Mission fervor is constantly rising in our church. Four families have gone as long term missionaries and another family is waiting to go. About 30 people have committed to going to mission fields for at least 2 years.
Many factors have contributed to our church becoming a missions-minded church. I think the biggest is our system of naming house churches after the mission fields where their supporting missionaries work. As a result, the names of mission fields are constantly on our members’ lips. Also, members feel close to their missionaries because they pray for them every week at house church meetings. And we frequently listen to testimonies from visiting missionaries on Wednesday evenings. All of this helps our members be more aware of mission activities and commit themselves to becoming short and long term missionaries. The mission festivals we started 2 years ago also played a big role in helping people make commitments.
If you want to become a career missionary, you should do so before you turn 35. After that, it’s hard to learn the native language of the people you minister to. You must minister through interpreters, which makes preaching, teaching, and ministry in general very ineffective.
Our members who have committed to long term missions are relatively advanced in age. So they should not go to mission fields as missionaries proper but as assistants to missionaries, unless they are specially commissioned from IMB or Wycliffe. They should not seek leading roles but be satisfied with supporting roles.
They should consider themselves retirees who happen to reside in mission fields. The living cost in most countries is considerably lower than in the U.S. With the same pension, you can live more comfortably in mission countries. So you can consider yourself a retiree in a foreign country who helps missionaries.
An exemplary model is Brother Kwang Woo Park. As you know, he was a vice president at Arco, one of the biggest oil companies in the U.S. He was transferred to Houston and started to attend our church. Through the New Life Bible class, he realized that he had not been living as a genuine Christian, and he decided to receive Christ as his Lord and live the rest of his life as His servant. He was then promoted to a position that required frequent travel. He was faced with a dilemma: if he accepted the position he would miss Sunday services often and not have any time to do ministry. So he made the bold decision to choose early retirement over the promotion. He decided that helping my ministry is doing the Lord’s work, so he became my personal secretary, helping me with my traveling schedule and acting as a chauffeur. That was 6 years ago. Now he manages the entire church operation without pay. If it weren’t for him, I would not be able to do half the ministry I do now.
I hope that many people take early retirements and go to mission fields to become Brother Parks to missionaries.
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