For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 1 Corinthians 9:16
Welcome, Young Believer!
Now that we've talked about what the Gospel is and what it means to Evangelize, it's time to talk about what it means to be a missionary. Often when we think about evangelism, the first type of person that comes to our minds is someone who travels to another nation or someone who starts a church. We even refer to Paul as the first missionary and the journeys he took in Acts as his missionary journeys. But what does that mean?
The word mission in this context was first used by the Jesuit Order in the 1590s. Originating from Latin it gave the picture of an act of sending, letting go, or setting at liberty. The idea was mostly used for a nation sending out an ambassador. Which when you think about it is a really cool way to think about sharing the Gospel. We know that we are now adopted as children of the King whose Kingdom is here but also yet to come. And our mission is to spread the good news to everyone who will listen! We are ambassadors for the King of Heaven!
Now every Christian is commissioned to spread the Gospel, but not all Christians are called like Paul or the Apostles to give up their homes and possessions to go into foreign towns and nations to preach the Gospel. It is that type of person with a specific calling that we're generally referring to when we call someone a missionary.
Supporting the work of missionaries is a very important part of a healthy Church. Whether it's simply in prayer or in monthly financial aid. If you're not called to go to the mission field yourself, prayerfully consider how you can best help serve this community. Think also of the families who travel to the mission field, what needs or challenges their spouses and/or children might face. Talk to your local church about how they are already involved in missions.
There are also short-term mission trips that churches often sponsor to take groups nearer to home where they work on community service projects, serve other churches, and share the Gospel.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38
In the future, as Equipped for the Kingdom grows, I would love to set up our own way to support or sponsor missionary ministries. It would fit very well under our practical application for living a Christian life with our actions and not just our words. If you have any ideas to share about how we might do this, leave them in the comments below!
If you have more questions about what it means to be a missionary please place those in the comments. We would also love to hear about the work you're seeing God do in your life! I also highly recommend, as always, that you find a mentor in the faith that will help to walk you through these issues as you grow in your faith. This is one journey you were never meant to take alone!