One who is sent with a message. The Christian missionary is one commissioned by a local church to evangelize, plant churches and disciple people away from his home area, often among people of a different race, culture or language.
The whole Church is responsible for spreading the faith to those who do not know Christ. All Christians are called to undertake missionary work either in their home country or other lands. More and more, the term â€œmissionerâ€ is used to refer to those who do missionary work. A Missioner, who can be a priest, deacon, religious or secular institute member, married or single lay person is sent by the Church to be a minister of the Gospel, often among the poor and oppressed. He/she may commit a designated amount of time or a whole lifetime to the missions. Some religious institutes and societies of apostolic life are founded specifically for missionary ministry and have both lifelong vowed members as well as associates who dedicate a specific amount of time to the missionary apostolate of the particular institute.
A layperson or representative minister who, upon offer of service in response to a commitment to mission and on recommendation, is commissioned by the General Board of Global Ministries and assigned to fulfill a task with colleagues in the church or related institutions in the United States or in other parts of the world. An ordained or consecrated minister or layperson from the Christian community outside the United States, resident and participating in the mission of an annual conference by invitation of that conference in consultation with the General Board of Global Ministries.
A missionary is traditionally defined as a propagator of religion who works to convert those outside that community; someone who proselytizes. While some faiths like Judaism, Mandaeism, Parsees, or those focused on ancestor cult or local spirits, as in Animism and Shintoism make little or no effort to spread beyond their ethno-cultural home societies, many religious groups engage in missionary activities.
The gift of Missionary is the special ability God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister whatever other spiritual gifts they have in a second culture. (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Acts 8:4, Acts 13:2-3, Acts 22:21, Romans 10:15)