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Missions

8 Examples of Effective Missionary Work

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Written by Avery Rimiller

As Christians, Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of every nation, and that before he comes back and creates the new heaven and new earth, every tribe, tongue, and nation will have heard the gospel and have a chance to respond to it.

Because of Jesus’ love, we want everyone from these people groups to be saved, and that is why effective missionary work is imperative.

What are effective missionary work examples? Eight examples of effective missionary work are:

  1. Creating Christ-Centered Community
  2. Transformational Entrepreneurship – Business as Mission
  3. Medical Missionary Work
  4. Caring for the Least of These
  5. Education as Missionary Work
  6. Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  7. Prayer Walking and Evangelizing
  8. Making Disciples Who Make Disciples

There are many ways to approach missionary work, and to do it effectively requires strategic effort and trust in God. Though this work may be taxing and difficult, it is more than worth it to make disciples who love and worship Jesus and in turn make disciples themselves.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? 

And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

Romans 10:13-15 CSB

1. Creating Christ-Centered Community

In his book, Living on the Devil’s Doorstep, Floyd McClung tells the story of how he and his wife Sally gave up their safe life in America to be missionaries in two of the toughest places in the world.

From Kabul, Afghanistan to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Floyd and Sally chose to create a Christ-centered community that loved the least loveable people.

These people were drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps, and criminals.

Though at times these people took advantage of Floyd, Sally, and their partners, Floyd admitted that the only way any of them were drawn to the missionaries is because they saw the light of Jesus through their community.

This community was built on the basis of family values, and specifically God’s family values.

In their time in Kabul, Floyd, Sally, and their partners lived together in what they called the Olfat, where they used what they had to make the house feel clean, respectable, and inviting, completely contrary to the other filthy buildings in the area.

They also opened up a tea shop to create a space for relationship building.

As the missionaries made connections with travelers from all over the world in this unlikely place, they would invite them over for dinner and love and serve them like Jesus would.

In the same way, as Floyd and Sally moved to live in the Red Light District in Amsterdam, they turned their small, sad apartment into a space for community building.

Of course, there were many risks in this move, but the McClungs knew that God would protect and provide for them, including their young children.

They felt that God was calling them to use their family, even their children, to reach the people of Amsterdam, and that’s exactly what they did. As they got to know prostitutes and cold-hearted bar owners, the children exhibited perfectly what it meant to treat someone as an actual human.

They drew pictures for the girls in the windows and asked them to stop by their house after school, giving these girls a picture of a family that they had long forgotten, or even never known.

Through an extreme amount of prayer for protection and compassion for these people, Floyd and Sally were able to use their family to create a community that brought many people to accept Jesus and follow him.

Whatever the McClungs did, they did it for God and to make relationships with his lost sheep, so that they too might become part of God’s family.

2. Transformational Entrepreneurship – Business as Mission

The second effective way to do missionary work is transformational entrepreneurship, or business as mission, which not only changes lives but societies as well.

Business as Mission is a way for a Christian to start a cross-cultural business in any country and be the type of businessman or woman that Jesus would be.

By treating employees, customers, and everyone involved with integrity and Jesus’ love, the business as mission company could change communities desperate for economic elevation, hope, and God’s love.

One example of this model is Sunshine Nut Company. Don Larson, the founder of this company, gave up many stable jobs in the States, one of them being a job with Hershey, and moved his family to Mozambique according to God’s call on his life.

Since this move, Don Larson has created a business as mission, Sunshine Nut Co., and its purpose is to not only provide the world with the best cashews but also to transform their community by pouring 90% of their profits back into the community.

These profits go to sustaining cashew farmers, providing for orphans, and for creating sunshine houses where vulnerable women and children are supported.

Sunshine also employs adult orphans to help transform their community by creating jobs and a safe place for them to experience the love of Jesus.

Business as mission doesn’t have to be advertised as Christian, but like Sunshine, when they are acting as Jesus would by caring for people, the environment, and transforming societies, it’s impossible not to notice something different about them.

With these businesses, profit isn’t the only goal, but instead, transformational impact is the ultimate goal for God’s kingdom.

If you’d like to learn more about Sunshine Nut Co. and how they’re impacting people’s lives for Christ, click here.

Or, if you’d like to find out how you can study to be a transformational entrepreneur like Don Larson, you can click here to find out how Bethany Global University trains missionaries to create businesses as mission.

3. Medical Missionary Work

Another amazing and practical way to reach people with the gospel is to use medicine as a way to heal people phsyically as well as spiritually.

A great example of this missionary work is Medical Missionaries, an organization that helps the poorest of the poor by providing medical care through hundreds of medical professionals all over the world.

If you’re a doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner, you can get involved with Medical Missionaries here, by joining them on a volunteer trip or by donating to them.

Or, if you’re feeling called to used your passion for medicine to serve God, know that it is a valid way to share the gospel and Jesus will guide you to whatever opportunity is right for you.

Jesus is ultimately the great physician and wants to heal his children through both miracles and through medicine.

In this same way, you can be part of the great commission too by saving people’s health while introducing them to Jesus, the one who can save their souls.

4. Caring for the Least of These

In Matthew 25, Jesus talks about how those who love him and follow him will care for the least of these as if they were caring for Jesus himself.

