Why are missionaries drawn to their work? Most would answer that their consuming passion is to share the gospel, in obedience to Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations. And they would probably recoil at any suggestion of earning fame, glory, or honor for themselves.
For good reason, missionaries tend to resist thinking of missionary service as something that might bring any kind of reward, apart from the inherent satisfaction of leading others to Christ. In Mission Affirmed: Recovering the Missionary Motivation of Paul, Elliot Clark draws on the apostle and his letters to the Corinthians to suggest that the pursuit of rewards isn’t necessarily out of place.
Clark, who works with Training Leaders International, reminds readers that Paul wasn’t content merely to reach more people with the gospel—he also sought God’s approval of his work. A missionary’s willingness to sacrifice in service to God, he argues, isn’t just a matter of denying oneself for the sake of the mission. These sacrifices also anticipate the moment of Christ’s return, when workers in the harvest will be repaid according to their labors (1 Cor. 3:8). Clark wants to restore a sense that missionaries should fervently seek God’s praise.
The book, however, is not limited to the question of missionary motivations. Clark addresses several contemporary issues in missions, making the book relevant not only to missionaries in the field but also to students of cross-cultural missions, mission leaders, and local churches. Between his training in cross-cultural mission, his education at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, his years of experience planting churches in Central Asia, and his travels around the ...1
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