By: Dr. Verne Ward, Global Missions Director, Church of the Nazarene
Who is a missionary?
Retirees Paul and Carolyn Wheelock are finance experts. For three to 12 months at a time, they assist different regions with audits or financial work. They raise financial support for their travel and cover the remaining expenses from their own resources.
Paul and Carolyn are missionaries.
Andrea (not her real name) has served in a creative access area for several years. Like many Nazarene missionaries in such places, to gain legal residence she secured a local job that provides her salary and benefits. She then raises support for her ministry projects.
Andrea is a missionary.
After serving as Nazarene missionaries for two years, Camilo and Sara Gonzalez are transitioning from Cabo Verde to support the growing work in Equatorial Guinea. Globally commissioned by the denomination, the Gonzalezes receive their salary and benefits through the World Evangelism Fund (WEF) and raise additional support for their ministry projects.
Camilo and Sara are missionaries.
Many kinds of missionaries, two ways of sending
A missionary is a missionary. It’s that simple.
However, the ways we talk about sending and supporting missionaries have historically been less than simple. In fact, our communication about the ways we deploy our missionaries has been so confusing that, in recent years, churches and leaders across the denomination begged for clearer language.
In February of last year, the General Board approved new language around how we send and support Nazarene missionaries. We narrowed down our methods of deploying missionaries from five to two: sponsored deployment and global deployment.
These deployment types are now broader and more inclusive. All Nazarene missionaries fit into one of these two types, regardless of their unique and individual circumstances.
If you are a missionary, your deployment type is merely language to describe how we send you. It does not describe who you are as a missionary. It does not define your call, the work you do, or your value in the mission. Regardless of which way you are sent, you are a missionary.
I am so thankful that through the partnership of local churches around the world who give offerings to WEF, we are supporting more than 700 missionaries from more than 40 world areas.