And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 (NKJV)
What are some pros/ cons to Pastoring in the USA as opposed to overseas?
I think that depends where you live. In Cuba the people worshiped God like I have never seen before. However despite cultural differences, in most places, people are exactly the same. -Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, Potter’s House CFM, Ecuador
Every country is so different! You do need to learn the way they do things. The mentality is different too. I believe our goal is not to come here and make them Americans; our goal is to introduce people to Jesus, for them to get saved, and of course, help if we can.
You do miss certain things, like some foods, your favorite cream, shopping online, sales. 🙂 But give it a month or two and you don’t think about that anymore; you readjust fast. – Vika Aaltonen, Missionary Wife, The Door, CFM, Helsinki, Finland.
Pastoring in the U.S.
- You know the culture
- You have command of your native language and can share deeper spiritual concepts with the listener.
- You usually have a solid support system that you may not have overseas, ex. denomination, spiritual movement, etc.
- A prophet is not welcome in his hometown, as with Jesus and Nazareth.
- The pressures of our modern day, post-Christian culture that is always offering compromises to the faith and puts pressure on ministering effectively.
- The “marketplace” of churches allows those who lack commitment or who are avoiding responsibility in the community to shop around or move.
- Having served in a restricted nation, you and your faith can be a novelty and a curiosity.
- God usually works in bringing people to you.
- People in the nation I was serving wanted to improve their English and learn more about the American culture. This opened the door to sharing the Good News.
- Language barrier #1. It takes at least 2 years to become minimally functional in a language to share the gospel in an elementary way and many more years of regular exposure to be able to converse in a language where deeper spiritual issues can be discussed.
- Getting to know the collective mind of a people takes time and, in many cases, painful effort.
- You are at the mercy of the officials in restricted countries as to your length of stay, methods and modes of sharing without reprisal, and the like. -Pastor Sheldon Clarkson, Outer Cape Christian Church, Truro, MA ***(Former missionary to a restricted country.)
It is difficult to learn a new language, so, I would say that is a con. Also the climate can be difficult. -Chantry La Belle
Ministry in America is very hard. Our culture is so independent and affluent that people don’t see their need for a Savior. Thankfully, no culture is any match for the grace of God. God’s effectual calling is irresistible; those whom He comes to save, He saves, wonderfully and gloriously. Hence, the pastor’s calling is not to save souls, but to faithfully preach the the Scriptures, the primary means by which God opens blind eyes, changes hearts, and saves souls. –Pastor James La Belle, author, Pastor, Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod (The La Belles are former Missionaries to Zimbabwe and Mozambique)
We dealt with a lot of witchcraft when we were missionaries to Trinidad. Here, the obstacle is the “all set” mentality. People are more prosperous and don’t always see their need for Christ. -Pastor Roger Williams, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA
The dangers of being a missionary keep you focused and praying. Whatever the dangers of being a missionary to Mexico, the greater danger is living in the United States of America and being distracted by lesser things.
I’m not against fun, but the distraction of entertainment, feeling the need to upgrade to the next thing, the overrating and pursuit of education, and a nice job, has led some in America to leave out the God factor. The Church in America, sees the problems, analyzes the problems, but doesn’t do anything about them; there’s more time spent watching football and the 140 channels on TV. We have tried to keep a missionary focus, stay ministry minded while home in the US. That’s why we’ve shunned TV. -Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow, Missionaries to Zihuatanjo, Mexico