What Do Missionaries Do?

By Floyd McClung

Who better to consult about what missionaries do than Dr. Luke, the author of the book of Acts. He was a missionary, and writes as one. He had been on the field, participated in the spread of the Gospel, and assisted the great apostle Paul in planting churches on two of his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10-18, 20:5-21, and 27:1 - 28:16).

Luke wrote the book of Acts for several reasons. Firstly, he wanted to give an accurate account of the birth, growth and expansion of the church, especially amongst Gentiles. And secondly, he wrote the book of Acts to serve as a training manual for pastors and missionaries who were interested in spreading the Gospel, especially accross cultural barriers (I draw this conclusion because of the orderly fashion in which the book is written, and because of the missions and leadership principles Luke deals with).

So there we have it: The book of Acts describes what missionaries do. A careful study of Acts shows it to be a record of the strategic thinking and actions of the early church leaders. Luke devotes 16 of the 28 chapters in Acts to one of those leaders, the great apostle Paul. It is to these chapters that we can look to find guidelines for what missionaries do.

Between 47 and 57 A.D., Paul  planted many powerful churches in four provinces of the Roman empire: Galatia, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia. In those ten years he planted scores of churches and visited countless towns and cities, preaching the Gospel wherever he went. I conclude from my study of Paul