I think most of you know I’m new to this blogging world, so if I’m sharing this all wrong, I apologize. I love this other blog, written by another mom living in another culture not her own – she’s gone for years calling herself a missionary. But her last blog post brought up an issue I find interesting. She doesn’t go very deep, but is mostly acknowledging that the word ‘missionary’ is falling out of use, as it can bring danger to people in certain parts of the world, and can often be misunderstood, or come loaded with people’s past associations. Here is Jamie Jo’s blog and what she said about it all:
Coming back from a ‘Missions Conference’ where the title missionary was naturally accepted and easily applied to most of the folk attending I found this very timely and interesting – we’ve really not used the title ‘missionary’, some of that was intentional; some was not being sure what we were. 😉 It was a title that took me many years to work through when we gave it up in 2003, I’ve been slow to reclaim it as I saw way back then how much pride and importance I had placed in it. But we have also been aware of the other issues around the word itself, the reaction from others, especially those not in the’ church-world’. I want nothing to hinder a possible friendship, a possible chance to share Jesus. For our family it is easier than some, we really do have lots of other reasons for being back in Hungary, and my husband does have a full time job – we can naturally and honestly discuss our life without any need of the ‘M’ word. I like it that way. But this blog brings up a good question – what other word can be used; especially for those in church planting work, without any other outside occupation? I use ‘living cross-culturally’ a lot, but that is more about our lifestyle than any ‘job’. Carl Medearis’ book, ‘Speaking of Jesus’ was powerful in our life and discusses all these issues. When asked this same question, Mr. Medearis gave this answer, “We are people trying to follow Jesus”. A little longer than a one word title, and it might involve a bit more conversation – but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. More than anything, I want to be known by my love and following of Jesus, by my poor attempt to share Him and shine His Love. I don’t want a cultural background, church affiliation, political party or title of any sort to muddy those waters or hinder anyone from knowing Jesus.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-3