One of our most popular posts ever kicked over some of the missions myths we’re all prone to: I should have the gift of evangelism. I should plan on leading Bible studies, prayer, service projects, and all that 24/7.
So we’re still messing with (or just scribbling out) some of our stereotypes of missionaries: the fetching jumpers-with-tennis-shoes combo, the slideshows, the mud huts, the untrimmed hairstyle, the image of white-person-hugging-cute-brown-child.
(Wanna help identify our weird stereotypes? Comment below.)
Since there were five in the last post, let’s start with…
Myth #6: Reaching the unreached involves going to countries where my mom will worry about me getting shot.
Truth: Countries that accept immigrants, businesspeople, and students from closed countries may be an even better bet.
Did you know you likely have citizens of closed countries living right down the street? Well over 1 million international students are living in the U.S.–and over half of those students in 2017 were from India or China.
(Don’t miss our post on Expanding your Heart for the Nations Where You’re At [Ideas #1-10].)
Another example of unreached people groups in easier-to-enter nations? Africa performs a great deal of business with the Chinese (see this video). And though India has recently made the top ten of most dangerous nations in which to follow Jesus, and has recently made it notoriously hard for missionaries to gain visas, there are a number of Indian communities in East Africa,
Bonus: In the midst of their immigration, they might well already speak English. (Side note: Learning their “heart language” is still important. To quote Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” The humility in learning it is important, too.)
Because of the tremendous flux of refugees and immigrants, even European countries have large percentages of the unreached. Germany, for example, is 23% unreached. France is 33% unreached–and many of those are Muslim.
Connecting with immigrant Muslims also helps with a popular tenet of missiology (i.e. the study of missions) with Muslims. J.D. Greear explains,
If Muslims can come to Christ together, then they are not just leaving something (the ummah), they are coming into something (the church)! Because following Jesus often costs Muslims their families, giving them a community to come into can go a long way in alleviating fear. There’s an old proverb among missionaries to Muslims: “It is easier to ‘group Muslims and then win them’ than it is to ‘win them and then group them.”*
That means you might go through a Bible-storytelling meeting where you discuss stories from the Old Testament (a topic Muslims are naturally curious about because the Quran doesn’t contain those narratives). Or you might teach them English. They take that journey together–and if brought to Jesus, would support one another. This is easier to do when Muslims, as immigrants, have already been immersed in a culture outside of their own.
Myth #7: A ministry degree is best for reaching the lost.
Truth: What if God could use your degree to go where typical missionaries can’t?
As Amy from SEND International writes,
65% of the world’s population lives in places that are closed to missionaries. But they are open for business. Click To Tweet
Sixty-five percent of the world’s population lives in places that are closed to missionaries. But they are open for business. Business people can gain access to these countries and bring disciple-making to the workplace.
Check out Leon’s story about using his degree in computer science to serve asylum-seekers in Germany through Christar. Also, Scatter Global mobilizes Jesus-followers from many professions to intentionally pursue their vocation in the least-reached marketplaces of the world.
What’s BAM again (…Aside from Emeril Lagasse)?
In fact, BusinessAsMission.com has a blog all its own, highlighting stuff like current opportunities (they’ve got over 50 just posted!), what they’ve learned from businesses that have failed (here are some mistakes and misadventures), and current issues.
And check out MDE’s white paper, Business as Mission: A Critical Strategy for Establishing Reproducing Churches. As MDE explains,
“Reaching the Unreached = Danger” and More Missions Myths Debunked Click To Tweet
Hurting people around the world not only need immediate relief (well-provided by secular and Christian not-for-profit organizations) but long-term economic development and spiritual renewal. Individual and community transformation is facilitated by BAM [Business as Mission] businesses because the sphere of influence for such ventures is not restricted merely to the employees—it encompasses the clients, vendors, investors, and the community and governmental leaders with whom the business or venture has a working relationship. The potential is great to bring sustainable, transformational and holistic kingdom impact to hurting unreached people groups all around the world and to build Christ’s kingdom through the “formation of…worshipping, nurturing, on-going communities of believers.”
Maybe you’ve never been able to see yourself leaving the profession you feel you were made for in order to go overseas. But what if you could use all those skills to bring people to Jesus who could never otherwise hear? As a bonus, your skills could bring jobs and economic development to hurting families and nations. What’s not to love?
Your turn. What’s a missions myth you’d like to (Um, Lovingly) debunk?
Or what’s something you thought about missions that turned out not to be true?
*Greear, J.D.. Breaking the Islam Code (p. 36). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Like this post? You might like
- He Said/She Said. You Say? “What do you wish you’d known before you went?” Part I and Part II
- Hands-on Adventures
- God’s Will–and the Clarity I Didn’t Have
- Your Career, Globally: Envisioning Your Talents Overseas