In the latest issue of Gospel Operation (GO) periodical, the emphasis was placed on doing missions through professions, which has been in practice since long time ago, but was recently brought up as a major topic of discussion.
GO international executive director Rev. Cyrus Lam shared that traditional method of mobilizing mission staffs cannot satisfy even the minimum of talents needed in the mission field. In the past, churches and mission organizations are look for those who can fully dedicate themselves like seminary students, missionaries, pastors, and those in the similar circle to do missions. However, these types of workers only consist of 1% of the total population of believers.
Lam expressed that ministries should repent for having a narrow-minded attitude on the source of mission workers, and change to have an open mind in using the 99% of believers who currently holds a profession.
According to U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs statistics, around 320,000 Americans are working in the 10/40 windows. If the stats are right about the number of evangelicals among the Americans to be ¼ of the U.S. population, then there would be around 80,000 believers who have the potential to be mobilized, contributing to the work force in the mission field.
The believers who are doing missions through their professions can come from all fields including doctors, engineers, teachers, businessmen, maids, workers, etc.; as long as they have the heart of mission, then their profession can also become a pathway to build up a country.
Lam quoted the sayings of William Kerr, former C&MA mission’s leader, that if the normal believers are not mobilized, then the Great Commission can never be achieved.
Doing missions through professions has already began since the Old Testament period, many biblical figures served God while having a profession or talents; Abel was a shepherd, Joseph was the prime minister, Daniel was the chief executive of Babylon, Nehemiah was the administrative provincial head, etc.; in the New Testament, Priscilla, Aquila, and Paul were tent-makers, and Luke was a doctor, etc..
Furthermore, throughout history, numerous missionaries have pioneered the mission fields while having a profession, which includes the Nestorians who were mostly scholars and teachers and they later established schools and taught using the bible as the school texts; William Carey sold shoes besides doing missions; even the well-known Robert Morrison worked as a translator for the East India Company. As we can see, doing missions with a profession is something that has been in practice since long time ago.
Since many predecessors of faith have conducted effective missions while having a profession, Lam argued that today’s professions should be used even more efficiently. He said that the Chinese churches have many talents in the fields of technology, agriculture, computer, engineering, business, and etc. If these talents can be mobilized and used, then they can become the elites in the mission field and allow for the rapid development of the spread of the gospel.
Moreover, GO International vice president stated that doing missions through their professions is the place where most people invest their time. Christians can view this as “a field to devote in service” and “the contact point with the world.”
In addition, he commented that Christians should play the role as the salt and the light in their professional fields. “The typical professional fields often lack Christians, so they are the perfect match for Christians to be the salt and the light.”
However, he also shared the importance for Christians to do their best in their respective fields, so that God can be glorified and that the people served can benefit from the service. “If the mission goal is to satisfy the world, then we need to raise the standard of service to the highest level, so the finished product can both glorify God and benefit others.”
Taking his own experience in doing missions through his job as an example, he said that in the past 20 years of socializing, he never smoked nor drank alcohol, never committed frauds, never abused his special rights, and paid full attention to his work, which produced high quality and exceptional results that glorified the name of God and led many people to believe in the Lord.
Lastly, GO vice president encouraged the believers to accept God’s calling for them to conduct missions through their professions, “The professional field is our mission field.”
[Editor's note: reporter Sharon Chan from San Francisco contributed to this report.]