Is Everybody a Missionary?
Historically the word “missionary” is used for people churches send / support in cross-cultural ministries distanced from the church. And missionaries are indispensable because they are the ones who plunge deep into the nations by learning the language and the culture.
What about the thousands (multiplied thousands!) who stay at home? What do we call them? I asked this question during a Sunday morning service and a lady blurted out, “Stationaries!”
She aroused a good laugh from the congregation, including me, but at the same time she sobered me. What do we call everybody else? Are we to be stationary?
God is giving American churches a unique opportunity to reach hundreds of nations right at home … right in their community. No plane ticket necessary! No passport necessary! No inoculations necessary!
Should we call those reaching the nations in their local community missionaries? I don’t think so. It would cause confusion. The word missionary is the agreed upon word we use of those ministering geographically distanced from the church.
But let me show you something interesting within the word missionary that describes God’s desire for the rest of us. Let’s keep using “ary” suffix for those the church sends out, okay? That leaves the word “mission” for those on the home-front … in their community. Now focus on the suffix of the word mission. It’s the word "on". It describes what the rest are to be doing. Everybody is to be “on mission” in reaching the nations in their community.
If you claim the name of Jesus, he has commissioned and empowered you to be “on mission" right where you live.