How does a Christian missionary define success on the mission field?
We all start here: as believers in Christ, we know our highest level of achievement comes from our obedience to “go” and the obedience to “follow” from there. Certainly, our ultimate fulfillment and highest achievement in anything comes from obedience to the Lord. However, if we are being honest, as Christian missionaries, there are so many other metrics that we and others look to in order to gauge our success and fulfillment.
Why do missionaries feel this way?
Missionaries are constantly asked, “Who have you shared the Lord with recently?” “How many were in attendance this week?” “What fruit are you bearing in your ministry?” and so on. Christian missionaries can easily embrace and live under the heavy burden of having to meet not only inward but outward expectations as well. With this comes a heavy focus on numbers and “results.” With this high premium put on ministry output, a missionary’s well-being can often be an afterthought. Over time, as we are all learning, that can take a serious toll on the individual, marriage, and family.
While ministry workaholism and sacrificing your family may have been normal in the missions of the past, we now know it’s not ok today. Today, we know a healthy missionary with a healthy marriage and family is much more likely to produce “kingdom fruit.” With this recipe in mind, I want us to look at four different areas of well-being for the Christian missionary. In each area, we will look to provide definitions, encouragement, and resources.
In today’s world, we understand more each day about the importance of taking care of ourselves, so that the best version of ourselves can be of the greatest help to others. Our mind, will, and emotions can take a beating in the world of missions. This makes it paramount that soul care is at the top of every missionary’s priorities.
Spending time in worship, prayer, and Bible reading is the foundational bedrock to the health of any Christian, but what are the things we can look to add to these Biblical directives? Below, we have provided links to podcasts, articles, and books that can serve as fuel for the fire of your soul care initiatives. Our prayer is that your soul will be nourished and brought to greater health through these wonderful resources!
Book: Soul Talk by Larry Crab
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
Reaching optimum success in ministry can only be done with intentionality and prioritization of marriage and family first. Gone are the days when we, as believers, live under the deception of sacrificing the health and wellness of those closest to us for the advancement of the Gospel. A healthy missionary understands that ministry initiatives are more easily accomplished and way more fulfilling when the family is in a loved and healthy place.
The challenge is that marriage and family can be some of the hardest relationships to navigate while serving in missions. Below, we aim to provide you with some resources that strengthen your marriage and family while you continue to run hard after God’s calling on your life.
Article: Marriage & Family Vision Toolkit
There is no shortage of stories of people being called to the mission field, to only years later having a crisis of faith. It is a sad – but true – reality that we in the Christian mission space need to look at with intentionality. A life lived in faith on the mission field or in the town you grew up in is going to be a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns that make up a wild ride. We must be careful to always care for our faith from a posture of humility before the Lord.
Humility and thankfulness are the postures of the heart that welcomes truth and silence the lies of the enemy. With the resources below, we hope that your faith is encouraged and deepened in a personal and powerful way!
Article: 5 Lies Global Workers Believe
Is there a bigger challenge in the Christian missionary life than Fundraising? This is one of the few vocations where you not only have to do your work, but you have to also work to pay yourself for your work! To the world at large, it seems crazy and out of balance, but it’s a reality in missionary life. The good news is that now more than ever there are great resources to help those in their fundraising endeavors. The task is tall and daunting, but when you mix the provision of the Lord with putting into action steps from the resources below, you can find yourself in a peaceful place in the world of fundraising. Happy fundraising!!