What Is a Missionary?

There’s a job that God has given each and every Christian to do. No matter your age, position, job, etc. You have been called to do this. What is it?

The answer is found in these verses: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Each of us are called to share the Gospel with the lost. And each of us has opportunities to do it if we only seek them and pray for God to bring people our way.

world map and hand holding New Testament | what is a missionary

What Is a Missionary?

Let’s look for a moment at the word missionary. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear this word?

No doubt you think of some famous missionary, maybe Hudson Taylor, Jim Elliott, Gladys Aylward or some other great missionary.

And when you think about missionaries today, you probably think of someone who leaves their country, goes to another country, learns another language, and attempts to reach the people of that country with the Gospel.

Those famous Christians of long ago were missionaries, and so are people who go to other countries to share the Gospel. But they aren’t the only ones.

Now let’s look at the definition of missionary. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary the definition of missionary is a person undertaking a mission and especially a religious mission. It doesn’t say that to be a missionary, you have to leave your country and go somewhere else with a totally different culture.

In reality, all of us as Christians are called to be missionaries. We can be a missionary to our neighbors, our coworkers, our unsaved relatives, and any other people God brings across our path. Whether we are old or young, we can do something to reach the lost.

When it comes to using the term missionary, I think we should refer to those who travel to other countries as foreign missionaries. Otherwise, when we say, “Joe is a missionary, and Amy is a teacher,” it sounds like Joe is the only one assigned the task of reaching the lost, when in fact, Amy is just as called as Joe is.

Not everyone is called to serve the Lord in another country. However, we are all called to be missionaries.

What Should We Do as Missionaries?

Ok, now let’s take a closer look at Acts 1:8, and then I’ll share with you how I heard my brother, a foreign missionary, explain this verse.

girl pointing at map | Acts 1:8 | what is a missionary

Notice that there is an order of locations here. First is Jerusalem. When Jesus gave this command, the disciples were in Jerusalem. So they did not begin by traveling to a distant land to preach the Gospel. No, instead they started right where they were. And that is what God wants of us. More than likely, He won’t call us to do something big for Him if we aren’t already doing something for Him right where we are.

Next in the verse is Judea. Jerusalem was in Judea, so the disciples were to spread out from Jerusalem to the other towns and villages in that region.

After that was Samaria, a region bordering Judea, and finally the ends of the earth. When we are faithful to serve God right where we are and do what we can to reach the lost around us, He will sometimes expand our reach, so that we can share the Gospel with others farther away from where we live.

With this blog, I have opportunities to reach people I would never have been able to otherwise. For me right now, this blog is my “ends of the earth.”


What about you? What is something you can do to reach the lost? Are there people regularly in your life that do not know Jesus as their Savior? What is something you can do to reach them?

If you are in need of some evangelism ideas, be sure to subscribe for blogpost notifications. I have a blogpost coming out soon with some easy ways to evangelize. And after you’ve filled out the subscription box, while you wait for that blogpost, go ahead and check out this Grace Reid story on the topic of evangelism. It just might give you some ideas now!

About Author

Hannah E. Griggs

Hannah E. Griggs is a teacher and author of primarily middle-grade Christian fiction from Texas. She loves card-making, history, and coffee. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her building her education business, reading Christian fiction and biographies, or improving her guitar skills.

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