Question about Missionary Training for missionaries:
"What characteristics should missionaries have?"
Characteristics highlighted include emotional stability, giftedness, and maturity.
1. Seeking input: How much do you value the input of others? Do you seek advice from people? If you don't seek out the perspectives of others, it implies you don't see a need for them or a value in them. If you don't value the opinions and perspectives of others, you won't receive instruction, input, or correction from them.
2. Admitting faults: How easily do acknowledge that you were wrong? The more you're committed to being right, the less you can hear perspectives from others.
3. Honoring others: How easily do you praise others? It seems to me that people who freely praise others easily receive comments and critiques from others.
4. Receiving correction: How do you respond when someone corrects you, or corrects something you say? Is your first instinct defensive? Are you puzzled as to why they think another way is better? Or do you listen, make sure you understand, and thank them?
Do you recognize that you fall short in these areas? Good news: it's never too early or too late to grow! Everyone's life includes opportunities to practice these behaviors, and as you practice them, they will become more natural to you.
But then we come across a clause in verse 34 that casts a whole new light on these champions of the past: "Out of weakness they were made strong." They were as weak, broken, vulnerable, sinful, and, well, as ordinary as the rest of us. Which is precisely what qualified them, and qualifies people today, to take the message of Jesus to other parts of the world. They don't rely on their own strength. On the contrary, they are weak-made-strong followers of Jesus. And they are marked by the following:
1. Faith: They have personally experienced the transforming work of the gospel and can't keep this news to themselves. It's too precious! They know Jesus and want others to know him too. You wouldn't call them half-hearted! They would give their lives so that others might live. Such is their faith in God.
2. Teachability: These are not people who think they have "arrived" in terms of what they know or how great they are. They don't think they have nothing more to learn. Rather, they crave new learning opportunities, seek out mentors, depend on others, and ask advice.
3. Humility: Good cross-cultural workers recognize that they no longer belong to themselves but to Jesus, and, as such, there's a humility about them. They are prepared to do what others won't or can't do, and they don't need the credit for it. They deflect praise when people commend them for "being so sacrificial" and absorb criticism when people think they're crazy.
4. Effectiveness: They have a spiritual track record, are familiar with the Bible, and are known for their hard work. They understand that if they are not sharing Jesus with people here, it's unlikely they will share Jesus with people somewhere else in the world! Leaders at their churches recognize that God has wired them for mission.
5. Availability: They are not just willing to go and serve elsewhere, they are preparing to go! Their prayer is "Here I am Lord, send me!" They understand that life offers them countless options, but, weighing it up, and risking criticism, they prioritize mission.
6. Weakness: The people who make good cross-cultural workers are qualified by their weakness, knowing their strength is in Christ. That's how it works in God's kingdom; we are not disqualified by our weakness, but by our subtle resistance to God's will in our lives. What qualifies us for service in the kingdom of God is as Hudson Taylor, missionary to China put it: "God was looking for a man weak enough to use, and he found me."
Note: This answer slightly adapted from a blog post on the website of Pioneers Australia.
God is able to make you into you need to be. All you have to do is say yes!
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