Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and Missions. This is episode 75 of Missions on Point. We're in the middle of a five part series called Help, My Family Member is a missionary. I have tongue in cheek, also called it the Left Behind series. It's intended especially for those family members and loved ones of the missionaries that are going off to the field, but it definitely has application for those who are the caregivers, the church members and fellow believers of those that are left behind, as well as some instruction for the missionaries in aiding and facilitating that relationship across the miles. This third episode of five is learning the language of missions. Let me say right up front that there are other situations besides missionary work that take people away from their loved ones and family such as, being in the military and being deployed overseas.

Perhaps having a work assignment that takes you a long way away from home or even internationally having a major illness that requires isolation or quarantine or even an injury that restricts mobility and prevents your loved one from visiting. Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, there is that vacant hole in your heart for that person or that family that you want to resolve. Bitterness or resentment, passive resistance or active confrontation doesn't really solve the situation. It only hurts you. It's better to learn coping mechanisms and learning how to make lemonade from that lemony feeling of missing them. Certainly there are examples in scripture of the missionary leaving and people feeling that loss behind. Paul, certainly in a number of churches to whom he was especially beloved, had to leave them to go on in missionary work. He often left colleagues in a city for a duration of time in order for them to finish some work while he went on.

So this leaving for the sake of ministry, for the glory of God, for the expansion of the church, for following one's convictions to share the gospel with those who are unreached is a normal thing. For today's episode, Learning the Language of Missions, I'm basically talking about missions related terms and vocabulary. It's a glossary of missionary terms. Every specialized field has its own vocabulary that you have to learn in order to have facility and relationship and comprehension in that field. So what I'd like you to do today is mentally, at least, keep track of how many of these terms that you know. I'll give a term and a little definition or context and then move on. There are over a hundred of them today. Let's see how high you can score and maybe you want to share listening with someone else so that you can see how you score against each other.

The first area is missionary terms. One is missionary call, that's the story that a missionary has about how God led him or her into missions. The second term is term, that's the usual or normal duration of time that the missionary stays on the field before revisiting their home country. The third is support. This has to do with financial support or sponsorship of their missionary work. Four is furlough. Furlough is the old term. The more modern term is home assignment. That means a duration of time or period of time in which the missionary stays home in their home country before returning to the field, again. In the modern age of missions, missionaries generally stay on the field two to three years and come back for three to six months. Faith principle or faith support is the usual way that most missionaries receive their financial support in non-denominational mission agencies.

Evangelism is the simple process of sharing Christ and the gospel with unbelievers and eventually by God's grace seeing them come to faith. Discipleship is the stage in which you take believers and teach them and train them about the Christian life, about church, about worship and Bible study, encouraging them to become spiritually mature. Church planting is the process of beginning a church where there was not one previously. In most cases on the mission field, evangelism and discipleship are stepping stones to church planting. The term missionary refers to almost anyone who is going cross-culturally to serve the Lord for the purpose of missions. In many, we'll say limited access countries these days, we don't refer to them as missionaries, but workers. There's some good reasoning behind that, which we may get into in further terms in this podcast. National is a person who is from that country where the missionary serves.

The flip side of that is the missionary in that foreign country is an expatriate. That is, they're from outside the patriotism or the nationalism of the country in which they serve. The term apostle is sometimes used for missionaries, particularly when they're doing pioneering type of work for evangelism, discipleship, church, planting in a new area. They're not, capital a, apostles, but they're apostolic in being sent out to a pioneering type of area. Vernacular refers to the language of the people where the missionary worker lives. Indigenous is the term that refers to raising up nationals to do the work of ministry and not being dependent upon the expatriate missionary worker. Strategy refers to strategy in the normal sense, except that on the mission field it often takes some special characteristics and I would say every missionary has a strategy whether they have one thought out and written down or not.

Team is the cluster of expatriate missionary workers that your missionary works with and usually they recognize and understand each other as team and function together in some form or fashion. Short term ministry teams are those teams that come in for some short term. It may be a matter of days for a very specific thing or it could be a number of months, but usually it's not more than one year. Linguistics is the study of languages which is important to know both the science and the art, if you will, the practice of learning to speak another language. Language learning is that skillset through which the missionary learns the local language and hopefully becomes fluent enough to be able to explain the intangible truths of the Bible to the nationals that they come in contact with. Deputation or support raising or partnership development is that process by which the missionary appointee of a mission communicates and circulates among like-minded churches, friends, relatives, the vision for their ministry and their financial need in order to raise prayer and support in partnership of their ministry out on the field.