Who are the least of these? According to Jesus, they are widows and orphans, people who are hungry, thirsty, alone, naked, sick, and in prison. These people are the least loved in our world, but Jesus loves for them deeply, and wants us to do the same as well.

An example of someone who did this well was the missionary, Amy Carmichael.

Amy Carmichael, also known as the Mother of India, shared Jesus from the slums of England and Japan to the desperate children in India who were being trafficked in Hindu temples.

In 1901, Amy was eventually lead by God to start Dohnavur Fellowship, a home that protected and sheltered former child prostitutes who had been sold by their parents to the temple priests.

Though there was great opposition through persecution, sickness, and spiritual attacks, Amy managed to save many young girls and boys from their fate in the temples and share the gospel with people who were labeled as the untouchables.

These people, the least of these, were able to come to know Jesus through Amy Carmichael’s faith and mission work.

Amy taught the people of India that God loved them, no matter what their caste system was, and turned many to Jesus through her tender love and compassion.

She cared for these people as if they were Jesus himself and left a legacy that ended temple child prostitution in India as well as inspired many to take up the missionary work of loving the least of these.

5. Education as Missionary Work

Education in Missions is another great way to share the gospel.

I know personally of a family who chose to do missionary work in China. The two parents became professors at a university there and got to teach students about the culture of America, as well as share the gospel with them through their studies on religion in America.

Another great option for missionary work is to teach young kids through Montessori education, an interactive, customizable way for young children to learn.

If you’d like to learn more about how to pursue this missionary work, you can click here to check out Bethany Global University’s method for training missionaries in this way.

6. Teaching English as a Foreign Language

As with education in missions, teaching English as a foreign language enables the missionary to work on their own language learning and teach others not only how to speak English, but also about the gospel.

Through teaching English, teachers who are missionaries can build meaningful relationships with their students, just like a friend of mine did in Cambodia.

After a few months in the country, my friend’s class got to see the love of Jesus through her and come to make decisions about their own faith.

7. Prayer Walking and Evangelizing

If missionaries know anything, it’s that they can do nothing apart from Jesus (John 15) and that most fruitful work on the field is prayer.

From Floyd McClung and Don Larson to Amy Carmichael and others, all have said that none of their efforts of evangelizing and sharing the gospel would have been effective without deep and rich prayer lives.

If you’re wanting to pursue effective missionary work, be sure to ask God for an interruptible heart, one that can listen for and hear his still and small voice. Because without God’s will and plan being revealed through his word and his Holy Spirit, all the missionary work we could do will be worthless.

I remember a personal example from a time I spent in Guatemala doing street evangelism. My team and I would begin the day by waiting on the Lord, waiting for him to show us what he has for us that day.

On one of these days, we were in a rush, going from the school we were working at to the nearby market, planning to seek out the people of peace that Jesus wanted us to love.

Unfortunately, we said a quick prayer and went on our way, contrary to the other times when we would quiet ourselves and listen intently for the Holy Spirit.

As we were going, I felt unrest in my spirit and heard the still small voice tell me to stop the group and spend some time praying again.

So that’s what we did, and what do you know, two of my teammates received the same image of a girl with orange pants and a marshmallow shirt of all things.

Lo and behold, we turn a couple of street corners, and there she is, along with her whole extended family.

This extra time in prayer lead us to minister to a young girl who was having trouble with her family and was staying with her aunt, uncle, and cousins.

They all got to hear the gospel that day and we believe God planted a seed in all of their hearts that will grow for His glory.

Jesus tells us to pray to the Lord of the harvest, that workers may go out to share the gospel and that all the nations will accept it. He also tells us that whatever we ask in his name he will do according to the will of the Father.

With that in mind, we can recognize prayer as an essential component of missionary work.

When we choose to make prayer ministry the core of our missionary work and partner it with evangelism, it is an effective way to introduce people to Jesus and show them his love.

But we aren’t solely called to pray and evangelize to people, but disciple them so that they can grow in their faith. This leads me to the final example of effective missionary work.

8. Making Disciples Who Make Disciples

The best way to do effective missionary work is to make disciples who make disciples. This was Jesus’ method as he prepared his disciples for going out into the nations and making disciples themselves.

Jesus’ heart behind this is to see people from every tribe, tongue, and nation come to know, love, and worship him, as well as experience community with other believers.

Because of this, Jesus sent out the twelve disciples in Matthew 10 and the 72 in Luke 10, telling them to find people of peace and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven has come near.

When we choose to do missionary work, church plant, or make disciples, we aren’t just supposed to preach the gospel and leave them alone with their new faith.

We’re called to pastor them and help them on their journey, discipling them so that one day, they too can make disciples who follow and love Jesus.

Effective Missionary Work Matters

When effective missionary work is pursued and accomplished, Jesus will be able to come back and create the new heaven and new earth, bringing all those who love him to himself.

This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:14 CSB

Our hope as Christians is to see God’s glory cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and we want everyone who will listen to hear the gospel and respond so that everyone gets the chance to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus.

Jesus’ love is just too good not to share, so no matter what missionary work you’re called to, you can know that Jesus will give you new and effective ways to share the gospel and make disciples of all nations.

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