What Do Missionaries Do?

Missionaries go into a community to teach about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. Missionary work depends on where the individual or group of missionaries are going (international or local communities). At the very least, a missionary’s first responsibility is to God, then to his or her church or missions agency.

What Are the Duties of a Missionary?

A missionary may perform his or her work through formal teaching in a classroom or religious setting or through informal communication. Many missionaries perform acts of community building. The particular missions goal may depend on the skill set and education of the missionaries.

A missionary with a background in education, for example, may serve as a teacher in another country. Missionaries with construction experience may use their skills and knowledge to help a community in need of building infrastructure.

The most important duty of missionaries to teach people about Jesus Christ, and His great commandment to love God and to love others. This means ensuring that their actions not only fulfill a need but also are sustained after they have left the community. Many missionaries focus on the needs of the communities they are serving and integrate those needs with evangelism.

What Different Kinds of Missionaries Are There?

The two basic kinds of missionaries are long term and short term. Long-term missionaries dedicate years of their lives to the communities they serve and become part of those places. Short-term missionaries may dedicate their time to one project and then leave. Both are effective in different ways. A long-term missionary conveys that the church is dedicated to the community and helping the people.  A short-term missionary may fulfill a support role for reaching this same goal.

There are also local missionaries and international missionaries. Domestic missionaries often work in shelters, soup kitchens, health clinics and other organizations or places that fulfill the needs of a disadvantaged community. Missionaries address these issues while also integrating their faith into their actions.

Missionaries who work in other countries have a similar set of responsibilities, though they must contend with different cultural practices and language barriers. Foreign missionaries live in and learn the culture of a community in order to better meet their needs and share the gospel.

How Do I Become a Missionary?

Many missionaries begin their career by serving in their home church. They build relationships within their own community and then transition into larger endeavors.

Some missionaries find work through their local church, while others join national or international organizations. Many short-term opportunities can be found through local churches, while international and long-term missions opportunities are funded by larger organizations.

Though there is no specific level of education or experience required, the kind of missionary work that is right for individuals is based on their skill sets and background. An individual who speaks fluent French, for example, may consider looking for opportunities in French-speaking countries. A nurse or doctor may consider missions that focus on health.

Of course, a thorough knowledge of Christianity and strong communication skills are two of the most important qualities a missionary should have.