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Missions and Missionaries
God has been calling godly men and women to mission service from the very beginning of time. Abraham served as a missionary in the land of Canaan. Jonah was called to go as a missionary though he refused for a time. Paul considered himself a missionary to the gentiles. Since Bible time God has continued to raise up missionaries and sent them to the four corners of the earth.
Defining Mission Service
Mission service refers to when an individul responds, or a group of individuals respond, to the command of Jesus in Matt. 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe and obey all the things that Jesus commanded, assured that Jesus will always be with them, to the end of time.
Hudson Taylor was impressed to be as Chinese as possible as long as he did not sin. Others felt very different and maintained and promoted what was often a western lifestyle, equating such a lifestyle as more beneficial and favored by God.
Over the years many approaches have been taken to recruiting missionaries. Some of personally appealed to potential candidates, others have tried to inspire by good stories, others have inspired such service through the telling of stories about missionaries. Hudson Taylor found the best way to recruit missionaries was to so raise the spiritual temperature in the local churches that individuals would feel compelled to go and serve. Lees
Funding Missions and Missionaries
Historically there have been differing opinions on how missions should be supported. Some, like Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission, believed God would provide all the necessary support through the generous gifts of friends who were led of God to give. As he put in his mission statement:
"The missionaries and Native Helpers are supported, and the rents and other expenses on Mission premises, schools, etc., are met, by contributions sent to the office of the Mission without personal solicitation by those who wish to aid, in this effort to spread the knolwedge of the Gospel throught China."
Others, like William Carey, believed missionaries should be self-supporting, and accordingly was the manager of an indigo factory and founded a school.
What constitutes appropriate and adequate training of missionaries? Looking at the gospels, we find that some of the most effective witnesses,—Samaratin woman comes to mind—only had a personal, life-changing, encounter with Jesus. When Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the demoniac, instead of allowiong him to join him, Jesus instructed the man to go home and tell his family what had happened in his life.
Praying for Missionaries