The role of a missionary in the church, be it the global church or the local church, is to fulfill the great commission by advancing the gospel wherever the Lord has placed them. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus told His disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This was His great commission. By definition, a missionary promotes the gospel and makes disciples of all men. While all efforts toward this goal promote the church on the global level, a missionary can also take on multiple roles in the local church, as well.
The Global Church
The global church does not necessarily have a campus, a building or a single pastor. It is the collective faith of Christians all around the world, and a missionary’s role is ultimately to spread this faith to the nations. When a missionary is called to serve a nation, this usually means that they raise funds in order to move to another country full time. In doing this, they may not take on the typical “church roles” one may imagine. In fact, there may not even be a physical church to take on a role in in the city that they are going to. Through their obedience to go and spread the good news, missionaries are advancing the kingdom and fulfilling their role in the global Church.
The Local Church
The local church is a specific gathering place for Christians to worship and learn together. A missionary can also have roles in the local church. After arriving in the country God has called them to, some may start a church for that community, and their role would be the pastor. In some cases, a missionary may be serving the youth of a city as a youth pastor, and some may simply be members of the local church. All these roles serve the local AND global churches.
In conclusion, the overlying role that a missionary has is to advance the gospel and fulfill the Great Commission. This role can take place in a typical church community, in the middle of a jungle and everywhere in between. A missionary regardless of placement and surroundings will always prioritize his calling in the global and local church.