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The Missionary Controversy

Pushing Past the Debate into Overflow Living


Have you ever had a simple question and, after consulting Google, found the answer was anything but simple?


That recently happened to me. I was working on a project and thought I ought to Google, “Who is a missionary?”. My church tradition has always spoken to the idea that every Christian is a missionary. Simply….


Christian = Missionary


To my surprise, not everyone (actually most of my friends on Google) do not. So, after calling my sister to share my complete shock and irritation that so many missiologists and dictionaries could be so wrong, I decided to learn more about their ideas. Guess what? I began to see their point of view. I can understand that, by calling a 15-year-old who is spending a week in the inner-city a missionary, it can be damaging to the world’s understanding of what a long-term, international missionary does. That it can diminish the sacrifices, they endure to share the gospel message.


That said, I don’t want to let go of the idea that, as Christians, we need to be living a missional life.




Here are my thoughts…


Let the missiologists, theologians, and linguists do the hard work of defining the work of a missionary in today’s global world. Meanwhile, we Jesus followers can continue to live Overflow Lives.




The idea comes from 2 Corinthians 9:12

“Our delight in God overflows in service in our Church, Neighborhoods and Around the World “


It is intentional living that starts and ends with worship. We believe we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but apart from a deep, passionate relationship with Him, this is impossible. So what does this look like in everyday life? It means we actively pursue the presence of God and allow His love to overflow out of us in the form of sharing the gospel message, and caring for our neighbors and those in need around the world.


Interested in learning more on the subject of is “Is everyone a missionary?” then check out “The Mission Table” by


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© Overflowing Ministries

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