The Missionary Life: No Shortcuts, post by Evan Burns at the Gospel Coalition is a short little read but it’s a good one. He lists out two main things he would tell any missionary candidate entering the field.
1. Theological Education
I don’t think he necessarily means a formal education, he is speaking against a theological minimalism. I often hear that churches have to work together much more on the field than they do in the States. I can’t speak to that, but there is a way in which that is good – when we align and focus on the majors. But when churches add secondary or even tertiary doctrine up to first level doctrine, this is where I think the line has to be drawn. I think Evan agrees with that assessment. We need to know what Christianity is, what a church is, what theology is, if we can effectively be of any use.
2. Learning to Suffer
I haven’t been a missionary yet. I’d have to have someone else comment on this, but I think this applies to any Christian service, stateside or abroad. There is suffering involved with Christian ministry. But nonetheless it is wise words to remember that this isn’t a chance just to live abroad but service to Christ and the expansion of his Kingdom, which comes at a cost.
I also wanted to shamelessly steal his quote that he shares from Eckhard Schnabel’s Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies, and Methods
Missionaries, evangelists, and teachers who have understood both the scandal of the cross and the irreplaceable and foundational significance of the news of Jesus the crucified and risen Messiah and Savior will not rely on strategies, models, methods, or techniques. They rely on the presence of God when they proclaim Jesus Christ, and on the effective power of the Holy Spirit. This dependence on God rather than on methods liberates them from following every new fad, from using only one particular method, from using always the same techniques, and from copying methods and techniques from others whose ministry is deemed successful.