Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


A missionary is a propagator of religion, often an evangelist or other representative of a religious community who works among those outside of that community. The English word "missionary" is derived from Latin, the equivalent of the Greek-derived word, "apostle".

Table of contents
1 Jewish missions
2 Christian missions
3 LDS missionaries
4 See also
5 External links

Jewish missions

In modern times, Jewish teachers repudiate proselytization. One basic argument is that all people have the law of God in their heart to a limited degree, and that to teach them more would be to make them responsible for more. That is, they would start as virtuous gentiles, protected by their ignorance, but after contact with a jewish mission they would be in danger from judgement by the Heavenly Court.

Christian missions

Since the Lausanne Congress of 1974, a widely-accepted definition of a christian mission has been "to form a viable indigenous church-planting movement." This definition is motivated by theological analyses of the acts required to enhance God's reputation (usually translated as "glory" or "honor"). The definition is claimed to summarize the acts of Jesus' ministry, which is taken as a model for all minstries. The motivation is said to be God's will, plainly stated throughout the Bible, including the Old Testament (see Mission (Christian)).

Christian missions: History According to the documents of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, the Biblical authority for missions begins quite early in Genesis, 12:1-3, in which Abraham is blessed so that through him and his descendants, all the "peoples" of the world would be blessed. Others point to God's wish, often expressed in the Bible, that all peoples of the earth would worship Him. Therefore, Christian missions go where worship is not, in order to bring worship to God. (see Mission (Christian)).

LDS missionaries

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the most active modern practitioners of missionary work. The Church strongly encourages all worthy young men to devote two years to missionary work, most of which is spent proselytizing. Single young men are eligible to serve missions when at least 19 but no older than 26 years old. Prospective missionaries must also meet stringent worthiness requirements (Church leaders have recently increased the requirements).

Young women may also serve missions, but are not expected to do so. Young women must be at least 21 years old to serve missions, only serve for an 18 month period and must meet similar worthiness requirements as young men.

Missionaries receive a call from the Church through the mail, and are ordained elders and set apart to preach the gospel. Newly called missionaries attend a short training period at one of the Church's Missionary Training Centers (MTC). The largest MTC is located in Provo, Utah adjacent to Brigham Young University (BYU) (some housing for the MTC is, in fact, former BYU dorms). Missionaries serving English-speaking missions spend three weeks at the MTC and are trained in the use of proseletizing materials and taught expected conduct. Missionaries bound for foreign-language missions spend longer periods at the MTC—six weeks—in order to learn the language. During this period, they are encouraged not to speak in their native tongue, but rather immerse themselves in the new language. Other MTC campuses exist in other parts of the world for missionaries serving in their native countries outside the US.

MTCs and their teaching methods have been studied by various organizations because of the rapid ability of the missionaries to learn a foreign language in the setting. Occasionally, missionaries are fluent in the language they study at the end of the six-week period.

In the past, the Church expected all young men to serve missions regardless of marital status. Today, the church no longer expects young married adults to serve missions.

Older, retired couples are also encouraged to serve missions and may serve as long as they desire (typically from one to two years). Many older couples have been known to serve several consecutive missions.

Besides proselytizing missionaries, the Church also has a strong welfare missionary program. The missionaries who serve these types of missions serve in poor and third world countries and do not actively proselytize. Regular proselytizing missionaries may engage in welfare activities and community service from time to time.

See also


External links

The Missionary is a comedy movie written by and starring Michael Palin.