Missionaries and ministers
Is every Christian a missionary? This question seems to cause some discomfort and disunity in the church. We should never use labels to detract from or remove biblical concepts. Linguistically, the term “missionary” means “sent one”. It is an extra-biblical word coined to label biblical concepts. I’ll briefly state the conventional and missional thoughts on who is a missionary. The conventional idea is that missionaries are persons crossing geographic, cultural and linguistic barriers in order to make disciples of all people. The missional idea is that all Christians are to make disciples wherever they are.
We believe every Christian is commanded to engage in God’s mission. Matthew 28:19-20 is addressed to the whole church–“All authority is mine, go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”. Every Christian should feel the need to be engaged in this Great Commission, not just a select few.
In Scriptures such as Romans 15:24, we also see there is a division of labor within the church. There are those who are sent on mission and those who serve to send others on mission while continuing to live and work on mission within their own cultural context. Some may term these missionaries and ministers. Grow2Serve uses “missionary” to mean a person who is sent to actively share the message of the Gospel across geographic, cultural and sometimes linguistic boundaries. “Ministers” are Christians who are sharing the Gospel and making disciples within their own cultural context, and this includes serving as a sender because they care about reaching the unreached.
Sharing the Gospel message means teaching or proclaiming the revelation of Christ in both word and deed. Grow2Serve’s staff consists of Christians who have experience serving as cross-cultural missionaries and who are now ministering through Grow2Serve to support missionaries and ministers in sharing the Gospel. Our vision is, “Missionaries and ministers easily connecting worldwide to quality and transformative learning resulting in healthy spiritual lives and fruitful ministry”.
In this post, I’ve addressed the first two concepts of Grow2Serve’s vision, which you can find at https://www.missiontools.org/about/. In future posts, we’ll continue to introduce you to the other concepts and resources which help clarify our vision.