The Ideal Missionary


Throughout its history, The Christian and Missionary Alliance has been blessed with godly men and women who are committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. It’s often tempting to put them on a pedestal or to hold them to a stricter standard. But as the following essay reminds us, the ideal for missionaries is the same ideal for all Christians—at home or abroad.

What is your ideal of a missionary? He or she must be called of God, wholly sanctified, a person of prayer, of great faith, unworldly, indifferent to praise or blame, free from the everlasting struggle about self, with “a heart at leisure form itself, to soothe and sympathize.” Missionaries are not dependent on the world for happiness, indifferent as to what they eat, drink or wear, filled with a love for souls. . . . In short, the ideal missionary leads a supernatural life.

Where do you get this ideal? . . . You have the warrant of God’s Word. . . . Christ was the world’s first great missionary. He had nowhere to lay His head; despised and rejected, He was in the world and not of it. He pleased not Himself but laid down His life for others.

And the apostles? What marvelous missionaries they were! Beaten, imprisoned, hungered, rejected, suffering want, ever triumphing and rejoicing in God; not counting their lives dear; kept alive by the power of God; baptized with the Spirit; leading souls to Christ; witnessing before kings, etc. Your soul glows and your heart flows quicker as you read of these things and think of the possibilities. Today’s missionaries fulfill this ideal!

And now . . . would you like to hear the missionary’s ideal of home Christians? Christians at home realize that there is but one ideal laid down for foreign missionaries and for Christians who have not gone abroad. They see in the Word that all Christians should be (1) wholly sanctified; (2) people of prayer; (3) of great faith; (4) unworldly; (5) indifferent to praise or blame; (6) free from the everlasting struggle about selves, with hearts at leisure for others; (7) not dependent on the world for happiness; (8) indifferent as to what they will eat, drink or wear; (9) filled with a love for souls; (10) triumphing for the body. In short, living supernatural lives.

The missionaries’ hearts glows as they ponder the Word, and their blood flows quicker as they, too, see the possibilities. Home Christians are showing us how to do it. They have not a strange people, a strange tongue and a strange climate to battle with!

Happy is the missionary who, in times of conflict and temptation, is bolstered by the memory of a supernatural work in the life of some home Christian that enabled him to cry out, “God is no respecter of persons. I have seen it in the life of [this believer] at home. He will work it out through me. I will trust Him.”

—Adapted from “The Ideal Missionary,” written in 1900 by Mrs. Jennie Fuller, C&MA missionary to Western India

For more Alliance history, visit archives.cmalliance.org

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