Who is the most famous person you’ve met? What surprised you about that person?
Who are your heroes? Who would you like your kids (or kids you know) to look up to? Is there a difference?
This week, let’s embrace the most basic stereotype of missionaries: that they eat bugs. So serve up some gummy worms and “ants on a log.” Celery sticks represent the log. A layer of cream cheese or peanut butter holds the raisin ants in place on top. And since most people think of missionaries in tropical places, throw in some fruit punch to complete the snack spread.
“It has been said that Jesus promised his disciples three things—that they would be completely fearless, absurdly happy and in constant trouble.” –William Barclay
Missions is only for eccentrics. Missionaries are either misfits in their home context or are “super-Christians” with an otherworldly call.
We sometimes picture missionaries as super-Christians with an exclusive calling or as social misfits we don’t want to be associated with. Either way, the more separation we create in our minds between ourselves and cross-cultural missionaries, the less likely we are to engage in Great Commission efforts. Missionaries are often strange in the sense that they no longer fit in in their home cultures, and they are holy in the sense that they have dedicated their lives to a special type of service to God, so it stands to reason that they are also rare. We can honor their unique role without elevating them in an unhealthy way. We all have a part to play in the Great Commission, not just the professionals, or the super holy, or the losers, or whatever other label might make us feel like we can’t (or don’t have to) participate. Becoming a missionary is just one of many ways to contribute.
When you hear the term “missionary,” what kind of person comes to mind? How are they different from you?
Do people you know tend to think of missionaries more as misfits or super holy? What effect do you think this has on their perception of missions?
How do you think people’s view of missionaries is changing over time?
How have the missionaries you know personally influenced your perspective on missions?
Do you feel fearless? Happy beyond reason? What about the constant trouble Jesus promised His followers?
At your church, do you detect an “other-ing” of missionaries?
What professions or roles do you admire? Do you feel inferior when you meet people who do those jobs? How do you think that’s the same as and different from your attitude toward missionaries?
What qualities indicate that someone would be an effective missionary? How is that different than the characteristics you would look for in a local pastor, elder or ministry leader?
Do you believe that you need a special call to become a missionary? If so, what would you expect that call to be like? If not, what prevents or discourages you from becoming one?
How could someone interested in becoming a missionary determine if that desire is God’s leading or just their own idealism or sense of adventure?
Have you thought about how cross-cultural and strange our heavenly community will be? Do you look forward to spending eternity with people who have radically different life experiences, or does that seem daunting?
What is your key takeaway from this week’s discussion? What are you going to do differently this week as a result of what you learned?
Someone from the Pioneers team would love to join your group to encourage you and answer as many questions as we can. We’d also love to pray for you and connect you to other resources to keep learning. Just fill out this short form.