Forty-eighty Facts a Missionary Needs to Know for Effective Service in Africa and in other Parts of the World
(You can find this to appendix A of my book)
missionary is called to imitate Christ the Eternal Son of God who became man
1:14) to save man from sin.
2. He should be like the Apostle Paul who became “all things to all men” (see 1 Cor.
9:19-23) in order to
win some to Christ.
3. Growing disciples and
churches is similar to growing crops; it is a continual
process and requires
4. Jesus used agricultural parables (Mt.13:3-9)
to illustrate principles of the
of God and the Gospel;
the missionary should also learn about the
culture and religion of his host
country for proper contextualization of the
5. A missionary is called
to work diligently like a farmer (2 Tm. 2:6-7) while
ultimately trusting the
Lord for the harvest.
6. As a spiritual priest
in Christ, the missionary has direct access to God (Rom. 5:2;
Eph; 2:18) as he offers
spiritual sacrifices to Him, declaring the Gospel by word
and deed (1 Pt.
7. Their labor in Christ’s
service will face many obstacles and hindrances due to the
dire effects of the
Fall, and opposition from the devil, but victory is certain in
8. The remedy of the
Adamic curse and God’s blessing comes through faith in Jesus
Christ, and only then as the curse fell on Christ on His
9. The Great Commission is
like commencing a shifting cultivation farming system.
It requires finding the
right farmland, clearing it, plowing, sowing seeds,
nurturing them, harvesting,
and securing those crops in the barn through the
power of the Holy Spirit.
These principles can be applied to every area of life and
10. Man is being controlled
by his own inventions. The truth is, any decision without
God has always been
detrimental to mankind. The only
solution is to return to
God and His principles.
11. God’s “grace” started in the Garden of Eden
with the protevangelium (Gn. 3:15)
and was illustrated when God provided
the typical covering for our first
12. Imitate Christ in
understanding the languages, parables, metaphors, stories,
religions and cultures
of the men and countries to which you are sent.
13. The missionary’s
responsibility is to plant the seeds profusely and
indiscriminately, and then leave the results with God.
14. Like farmers,
missionaries must seek for God’s wisdom (Is. 28:26), be diligent
27:23-27; Eccl. 11:6, and be joyful in working hard for the Lord – toil (2
2:6) and be patient in waiting.
cross-cultural communication is an important key to
intercultural ministry – the Good News
must have meaning to
the people with whom we minister.
16. Here is the pertinent
truth for missionaries: “… not by might
nor by power, but
by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zec. 4:6).
17. As growing and
harvesting are perpetual processes, likewise Growing
Missionaries Biblically is
a continual process for the world and the people to
whom they minister.
18. God demands that the
carrier of the promise give up any control or claim on the
promise and leave
the future of the promise with God.
19. The nature of Messianic
prophecy is progressive; each prophecy casts more
light on the subject. For
Messiah is to be born of a woman (Gn.
would come through the line of Shem (Gn. 9:6);
through Abraham (Gn. 22:18);
presents the Messiah as a suffering Anointed One (Is. 53:1ff), and
four great Servant Songs of Isaiah all present the servant as an individual who
ministers to Israel
and the nations (42:1-7-7; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).
20. Biblically, it is
evident that the Anointed One’s terrible ordeal of suffering is
necessary prelude to infinite glory.
21. The redemptive-historical
progressive thread from the “covering” of our first
parents was culminated in
the “uncovering” of our Lord Jesus on the Cross of
22.The unity of language
that man had lost (Gn. 11:1), because of pride, will be
restored in Christ when
He returns. Until then, missionaries are
to preach Christ
as the center of every achievement and also learn the language
of the people.
23.The key message for
missionaries is to preach/teach faith in Jesus Christ alone
as our atoning
substitute and risen savior.
24. God has been reaching
the world in many ways throughout history.
25. It is certainly not
wrong for missionaries to have formal seminary education,
but a sound knowledge
of theology without implementation is useless.
26. The focus of
missionaries should be on the going, the making disciples,
teaching people to obey Christ’s commands as indicated in the
27. If God wants a person
to “go” and he is holding back, God can send him into the
field like He did
with Jonah, or through some sort of persecution or problem.
28. God removed the covering
of Adam in Christ on the cross and thereby is
reconciling man and giving him
the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-20).
29. A missionary is one who is sent on God’s Mission
(Missio Dei); by definition, he
is an apostle,
called by God and affirmed by a local church for service globally.
30. A missionary is to be
saturated and commissioned with the orthodox message
of the Gospel; he is to be
faithful both biblically and theologically. Like an
ambassador of a foreign
country who represents his king and country in theory
and practice, a
missionary should be a true representative of Christ wherever
he is sent.
31. Every country loves its
own culture and practices; missionaries should respect
them, who they are, with
the objective of winning them to Christ, if they are to
32. Christians are engaged
in a spiritual battle – all believers find themselves
subject to Satan’s
attacks because they are no longer on Satan’s side. They are
sent as sheep
among wolves; hence, they should be wise as serpents and
innocent like doves.
34. African thought
patterns are different from Western thought patterns. A man in
the West is
dichotomistic and his philosophical bent is pragmatic rationalism.
Africans are holistic in their approach to
life. Africans are not interested in
dissecting truth and life and peering within. They tend to be more experiential
in their worldview and relational in their outreach.
35. The communication style
in Africa can vary considerably across the
depending on the language, culture, and tradition. Some issues are decided by
men only, others
by women only, and still others by men and women together.
One thing is
certain, however, no matter where you go in Africa,
not made on the spot but rather take some time to reach through
36. The Western concept of
“majority rule” is foreign to many parts of Africa. This
may be one of the sources of much civil
unrest in African countries that are now
37. A bicultural missionary
will be able to discern when and where to use a majority
rule principle and
where to choose consensus. Majority rule
is best practiced
among the Western educated classes and the consensus approach
well among the indigenous people in African villages and towns.
38. Africans are also event
oriented. In the time-oriented cultures, everyone is
programmed by time in
their daily activities.
39. There are two ways to
handle crisis management: (1) crisis orientation and (2)
orientation. A crisis-oriented culture (Western nations) would take
measures in anything while a noncrisis-oriented society (Africans and
developing countries) would just walk by faith.
40. The issue of goal
setting andtask-orientation versus
Africans, Asians and other countries are person-oriented
task-oriented. Note the major difference
in their thought patterns
and adjust yourself accordingly.
41. Adaptation to how each
culture is wired in terms of thought patterns, time,
judgment, handling crises,
and goal setting is indispensably essential for
42. A bicultural missionary
will not equate his culture with Christianity and will, with
the practices in the culture he serves that can easily be
assimilated into Christianity. Every
culture is under the
Lordship of Christ.
43. The way to an African’s
heart is through his children. A wise missionary should
make sure to
affectionately greet their children as they come around to visit.
44. There is a major
warfare between creationism and evolutionism globally. A
complete knowledge of
this debate is important for the missionary to defend
the truth of the Bible.
45. Be sensitive to the dos and don’ts of each culture.
Watch out for the dress code
in the country where you serve and follow
the rules of hospitality of the people.
46. Privacy is foreign in
many African countries. Missionaries will always have
uninvited guests show up
at their homes – so they should learn to be patient and
smile at them.
47. Be aware that once you
cross the societal border, you are out of your cultural
comfort zone. The old adage says rightly, “When in Rome, do as the Romans
do.” Disrespecting the host culture creates chaos and rejection of the Gospel; no
culture is inferior.
48. Growing Missionaries
Biblically is only possible when the missionaries are filled
with the Holy
Spirit and receive the required biblical, theological, and cross-
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