What Do Missionaries Do?

Your Guide to Missionary Work

What do you envision when you think of missionary work? Do you imagine missionaries caring for patients in Africa or teaching children in South America? Many people have some idea of what it means to be a missionary. Still, a missionary’s duties and lifestyle are mysterious for most.

Missionaries have been working to make the world a better place and spread the Gospel for thousands of years, since the time Jesus gained his disciples. Missionaries uplift communities and offer their God-given talents to those they serve, all the while bringing people closer to God. They strive to meet peoples’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs in their service. Learn what it means to be a Catholic missionary and uphold Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.

What Do Missionaries Do?

Missionaries do many different things, depending on their skills and the current issues where they serve. Through missionary work, Catholics help others. They use their abilities to take on the duties of teachers, nurses, architects, builders and many other roles. Missionaries complete a wide range of tasks as they teach communities the Gospel.

Missionaries also serve in places all over the world, from remote villages to big cities. While some missionaries travel far across the globe to serve people in foreign nations, others evangelize just beyond their own churches. A Catholic can work as a missionary anywhere in the world.

The length of service also varies from one missionary to the next. Some venture on short-term trips, completing one set mission before returning home. Others serve for years at a time. God calls some individuals to make missionary work their life’s purpose — such individuals serve as missionaries for their entire lifetime. For instance, Mother Teresa spent almost her entire life in India, providing for the sick and poor while spreading Jesus’ love.

Missionaries’ enthusiasm and hard work have made an impact for centuries. According to the American Political Science Review, missionaries have long influenced the rise of stable democracy worldwide by opening schools and printing presses. They have introduced people around the world to God and have made significant achievements for social justice. In those ways, missionaries accomplish essential work.

Missionaries in the Bible

Missionaries have been spreading the Gospel since Jesus walked the Earth. The first missionaries were Jesus’ original 12 apostles, who shared eyewitness accounts of his miracles and proclaimed him the son of God. Christians have been sharing their faith and acting with the guidance of Jesus’ love ever since.

Faith is a gift from God, and missionaries are blessed with the opportunity to share the word of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Missionary work began with the Great Commission Jesus said to his disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Since then, missionaries have journeyed thousands of miles to spread Christianity and bring light to spiritually dark places. Today, missionaries continue to focus on sharing the Gospel and helping communities overcome spiritual and material poverty. Missionaries help to provide communities with the physical resources and spiritual strength to thrive in the face of adversity. As a result, people around the world celebrate God’s missionaries and the work they do.

What Defines a Catholic Missionary?

While all missionaries help to spread God’s love, not all missionaries are Catholic. Catholic missionaries differ from other Christian missionaries because they are in step with Catholic teachings. They support the mission of the Catholic Church to help poor people and spread the Gospel. They often partner with the communities directly through a priest, bishop, religious community or trusted partner.

What You’ll Learn in This Guide

Throughout this guide, you’ll gain insight into what it means to be a Catholic missionary. If you’re curious about missionary work or feel called to spread God’s love, we hope this guide answers your questions. We’ll cover the basics of missionary work and what it means to fulfill the Great Commission, exploring topics such as:

  • What missionaries do: We’ll discuss the type of work missionaries do and the differences they make all around the world.
  • The characteristics of a missionary: It’s important to recognize the characteristics and traits that make for a successful missionary. Not all Catholics are meant to be missionaries. Those who are feel an undeniable call from God.
  • How to become a missionary: We’ll go over some avenues you might take if you are interested in becoming a missionary.
  • Influential missionaries: We’ll also discuss history’s most famous and influential missionaries — names every Catholic should know, especially if you’re considering taking on missionary work.
  • The different types of missionary work: Missionaries find ways to use their talents to best help the people they serve. We’ll talk about some of the missionary work opportunities available today.

Support Mission Projects

MIssionaries have been spreading Christ’s love since he was on Earth. Jesus commanded us as Christians to make disciples of all nations, and today’s missionaries continue that charge. Along the way, they uplift communities by using their talents and offering valuable tools. Missionaries take on all kinds of projects and use their individual skills to make a difference in the world.

You may be interested in becoming a missionary yourself. It’s essential to understand what a missionary’s work entails before making that decision. Read this guide to learn more. If you’d like to support missionaries in service today, please get in touch with us at Catholic World Mission, or browse our current projects and donate to a cause that resonates with you.

At Catholic World Mission, we believe in partnering with communities to remove the obstructions of poverty, illness, lack of education and spiritual despair, so people can realize their God-given potential. If our values resonate with you, please consider reaching out or making a donation.

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