One of the reasons I do not often use the term “missionary” in describing myself is because the word has become synonymous with misconceptions of what a missionary is and does.

I now call myself a Missional Starter and Artistic Creative, because the historical style of missions is changing dramatically as new strategies for reaching unreached peoples emerge.

The term “missionary” must be explained further depending upon cross cultural circumstances, restrictions in certain countries, and the roles of a missionary.

That’s why I like what Steve Moore, CEO of Missio Nexus, says about adding an extra suffix on the word “missionary”. He says we should consider ourselves “missionary blanks”, filling in the blank with a defining word to describe the gifts and callings that God has given to each one. In this way, whether you are called to go overseas or to stay on the home front, we can all play our part in reaching unreached people groups—the final frontier of missions.

The Christian Post interviewed Steve Moore. This is what he had to say.


Christian Post: What counsel would you give to a young person saying they want to become a missionary?

Steve Moore: Well, typically I would say there is no such thing as just a missionary. I would say there are only missionary blanks. And then you fill in the blanks—so you are a missionary church planter, you’re a missionary educator, you’re a missionary doctor, or a missionary translator, or whatever you are.

When you fill in the blank, you’ll know a lot more about what other training you need in order to be effective. But regardless of what goes in the blank, what we know is the need for a foundation of godly character that is rooted in the Bible and you are going to need to understand what your spiritual gifts are, what are the Kingdom resources God has put inside of you.

So start there, and focus on the development of godly character rooted in the Scripture. Focus on identifying and developing and using the spiritual gifts and talents and skills God has given you. And the more you do that, the more likely you’ll figure out what is in the blank.

And then you’ll know what professional training you need to be effective where God wants you to go.

Some people today are like missionary engineers, or missionary computer programmers, and they’re fulfilling that cross-cultural mission by working in a multi-national company or starting a company of their own.

So the big difference is that there is increasing opportunities for people to fulfill the calling to serve God cross-culturally, without having to go through the more traditional mission structure that we had in the past.


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So what’s in your blank? Fill in this statement: “I am a missionary ______.”

Use your God-given gifts and talents to reach the unreached people groups who are still waiting at the other end of your obedience.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global

David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.

  • Nick Papagiorgio

    I am a missionary dater

    • Well, I guess that’s a better blank than it could have been!

    • Richard

      Naw God says no to that one in 2 Corinthians 6:14 LOL

      • I have to say, I was expecting a few more ideas to emerge on the missionary blank idea. Looks like we got stuck right here lol!

  • Stacey Minor

    Missionary psalmist, to me this is someone who goes into places and invites the Holy Spirit to start moving, bringing Heaven to earth, breaking down walls and breaking through the strongholds the enemy has placed there, bringing peace and light and joy and love.

    • Stacey, now THAT is an awesome “blank”! And a necessary one as well. Thanks for commenting.

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