“Are you a missionary if you serveIMG_0513 in your own country?”

A friend of mine recently asked me that question as we talked about my call to missions. For the longest time, the picture of a missionary has been that of a white-skinned person from the West going to an underdeveloped part of the world. A missionary was one who had to cross an ocean to get to his or her mission field. This picture is no longer valid.

The 21st century reality is that the growth of Christianity in Latin America, Asia and Africa has surpassed that of the church in the West. Missionaries come from all over the world now. According to Samuel Escobar, the new global mission is basically taking the gospel of Christ from everywhere to everyone.

So, in response to my friend’s question, I said YES. Sadly, he and so many Christians still could not get over this saltwater mentality in regard to missions–that is, one must cross an ocean for him or her to qualify as a missionary. In fact, many churches refuse to provide financial support to mission workers who are assigned to their home country. Furthermore, there are churches who stop providing financial support to missionaries who are on furlough.

I have talked with so many missionary prospects already–from the Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, USA, El Salvador, Bolivia, etc. They have all, at one time, hit what seems to be an immovable wall called saltwater mentality. Their churches won’t support them if they remained in their home countries. But what if God has called them to serve in their home countries? Wouldn’t you want to participate in their God-given assignment?

This issue is too complex to be resolved through a 331-word blogpost. But I hope that I have stimulated enough restlessness among those who still could not see that the new global mission that Escobar talks about has caught up with us.

The Church’s mission is to take the gospel of Christ from everywhere to everyone.

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