an apostle, author, minister, teacher, and “tent-maker”. He was also a missionary! By stating Paul’s missionary status, we are making clear that he was a man-trainer and church-planter (after all, these two things are what missionaries do. See my earlier post). He took three missionary journeys to different cities where he engaged the lost with the Gospel of Jesus, started churches, and trained men.
- Barnabas: He and Paul were partners for the first missionary journey to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. He was a church leader who sought to see all peoples (Jews and Gentiles) to know Jesus. When Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles.
- Timothy: A third generation Christians who was Paul’s companion in many of his missionary endeavors. Paul called him “his own son in the faith”. He assisted in the planting of churches and training of men. Although there are not many details that we know of Timothy, Paul’s instruction to him gives us insight.
- Jesus: How can we search the New Testament Scriptures concerning missions and not place the strongest emphasis on the best missionary example? Jesus truly is the absolute greatest example of a New Testament missions. He came from another “country” (Heaven), He trained men and established His church, He not only put Himself on the same plain as the men He trained, but put Himself under them in serving them. He sent those same men He trained to do the same! He IS the pattern!
This will be an interesting study. What attributes do you think a missionary should have? What attributes did these men have? Join in on the study. Our job is twofold, glorify God and make His name known among all the nations!