5 Ways Missionaries Are Like Superheroes

5 Ways Missionaries Are Like Superheroes

by Rachel Gregg

What do missionaries have in common with the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spiderman? Here are some similarities you may or may not expect:

1. Missionaries Have an Urgent Mission

There's a kingdom that requires your help—God’s kingdom.

Matt Meyer, an InterVarsity staff member at colleges in California, describes God’s kingdom as “a place where there is justice, peace, and wholeness.” These are three things Jesus offers to you personally, as well as for his mission to radically restore the world around you.

When a Christian actively seeks to grow God's kingdom (to bring about more justice, more peace, more wholeness), they are called “missional” Christians. They see restoring the world as an urgent mission to share God's love and truth—be it right on their dorm floor or in a war-torn country.

Are justice, peace, and wholeness something the people around you need more of? Then you are a Christian with a mission.

2. Missionaries Have Weaknesses

In Christian circles, it can sometimes seem like God is most proud of the people who leave all luxury behind, can recite full books of the Bible, and spend their days with AIDS orphans.

Missionaries are not extra-credit Christians,” Theresa Mereszczak, InterVarsity staff at Boise State University explains. “Missionaries are normal people who laugh, make mistakes, and even watch movies.”

Missionaries aren’t perfect people. They don’t have to memorize the whole Bible or have a seminary degree. They don’t get a special sign in the sky to summon them when someone’s about to accept Christ. (Most of them don’t even wear capes.)

Do you still fight with your little brother? Do you occasionally fall asleep while praying? Is the trash can in your dorm room one month past due for dumping? Then you're the kind of imperfect Christian God loves to empower.

3. Missionaries Have Sidekicks

The goal of missions, according to Matt, is to partner with God to expand his kingdom. But God doesn't expect you to do it on your own; he gives you a community of other Christians to work alongside.

“Community is where our gifts are pointed out,” Matt says. “It’s where we’re loved and accepted unconditionally.”

Your Christian community needs to be genuinely appealing for someone on the outside looking in. It's quite common that, before someone accepts Christ, they first need to feel comfortable hanging around and identifying with a group of Christians. Maybe that was part of your own journey to knowing Jesus personally.

Do you have a friend who doesn't have a relationship with Jesus? Do you have a group of Christian friends with whom you learn about Jesus, study for midterms, and have fun? Then you're well positioned to someday welcome your friend into the family of God.

4. Missionaries Can Serve in Their Hometown

“It’s easy for Christians to say that real missionaries are the ones who go far away,” Matt agrees. “If people aren’t called to a dirt hut, they sometimes assume missions is not for them.”

We're all called to go, but you don’t have to go halfway around the world, learn a new language, or get vaccinated against dengue fever.

In his last few moments on earth, Jesus gave Christians some pretty tall marching orders: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a, NIV).

“In the original language,” Theresa says, “it translates to ‘while you go.’ Jesus is empowering you to make disciples in the places where you’re already headed.

Someday, God may call you to go far away. Or he may ask you to serve him in your neighborhood. For today, he’s placed you right where you are for a reason.

Do you have a one-block radius in which to cross paths with other people? Do you speak a minimum of one language? Then you can share God's love wherever he calls you to live.

5. Missionaries Grow into Their Identity

“You’re not going to wake up one day and be someone you’re not already becoming,” Theresa reminds us. “You pursue Jesus and his kingdom one step at a time, every day.

Even what seems like little things count as being missional. For example, Matt has committed to following Jesus’s example of care for others, even through what he chooses to buy:

“If we’re bringing the rule and reign of God to the world around us, that means caring about the things God cares about. It means serving and bringing dignity to people around the world through the products we consume and building relationships with the employees we come in contact with.”

Is there a local neighborhood or a distant country you can pray for while you're still in school? Does the idea of a spring-break mission trip sound like a fun and risky step? Then you have the potential to grow into God's mission.

No matter how long you’ve been a Christian, no matter your flaws, no matter where you live, Jesus has called you to join his mission to heal the world. No “superpowers” other than his are required.