4 Rarely Mentioned (but Essential!) Missionary Qualities

If you read missionary literature or listen to talks on the missionary call, there are lots of qualities that come up as essential to being a missionary:  a commitment to God and the Great Commission, a love for the lost, flexibility, ability to learn language and work as a team, and so forth. Together with a good grasp of doctrine and the fruit of the Spirit, these are all really important for both becoming a missionary and remaining a missionary. I specifically say “remaining” a missionary because the qualities that lead a person and their church to think they are ready to become a missionary are not all that’s needed to survive and thrive in cross-cultural ministry over the long-haul. 

In that vein, I’d like to “fill out” the above list of missionary qualities with some rarely mentioned but equally essential qualities that all cross-cultural missionary should have.  Or if they don’t have them, they need to develop them. Otherwise their overseas ministry will be a short one. 

Do Christianity and Patriotism Mix?

In response to the title question of this article, I imagine that many people would give one of two basic answers. The first is, “Absolutely! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”  The second is, “Never! What does the house of the Lord have to do with the house of idols?!”  There are certainly other possible answers along the spectrum between those two extremes, but if you resonate strongly with either of those two answers, you may not like this article.

If we look at the Bible, we discover that neither unqualified patriotism nor denunciation of devotion to one’s homeland fit within the will of God. 

Does the Prosperity Gospel Promote Secularization?

Does Pentecostalism promote secularization?  As crazy as it sounds, that is the thesis of Stefan Paas's article "Notoriously Religious' or Secularising? Revival and Secularisation in Sub-Saharan Africa"...and I think author could be on to something.  At first glance, it would seem that Pentecostalism should be a major force against secularization of societies, given its strong emphasis on the supernatural and the miraculous.  And at one level, it that is certainly true. 
 
 
But we need to remember that large sections of the Pentecostal world also promote the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’, the mistaken belief that God’s will is that all believers be financially prosperous and have good health… if they have enough faith to receive those blessings. This instrumental view of religion, namely a this-worldly focus on using religion as a tool to achieve physical and material success, is nothing new, nor is it necessarily unique to Pentecostalism. However, as Paas has pointed out, when believers with this view of religion obtain the material success that they desire, their need for religious means of obtaining those goals decreases.  An increase in an ability to provide for your own needs often follows on from the achievement of material security.  If the primary attraction of the Christian faith was the possibility of worldly success, and if ‘conversion’ resulted in new habits and lifestyle habits that led to hard work and business success, then the very thing that led a person to the church has become the very thing that leads them away from the church.  God has served his transitionary purpose in achieving success.  If you can achieve success on your own now, who needs God?

John's Afternoon Bike Ride

The weather is getting warmer in Edinburgh but it is not quite spring yet.  Nonetheless, the kids are eager to get outside and do some biking.  See below for a fun 1 minute video of John biking around our apartment building and through the woods.  It's chilly but that's doesn't seem to bother him :-)

If you cannot see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

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