I'll admit, that at times this felt like a cop-out because it's easy to see how much risk is involved in being an overseas missionary and think "yes, they are a better Christian than me." Or maybe, we weren't taking God's call serious enough, and we need to realize that yes, we are missionaries working for Christ, and not in a competition with our brothers and sisters to see who is better (Mark 10:35-45 comes to mind).
So, here we are in 2012 (after 8 years of marriage and ministry in the United Methodist Church). I've been a Pastor these past 8 years, and I'm finally coming back to the discussion that Shelley and I had at first. I'm turning over a new leaf as we are sent to a new place. I'm focusing on being a Missionary (and being a pastor may be part of that).
This is inspired partly by my home church pastor, Rev. Bob Farr, who recently said "we need more Methodist Missionaries, not pastors." I also have been inspired by the "Missional" movement, which I guess is the new term for Emergent Church (I guess because emergent has come to mean "liberal"--labels, who needs them?). Further inspiration comes from the church planting conferences I've been to.
With this renewed sense of calling, I'm realizing that I haven't had much training to be a missionary. I've had training in Preaching, Bible Study, Evangelism, Worship--all things a pastor needs. But I haven't been trained to be a missionary. I guess I'll have to research it myself. I plan to share what I find and experience here.
So far, I'm realizing that a key aspect of being a missionary (missional) is being sent. My wife and I are beginning a journey to a new place to be among a new group of people and become a part of a community that we don't know. It's exciting and intimidating. As much as we are sent by the United Methodist Church, more importantly, we are sent by God and in the name of Christ.