• Coretta Christy

How to Thrive in The Mission Field

Years ago, I was encouraged by an elder who told me, “God will use you to accomplish great things for HIS Kingdom”. What a blessing it was to hear that. ‘Here I am, Lord, use me’, was my eager response.

I have a passion, a willingness, a gift and the boldness to venture into unfamiliar territory-to meet people from a different culture than my own, to befriend them and to share the gospel with them. All of this excites me. It is what mission means to me.

Once I started serving in the mission field, I realized that passion wasn’t enough to sustain me in the field. Let me elaborate in two instances.

  • During my early days on the mission field in Cambodia, I connected with a local Buddhist family. I was welcomed into their home. Despite my best efforts I was unable to convey the gospel message to them in a way they could understand. While I spoke to them in English, someone else translated into Khmer (Cambodian language). When I felt defeated and disappointed, a seasoned missionary said, “You’re the one who came into their country and their lives. Why should they learn English in order to understand you?”.

  • After a year on the mission field, someone asked me in one of the youth discipleship sessions- “Buddha and Jesus both speak about self-denial. Why not follow both?” It was a good chance to discuss the differences between the doctrines but I lost the opportunity because I did not have a thorough understanding of The Word and how to present it.

The aforementioned incidents, as well as a few more, made me realized that, while I had a strong desire to serve on the mission field, I might not have the necessary skill sets or mindset to succeed.

After that, I began devoting time to:

1. Studying God's Word in order to be prepared to respond when asked about my faith

2. Cross-cultural training, which included the following:

  • Learning the local language

  • Researching and comprehending local customs and culture

  • Communicate truth in a way that locals can comprehend

  • Train disciples and develop churches based on God's Word.


I knew I was on the right path when I found examples of preparation and equipping of Kingdom workers in the bible:

  • JESUS: Jesus became a man and grew up in a Jewish culture. He became one of them. He became one of us. Many years before He began preaching about The Kingdom of God, Jesus would be in the temple, sitting among teachers, listening to them and asking them questions (Luke 2:41-52).

  • The Twelve Disciples: These unschooled, ordinary men were schooled by Jesus Himself as seen in the 4 gospels before it launched them into ministry in Acts 2.

  • Apostle Paul: He grew up trained in the scriptures- Acts 5:34, understood Hebrew and Greek, and was well-versed in the customs of several ethnic groups. All of his skills, including his tentmaker profession (Acts 18:3), were put to use for the great commission once he met Christ.

Passion for mission (or missionary zeal) is wonderful place to start. However, it should be followed by training and equipping oneself with knowledge of God's Word as well as the cross-cultural context in which one would serve. To succeed in the mission field, this is critical.


“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work,”–2 Tim. 3:17

Note:

If you're interested in missions, there are various schools of missions you may enroll in (one of which is the Global School of Missions) that provide training in cross-cultural mission work tailored to your requirements.


-Coretta Christy

About the author: Coretta Christy is a missionary.

She left the software engineering field to pursue on God's heartbeat which is to take the gospel to the unreached. She has served in Cambodia for 5 years and is now actively mobilizing the church to send missionaries to the unreached.



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