The Mind of a Missionary: Jackie Pullinger

1024 538 David Joannes

Global Kingdom worker: Jackie Pullinger

Role in The Mind of a Missionary: She appears in section two: Expectations, chapter five: Social Influence.

Dates: 1944—present

Location of missions work: Hong Kong

Known for: Jackie Pullinger is a British Protestant Christian charismatic missionary to Hong Kong and founder of the St Stephen’s Society. She has been ministering among drug addicts in Hong Kong since 1966.

Famous quotes: “The principle of the Gospel is this: the Gospel always brings life to the receiver, and death to the giver.”1

“God wants us to have soft hearts and hard feet. The trouble with so many of us is that we have hard hearts and soft feet.”

“The desperately poor are not going to come to us to hear the Good News. We have to go to them.”

In The Mind of a Missionary, section two: Expectations, chapter five: Social Influence, you will be challenged to deviate from socially accepted norms and thrive in your missional calling. You will learn about normative social influence, conformity, and groupthink, and how society expects you to remain in the status quo. The Asch conformity test reveals how common it is to give in to social pressure, even when we know we ought not conform. Paul urges us not “to conform to the pattern of this world, but be “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Jackie Pullinger’s countercultural ministry to street sleepers, prostitutes, pimps, and drug addicts in the Walled City of Hong Kong will broaden your horizons. You will be encouraged to go forth as missional warriors and noble maidens to slay the dragons that ensnare unfortunate souls.

 

Only by a cross does the world truly change and the only way to the cross is by nonconformity.2

 

Jackie’s first visit to the Kowloon Walled City brought her through a narrow gap between outside shops where she started down “a slime-covered passageway.” “I will never forget the darkness and the smell—a fetid smell of rotten foodstuffs, excrement, offal, and general rubbish. The darkness was startling after the glaring sunlight outside.”3

She strode gingerly through the dank, labyrinthine corridors so as not to puncture her foot on the shattered glass or one of the many discarded needles. Splatters of blood lined the damp floor and mingled with human feces. She continued through the maze of walkways. She passed a plastic flower factory on her right; on her left, an old prostitute huddled at the threshold of a darkened doorway. Aged, ugly, and no longer able to turn tricks, she employed several child prostitutes, one of whom Jackie determined to be mentally handicapped. She walked on, head down, in case someone chose to empty their chamber pot from an overhead window. Her eyes grew wide at each appalling sight in the multi-storied slum: an illegal dog restaurant, pornographic film-show house, gambling dens, and dingy corners crowded with heroin addicts.

 

Jesus called us to deviate from what culture generally accepts as normal. He commissioned us as His righteous deviants to declare the praises of a God who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.4

 

Jackie Pullinger spent years pursuing the unruly dragon in the City of Darkness. Her initial presence seemed laughable. What can one young woman accomplish? the dragon must have thought. But days turned to weeks and months to years, and the unassuming warrior would not cease her efforts. The dragon thrashed inside the Walled City, stunned and enraged by his pursuer. His body coiled; his claws loosened their clutches on his prized possessions. The fire-breathing monster’s tail writhed and flailed, tearing against the walls of his lair. The cracks became fractures; a breach had been made. Rays of light streamed into the heart of the city, and the dragon’s eyes dilated. His seething shrieks could be heard for miles. The dragon’s kingdom was about to cave in on itself.

Nonconformity to the ways of the world does not infer that we oppose every aspect of our cultural context. Jesus did not arbitrarily push against the current of His culture like a resentful zealot. Instead, He swam against the cultural streams that did not align with God’s Kingdom values. Culture in and of itself glorifies God just as a painting glorifies its painter. Every culture is a masterpiece stamped with the unique features of its Creator. God affirms, strengthens, and perfects the parts of culture that are already in line with His, and converts the elements that are not.

 

The more you yield to the influence of God’s Kingdom the easier it is to deviate from the adverse currents of popular culture. The naysayers may remain, and your negative internal monologue will endure. But as you set your mind on Heavenly thoughts, the power of social influence wanes.5

 

Day by day, the world seeks to usher you deeper along the currents of pop culture; it attempts to skew your perspective of Kingdom values and merge them with an earthly modus operandi. But the vox populi is not the voice of God; the opinions of the majority do not necessarily reflect the values of the Kingdom. As a Christian in the state of “not of, but sent into” the world, you confront this culture clash round-the-clock. Thankfully, God enables you to overcome the world’s influence by the power of His Spirit; He gives you the mind of Christ and sends you into the earth to shine the light of His glory.

 

God is not looking for mindless gears in the missionary machine, but passionate lovers who seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. He is not looking for “payback” from His people in the form of reluctant obedience. God is relational above all else; His love propels and sustains His followers.6

 

Jackie Pullinger paid little heed to the generally accepted social norms; the righteous deviant overstepped boundaries to be the light of the world in dismal surroundings. Instead of skirting around the unfortunate victims, she paused for people like a good Samaritan. In chapter five of The Mind of a Missionary, you will recognize that God calls you to display His glory in the dark places of the earth. Only the radical go forth to fight against the darkness, slay dragons, and return with the fortunes of war. So onward, missional warriors! Advance, noble maidens! There are other dragons to be slayed.

 

The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today by David Joannes

 

Books/resources:

Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens by Jackie Pullinger
Crack in the Wall: Life & Death in Kowloon Walled City by Jackie Pullinger

Books/resources referenced in chapter five of The Mind of a Missionary:

Social Influence: Crash Course Psychology #38
Opinions and Social Pressure by Solomon E. Asch
Let’s Revise the Popular Phrase “In, But Not Of” by David Mathis
Life Inside The Most Densely Populated Place On Earth [Infographic] by Dan Nosowitz
The Need for a New Missions Paradigm by Sarita Hartz

  1. A sermon entitled “Dying” presented by Jackie Pullinger at Church of Our Saviour, Singapore https://youtu.be/fKFq_RS6bdw
  2. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter five: Social Influence
  3. Jackie Pullinger, Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens, page 39, Hodder and  Stoughton, 1980
  4. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter five: Social Influence
  5. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter five: Social Influence
  6. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter five: Social Influence