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Forty-eighty Facts a Missionary Needs to Know for Effective Service 

 in Africa and in other Parts of the World

(You can find this to appendix A of my book)

1. A missionary is called to imitate Christ the Eternal Son of God who became man

(Jn. 1:14) to save man from sin.

2. He should be like the Apostle Paul who became “all things to all men” (see 1 Cor.

9:19-23) in order to win some to Christ.

3. Growing disciples and churches is similar to growing crops; it is a continual

process and requires caring.

4. Jesus used agricultural parables (Mt.13:3-9) to illustrate principles of the

Kingdom of God and the Gospel; the missionary should also learn about the

culture and religion of his host country for proper contextualization of the


5. A missionary is called to work diligently like a farmer (2 Tm. 2:6-7) while

ultimately trusting the Lord for the harvest.

6. As a spiritual priest in Christ, the missionary has direct access to God (Rom. 5:2;

Eph; 2:18) as he offers spiritual sacrifices to Him, declaring the Gospel by word

and deed (1 Pt. 2:12).

7. Their labor in Christ’s service will face many obstacles and hindrances due to the

dire effects of the Fall, and opposition from the devil, but victory is certain in


8. The remedy of the Adamic curse and God’s blessing comes through faith in Jesus

Christ, and only then as the curse fell on Christ on His cross.

9. The Great Commission is like commencing a shifting cultivation farming system.

It requires finding the right farmland, clearing it, plowing, sowing seeds,

nurturing them, harvesting, and securing those crops in the barn through the

power of the Holy Spirit. These principles can be applied to every area of life and


10. Man is being controlled by his own inventions. The truth is, any decision without

God has always been detrimental to mankind. The only solution is to return to

God and His principles.

11. God’s “grace” started in the Garden of Eden with the protevangelium (Gn. 3:15)

and was illustrated when God provided the typical covering for our first parents

(Gn. 3:21).

12. Imitate Christ in understanding the languages, parables, metaphors, stories,

religions and cultures of the men and countries to which you are sent.

13. The missionary’s responsibility is to plant the seeds profusely and

indiscriminately, and then leave the results with God.

14. Like farmers, missionaries must seek for God’s wisdom (Is. 28:26), be diligent

(Prv. 27:23-27; Eccl. 11:6, and be joyful in working hard for the Lord – toil (2

Tm. 2:6) and be patient in waiting.

15. Understanding cross-cultural communication is an important key to

effectiveness in intercultural ministry – the Good News must have meaning to

the people with whom we minister.

16. Here is the pertinent truth for missionaries: “… not by might nor by power, but

by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zec. 4:6).

17. As growing and harvesting are perpetual processes, likewise Growing

Missionaries Biblically is a continual process for the world and the people to

whom they minister.

18. God demands that the carrier of the promise give up any control or claim on the

promise and leave the future of the promise with God.

19. The nature of Messianic prophecy is progressive; each prophecy casts more

light on the subject. For example:

  • The Messiah is to be born of a woman (Gn. 3:15),
  • He would come through the line of Shem (Gn. 9:6);
  • Specifically through Abraham (Gn. 22:18);
  • Isaiah presents the Messiah as a suffering Anointed One (Is. 53:1ff), and
  • The four great Servant Songs of Isaiah all present the servant as an individual who ministers to Israel and the nations (42:1-7-7; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12).

20. Biblically, it is evident that the Anointed One’s terrible ordeal of suffering is

but the necessary prelude to infinite glory.

21. The redemptive-historical progressive thread from the “covering” of our first

parents was culminated in the “uncovering” of our Lord Jesus on the Cross of


22.The unity of language that man had lost (Gn. 11:1), because of pride, will be

restored in Christ when He returns. Until then, missionaries are to preach Christ

as the center of every achievement and also learn the language of the people.

23.The key message for missionaries is to preach/teach faith in Jesus Christ alone

as our atoning substitute and risen savior.

24. God has been reaching the world in many ways throughout history.

25. It is certainly not wrong for missionaries to have formal seminary education,

but a sound knowledge of theology without implementation is useless.

