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#08 Profile of a Successful Missionary -Podcast

This week I shared with you 7 Ways to Fail as a Missionary and I promised that I would follow it up with characteristics of a successful missionary.

In this episode of Now is the Time I introduce you to a real life hero missionary. I spent 2 months with Duane Howe in the deep jungles of Brazil and Peru almost 20 years ago yet his example of ministry still influences me today!

Duane Howe

Duane Howe with the Ashinka tribe in Western Brazil

So what are the characteristics of good missionary?

A drive to share the love of Jesus

Not every missionary is a church planter or an evangelist but just because you’re not  on “the front lines” doesn’t mean you’re not sharing the gospel.

No matter the official title or the situation good missionaries are always ready to share the love of Jesus with those around them.

A positive and hopeful attitude

If we truly are the bearers of good news then we ought to have an attitude that matches. Rather than complaining about their surroundings good missionaries tend to encourage others and focus on the hope that they have in Jesus.

This kind of attitude is infectious and attractive. It tells people that we have a living and eternal hope that temporary problems can’t extinguish.

A flexible mindset

Sometimes we can be too goal oriented and results driven to see the opportunities that God has placed right before us. Good missionaries learn that they can’t plan for everything and sometimes the best ministry opportunities aren’t planned for at all.

Instead of getting discouraged when things don’t happen the way we plan, we need to be flexible, ready for change and ready to make the most of every opportunity God throws our way.

A passion to communicate

Too often missionaries think of communicating with those who sent them as a chore and something that takes them away from the real ministry and that’s wrong!

Communication should be viewed as part of the ministry, not a distraction from it. Missionaries who communicate well encourage and challenge their readers to be better followers of Christ.


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Question: What other characteristics make a good missionary?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children!

My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • It seems the same qualities and attributes for good missionaries can apply to all of us regardless of where we are… and thank our Father literally for the likes of you and Duane.

    • You’re probably right, these qualities are pretty universal.

  • Arlen, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the encouragement! It’s pretty cool that you have missionary friends in Ukraine. I’ll have to connect with them.

  • “Not every missionary is a church planter or an evangelist” I am learning this more and more!

    • Ngina, what ways are you learning that now?

      • I’ve carried a ‘missionary’ & ‘leader’ tag at one time or another in the past. right now i have neither (at least not officially!) but the work is the same 🙂

  • How about empathy. We should try to understand others’ worlds, their worldview and how they feel.

    • Yes, Dan, empathy is a great characteristic to add! In fact I think you could say that Jesus practiced empathy when he left his glory behind and came to this world to live as and ordinary man.