Why We Support Missionaries

PNG_church Osborn

It’s time to move past the discussion of Missionaries vs Mission Trippers and The Bane (and Blessing) of Short-Term Missions. We need to remember the core issue:

Jesus has called us to spread the gospel and to make disciples of Him.

We like to get caught up in the Great Commission (which is never actually called that in the Bible), when Jesus told his disicples to,

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

We see the first verb, “go,” and immediately think about foreign missions (long-term and short-term). But we miss Jesus’ focus.

There is only one strong verb in these verses (in Greek): make disciples. The other three (go, baptize, teach) are all participles. They are not the main actions, but rather describe some ways that it looks like to make disciples.

So, the main question for all of us is, “What are we doing to make disciples?”

Gospel Patrons

I don’t know if you should become a long-term missionary. And I don’t know if we will serve again in a way similar to what we did in Allendale. But we the church do need more people to go. And if people are to go, we must send and support.

John Rinehart writes that We Need Gospel Patrons.

As much as we need to raise up and equip the next generation of gospel preachers and missionaries, we also need to call forth those who will partner with them, the next generation of gospel patrons.”

From our experience of being a pseudo­-missionary in Allendale, from conversations with our friends who are living overseas as missionaries, and from reading the biographies of other missionaries, we know that support is crucial.

Prayer support matters, but so does financial support.”How is your support?” level may be the most common question missionaries are asked, and it’s probably the most common stressor in their lives.

Know this . . . it is far easier to get support at the outset of ministry, than to sustain it. Maybe it’s because (to the missionaries perspective) the demands of on-going ministry get so overwhelming that “raising support” gets put aside, or even seems unspiritual.

Or maybe it’s because (to the donors perspective) giving to something new is far more exciting and attractive than faithfully giving to an ongoing endeavor. Raise your hand if you’ve ever grown bored in doing good works.

(OK, we can all put our hands down now.)

Why We Support Missionaries

Christianity must be about spreading the Gospel. For whatever reason He chose, God calls us to be agents of His kingdom work. He doesn’t need us, but He chose to use us. Otherwise, whenever we got baptized, they would just hold us under the water until we stopped breathing.

To be saved, people must call on the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32). But, as Paul, expounds in Romans 10:14-15:

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

We, the Espinosa family, support missionaries because of their beautiful ministry to spread the Good News about salvation through Jesus Christ.

Of course, their ministry seems beautiful to us. But I know that people tended to romanticize our work in Allendale, to give us undue credit. We have to remember “missionary service is . . . well, service. It’s others-centered. It’s not glamorous. It’s about finding joy in the trenches.” (HT: Kevin DeYoung).

Join the Beautiful Ministry of the Gospel

Are you a “gospel patron”? Are you investing your resources for God’s kingdom work, to make disicples? Will you be a faithful supporter for a long-period of time?

We will be. We will support people like the Osborns, the Dosters, and the Cawleys. (And we will also give money to organizations like Jews for Jesus.) We want to care for and support those beautiful feet which carry the gospel with them.

We hope you will, too, whether as a goer or a sender.

Or both.

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