26. The focus of missionaries should be on the going, the making disciples,

baptizing and teaching people to obey Christ’s commands as indicated in the

Great Commission.

27. If God wants a person to “go” and he is holding back, God can send him into the

field like He did with Jonah, or through some sort of persecution or problem.

28. God removed the covering of Adam in Christ on the cross and thereby is

reconciling man and giving him the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-20).

29. A missionary is one who is sent on God’s Mission (Missio Dei); by definition, he

is an apostle, called by God and affirmed by a local church for service globally.

30. A missionary is to be saturated and commissioned with the orthodox message

of the Gospel; he is to be faithful both biblically and theologically. Like an

ambassador of a foreign country who represents his king and country in theory

and practice, a missionary should be a true representative of Christ wherever

he is sent.

31. Every country loves its own culture and practices; missionaries should respect

them, who they are, with the objective of winning them to Christ, if they are to

be effective cross-cultural ministers.

32. Christians are engaged in a spiritual battle – all believers find themselves

subject to Satan’s attacks because they are no longer on Satan’s side. They are

sent as sheep among wolves; hence, they should be wise as serpents and

innocent like doves.

34. African thought patterns are different from Western thought patterns. A man in

the West is dichotomistic and his philosophical bent is pragmatic rationalism.

Africans are holistic in their approach to life. Africans are not interested in

dissecting truth and life and peering within. They tend to be more experiential

in their worldview and relational in their outreach.

35. The communication style in Africa can vary considerably across the continent,

depending on the language, culture, and tradition. Some issues are decided by

men only, others by women only, and still others by men and women together.

One thing is certain, however, no matter where you go in Africa, decisions are

not made on the spot but rather take some time to reach through consensus.

36. The Western concept of “majority rule” is foreign to many parts of Africa. This

may be one of the sources of much civil unrest in African countries that are now

practicing democracy.

37. A bicultural missionary will be able to discern when and where to use a majority

rule principle and where to choose consensus. Majority rule is best practiced

among the Western educated classes and the consensus approach would work

well among the indigenous people in African villages and towns.

38. Africans are also event oriented. In the time-oriented cultures, everyone is

programmed by time in their daily activities.

39. There are two ways to handle crisis management: (1) crisis orientation and (2)

non-crisis orientation. A crisis-oriented culture (Western nations) would take

proactive measures in anything while a noncrisis-oriented society (Africans and

other developing countries) would just walk by faith.

40. The issue of goal setting andtask-orientation versus person-orientation:

Africans, Asians and other countries are person-oriented countries. Western

nations are task-oriented. Note the major difference in their thought patterns

and adjust yourself accordingly.

41. Adaptation to how each culture is wired in terms of thought patterns, time,

judgment, handling crises, and goal setting is indispensably essential for

effective cross-cultural ministry.

42. A bicultural missionary will not equate his culture with Christianity and will, with

discernment, know the practices in the culture he serves that can easily be

incorporated and assimilated into Christianity. Every culture is under the

Lordship of Christ.

43. The way to an African’s heart is through his children. A wise missionary should

make sure to affectionately greet their children as they come around to visit.

44. There is a major warfare between creationism and evolutionism globally. A

complete knowledge of this debate is important for the missionary to defend

the truth of the Bible.

45. Be sensitive to the dos and don’ts of each culture. Watch out for the dress code

in the country where you serve and follow the rules of hospitality of the people.

46. Privacy is foreign in many African countries. Missionaries will always have

uninvited guests show up at their homes – so they should learn to be patient and

smile at them.

47. Be aware that once you cross the societal border, you are out of your cultural

comfort zone. The old adage says rightly, “When in Rome, do as the Romans

do.” Disrespecting the host culture creates chaos and rejection of the Gospel; no

culture is inferior.

48. Growing Missionaries Biblically is only possible when the missionaries are filled

with the Holy Spirit and receive the required biblical, theological, and cross-

cultural education.

To purchase this book, go to the home page, and you can either buy an author-signed copy or from Amazon.

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