Paul or Timothy? 5 (More) Questions to Ask Potential Pioneer Missionaries

How do you know if you should enter into pioneer missions? Recently we looked at five initial questions to ask yourself. Here are five more.

  1. Are you willing to suffer on the mission field?

Paul did not have a rosy, ignorant picture of the mission field. He knew it was difficult and dangerous. He could do nothing else.

Paul said, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22). He didn’t run from trials. He remembered Jesus’ words, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). He was whipped thirty-nine times on five occasions. He was beaten with rods three times. He was stoned once (2 Cor. 11:24,25). When a prophet foretold that Paul would be captured in Jerusalem, his friends told him to stay. He refused to run away (Acts 21:13). Missionary suffering is often the means to the conversion of the lost.

  1. Do you want to go where other missionaries aren’t?

Paul’s ambition was different than most Bible teachers (Rom. 15:20). He wanted to go where Christ was not worshipped. This isn’t the desire of every missionary and teacher, but it was the aim of Paul and must be the ambition of every pioneer missionary. He realized that his ministry was distinct from others. Paul “planted” and Apollos “watered” (1 Cor. 3:6).

A pioneer missionary may have periods when he primarily pastors, “waters”, and cares for mature sheep, but he will not find long-term contentment unless he is planting churches or evangelizing among the least reached places in the world.

  1. Do you long for people from every people group to worship Christ?

Revelation 5:9 says, “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.’”

Peoples from every corner of the earth will praise the name of Christ. God has already planned this before the foundations of the earth. Paul wanted to be a part of that plan and therefore made it his ambition to reach the tribes and nations who were not worshiping King Jesus.

9 . Do you have an inner impulse to see other pioneer missionaries join the same fight?

Do you have the ability to influence others to carry out Great Commission work? Many pioneer missionaries have viewed their greatest impact to be galvanizing the next generation for missions.  Jim Elliot convinced Ed McCully and others to join the team. Hudson Taylor influenced hundreds of missionaries to join CIM solely by faith. John Paton travelled throughout Australia motivating the church about missions.

Paul had a unique ability to motivate people into missions. Before leaving a church, Paul made plans to keep it in good care. He left Timothy or Titus behind or appointed elders to continue the work. He also convinced others to join him in his journeys.

  1. Are you willing to learn a difficult language?

The gospel comes through words. This is why most of the least reached places are not English speaking. Missionaries that go there must learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language is difficult. It takes hard work. Those who are not willing to invest many years into learning an arduous language should not consider pioneer missions.


Do you want to be a pioneer missionary? Ask yourself these ten questions above. If you said yes to only a couple questions, rethink your goal. If you said yes to seven or more, you’re on the right track.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s