When I read this article, I drank it down like cold water on a parched day. I wanted to know the answer the same as this author to the question, “What makes a good missionary?”
The article goes into the differences of persecution between Islam and other countries and governments. As I read this, I, too, felt kicked in the gut. The missionary needed the people he served. I would never have thought of that as love, but the persecuted believers saw the western man as loving because he borrowed from them instead of his western friends. Re-translate this to evangelism in your local communities: “What makes a good evangelist?”
“Rarely did the apostle Paul create dependency upon himself. Often in his letters, Paul expressed how desperately he needed his brothers and sisters in Christ. He called those friends by name years later. He never forgot them. When possible, he returned to be with them. When he could not go, he sent them someone else. And he faithfully wrote to them, expressing his love, encouragement, and correction. In a word, he needed them,” the author says.
Social media is about creating community, expressing that need, being the church online, and challenging us to need and be needed. The people you speak to on the field also have a purpose and are not lesser people as sometimes we may come off as looking. As a missionary wet-behind-the-ears, I want to,
“…bury my pride and unpack some humility…become a brother (sister), a friend, and a peer. I would care more about the names of my brothers and sisters on the “mission field” and less about the numbers of baptisms, people discipled, churches planted, and orphanages built. I would take to heart the lesson of John the Baptist, saying about a local believer what John said about Jesus: I must decrease so that he can increase (John 3:30). I would invite local believers to lead in the light while I served in the shadows. I would have pressed into what it meant to really need them.”
I am too independent. Raising support is teaching me to depend on people, to love better, to put God first above my politics, and daily it stretches and humbles me. I am learning to disciple people and wish for their success over mine. In the past two years, I have learned more, been stretched often, and know that God is taking the “ugly” out of me. His Word (the Bible) is challenging me. I am also learning that I don’t know as much as I think I know, and this attitude is important to maintain all of my life no matter how old I grow.
Please read this article from whatever perspective you serve from right now. It won’t take long.