In-Country Missionaries, They Really Do Exist!

How Do You Get Paid?

Often we’re asked some candid and to the point questions about our lives by people who hardly know us. It’s nothing new, it happens all the time. Over the years we’ve learned how to deal with these questions, but we still find them difficult at times. Questions about our finances are the most common. It feels like someone is attempting to dig a little too deep into the inner workings of our lives. It feels as if they have crossed the line and invaded our family bubble. It’s as though somehow our lives and our finances are everybody else’s business because we travel fulltime.

A Reminder

It reminded me how little people understand what we do or how in-country missions works. What do I mean by that statement? Let me begin answering that with another question. When was the last time you asked a foreign missionary a candid and to the point question like, “How do you get paid?” Chances are you never have. I know I never have. So why would it be ok to ask an in-country missionary these questions? Are they less noble or worth supporting because they follow God’s call here and not there? Can God not provide all their stateside needs?

Get to the Point!

So what is my point in all this? My point is that in-country missionaries are no different than foreign missionaries. They work in very similar ways as foreign missionaries do, except they do it within the United States.

  1. Most in-country missionaries spend a good chunk of time traveling and raising support.
  2. They spend time in churches casting vision and gaining partners.
  3. They write monthly newsletters and send in yearly update sheets to partnering churches.

If we only looked at their schedule and not their location, chances are we wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other.

What is a Missionary?


A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize and/or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development.


1) a person sent by a church into an area to carry on evangelism or other activities, as educational or hospital work.

2) a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.

3) a person who is sent on a mission.

Let’s take a final moment to define a missionary in some simple terms I’ve picked up over the years.

  • A missionary is a sent one, sent to a specific people group, at a specific time, with a specific message.
  • A missionary is someone who hears the Word of the Lord.
  • A missionary is someone who is willing to obey the Word of the Lord.

Whether overseas or in-country, missionaries are all God called, God sent, and God directed. So the next time you come across an in-country missionary it’s ok to be curious, but be cautious in your curiosity. And always remember to ask yourself this one thing, “Would I ask an overseas missionary this same question?” If the answer is no then it most likely needs to go unasked.

What is the craziest question someone has asked you?
What is the craziest question you’ve asked somebody else?