The Importance of Being A Totally Incarnational Missionary

The Importance of Being A Totally Incarnational Missionary

 Kevin E. Jesmer 9-10-13



John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory

                    as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (ESV)

A friend of mine is a Christian missionary to an Asian country. This person teaches English and in my humble opinion, is practicing incarnational ministry. This person is embracing the culture and making a life long commitment to the people and this person is accepted into the culture and able to preach the Gospel among the people. The ministry is very fruitful. Look at what this missionary says about English teachers who don’t want to embrace the culture they serve…

“In (an Asian country) everybody wants to learn English. Every school wants English teachers. The reality is they can’t fire them fast enough, then whine they can’t find any English teachers anywhere. In (an Asian country) all schools have a dominant culture whether it is Turkish, Korean, Mongolian or something else. The English teachers are all aliens to these cultures and do not observe the dominant culture (Confucianist 5 relationships, Turkish Moslem observance of Ramadan, etc.). Even the students who are members of the dominant culture disrespect the native English speakers. English teachers are despised and rejected people. There are schools that advertise they are “the best English school in (This Asian country)”, but none of them have more than maybe 2-3 native English speakers at one time, because they are aliens. So in all schools the only teachers who are recognized/survive are teachers who observe the entire native culture. As a result I haven’t seen one English teacher who has lasted more than 3 years in one school. Something to think about when engaging in any cross-cultural ministry or anything really.” (9-8-13)

A person who wishes to be a missionary to another culture must make their dwelling among the people and become one with the people. Then Jesus can communicate the gospel through  them.  The problem comes when we don’t want to let go and let God lead us to where he wants. This about Abraham’s call in Genesis 12:1-4, Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”  (ESV) Abraham’s foray into a new land is a reflection of Jesus’ becoming flesh and coming to dwell among us. Abraham’s obedience to the missionary call serves as a model of incarnational missionary life. He was a blessed person.

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