Many people expect a “missionary” to be a missionary on the field, but an understanding of contemporary missions may change this paradigm. A friend of mine raised the question: “How much do you need to raise before you can go on the field?” This is an excellent question and raises the issue of the paradigm shift about missions I am referring to.

Gail and I are not currently “field missionaries.” We are “itinerant missionaries.” A field missionary is the more traditional type of missionary we are familiar with where a person moves to the field of their mission and serves there full-time. An itinerant missionary is a missionary who moves from field to field, serving either multiple fields as they are led or serving in a circuit which repeats itself on a regular schedule. There are many thousands of such missionaries now serving in various forms of short mission trips, to more lengthy terms of service in a traveling mission of some kind.

Paul, for instance, was an itinerant missionary who moved from field to field, planting churches, ministering and teaching. For a time, Timothy traveled with him, but eventually he settled as a pastor (a field missionary) in one of  the churches they had established.

Gail and I are open to becoming field missionaries, but in the early stages while we are developing our mission, we will be itinerant – we will travel to several different fields (Nicaragua in particular), and see what the Lord develops in terms of our call. In between trips, we will return to our home base in Fort Worth to develop our mission and our support. We fully expect God to develop our call and show us His vision of missions that fits our purpose.

See also post – “Why Itinerant Missions Is Critical,” which addresses why contemporary missions makes itinerant missions all the more important.