Prayer cards are those physical instruments that a missionary uses to hand out usually with a picture of themselves or their family on it and a little description of their field and some means of how to give to their ministry so that they can leave a reminder. Our refrigerator in our kitchen is filled with prayer cards of missionary friends. Project support is different than personal support because the missionary may be raising funds for a specific project or initiative for the field. Outfit and equipment is yet another fund often now called a launch fund so that the missionary has a little trust of money, so to speak, a balance in an account to help them set up and furnish a new apartment, home language study, the kind of things that they need to set up life on a foreign field. This next set of terms refers to the pay for a missionary.

What do they get paid? They usually have salary and benefits, which is commonly understood, but they also may have work funds or ministry funds which pay for the ministry aspects of what they're doing. Typically, missionaries make a lower salary than they would in the US, but they have other benefits, which includes the cost of repatriation or that is coming back to the states and getting back to the field again. Visa and immigration refers to that often highly bureaucratic process for the missionary acquiring legal status in the country of their service. Many countries have a category for a religious worker of some type, but that door is slowly closing around the world and now in many creative access type countries, they have to go through a long process to establish themselves as a businessman, a teacher or a student. Enculturation is also a long process that involves language learning, but it involves learning the culture behind the language that takes a lot of time, some specific study and coaching or counseling or training in order for them to become comfortable in the local culture.

The next category of terms are just general missions, terminology, mission or missions. There's a difference in the singular or the plural in today's world, and I actually discuss that in Missions On Point episodes 10 and 11 and often used term world evangelization refers to the proclamation of the gospel across all cultures of the world. The great commission often refers to those verses in the New Testament, in the gospels and in other places referring to that of Christ commissioning or commanding his disciples to go out and make disciples of all peoples of the earth. Community development or disaster relief usually refers to the means to an end of ultimately church planting, but it involves the common understanding of uplifting and supplying things for the local community in the face of poverty or absence of resources or natural disaster. The priority of evangelism is pretty self-explanatory. Limited access or creative access countries are those which require something other than a religious visa to be able to have a legal presence in the country.

Tent making is related to that and that is those missionaries who actually create a business that help bring in funds that help support the work as well as the business. Now we're going to change categories again to local church missions terminology and those involving the local church roles and responsibilities, and we're going to have to pick up the pace. The mission's budget is created by the church year by year based on whatever income they designed for missions. Faith Promise is one of the tools many churches use for annual pledges of individuals toward the mission's budget. Some churches use a cooperative program or a great commission funds or similar kinds of funds for their mission's budget. Mission's conference or global outreach conference is that annual event, celebrating and educating the congregation in what God is doing through them around the world, most churches will have a missions team or a global outreach team and have missions policies related to the handling of their funds and who they support.

It is the church's responsibility to produce missionaries. That is to identify those who are candidates and raise them up, train them, equip them to go out to the field. The church also has responsibility for prayer for sending that is primary sending of the home or sending church to go with others from their congregation to support, to shepherd counsel, educate the congregation, hold the missionary accountable and participate in missionary care even all the way up to the point of retirement. Most mission studies fall within about five categories, biblical missions, historical missions, cultural factors, strategic or strategy of missions, and a people group focus. That is individual ethnicities around the world. Roughly, there are 12,000 ethnicities around the world, 6,000 of which have not been reached adequately with the gospel, and 3000 of those have no representative of the gospel living in their midst to proclaim the gospel to them.

We call those, unreached people groups or unengaged, unreached people groups. The next category is mission agency terms. When someone applies to missions, they become a candidate. When they go through the process to be accepted into the mission, they become an appointee. When they do deputation to raise funds and raise the funds, then they become a member and they're assigned an allocation that is to a field or a team or specific geographical area. Every mission requires some kind of a support schedule and a quota to allow the missionary to go to the field. Every field presence of a mission agency usually has some kind of national church partnership and they have a process for special projects approval. They also have headquarters administration, field administration, and perhaps team administration, so that's the chain of command. Every missionary agency has to deal with currency, exchange of foreign currencies and transmission of funds internationally.

There is also this process of visa acquisition and a significant part of field ethics and morality. Some of the large issues you'll hear about from missionaries are family issues, perhaps something about spiritual warfare, and ultimately the occasional touch with the risk of or actual martyrdom that is death on the field due to their Christian life and testimony. So how did you do? If you want to really relate to your missionary friend or loved one, you've got to learn the language of missions. I just want to give a shout-out and thank those who give to make this podcast possible. Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I trust that you'll find more help and resources on the website, Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.

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