When missionaries visit our churches, we should encourage and care for them (see 3 John 5-8), but how does the church profit from the presence of missionaries? Consider three tremendous benefits:
1. Missionaries remind us that Christ is building His church from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9).
Missionaries encourage us to look beyond ourselves to the nations. They direct our thoughts to the Savior of the world.
We need to hear about the spread of the gospel in places like Japan or Zambia or Russia or among the Northern Dong in China, because certain things like the following result: (1) Our prayers become more focused on God’s worldwide purposes. (2) The way we use our money is often shifted away from selfish endeavors to God’s work. (3) We are led to praise our great God whose work of redemption cannot be thwarted.
2. Missionaries help us to love and depend on Jesus more than the luxuries of this world.
Most of us enjoy numerous luxuries. Missionaries are usually not so comfortable. I have met many who have computers that are excruciatingly slow. Some are used to losing their electricity—it’s a way of life. Others have to struggle daily for clean drinking water.
What do they have? They have the gospel. They have their dear Savior who strengthens them and uses them in great ways. They have a living faith in Christ. Should we really wonder why God is blessing them despite their amateurish abilities with technology? And is it any wonder why they have such joy?
Invite some missionaries to your church, listen to their testimonies, and your love for your Savior will increase. The luxuries of this world will not seem so great. And you will be reminded of what is truly necessary to reach a lost world for Christ: the presence of the Holy Spirit and the powerful gospel. Computers and electricity are blessings, but they never saved anybody!
3. Missionaries inspire great sacrifice.
Missionary biographies are inspirational, but there is something special about face-to-face contact with a missionary. To see their expressions of joy for what God is doing, or to hear a story that brings tears to their eyes, is motivating. They will at least encourage us to reach the lost in our own community—even those who don’t look and/or talk like we do and who have a significantly different cultural heritage than our own. Perhaps some in our churches, through the sharing and teaching of a missionary, will be called by God to take the gospel to an unreached people. Maybe He will call you.
Think about what hosting missionaries might do for our children. Our boys and girls should hear often from us that following Christ is costly. Hopefully they see that it is costing us something. Definitely they will learn from these missionaries that personal sacrifice is part of what it means to follow Christ. Missionaries may have a saving influence upon our children because their sacrificial lives proclaim the credibility of the gospel.
Furthermore, a missionary may be the instrument God uses to lead a child of ours to lose his life for Christ in a dangerous land. Some parents may think that’s a reason not to have missionaries visit their church! However, we would be foolish to hold our children back, because Jesus will be with them (Matthew 28:20), and He promised, “Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:35).
Make it a regular practice of your church to host missionaries. They will be helped, and so will you.
Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth. (3 John 8)