Missionaries and evangelism

seeker_has_awakened

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New here, but I don't see a lot of talk elsewhere about Orthodox sending missionaries to other countries (most Protestant churches support 20-40 missionaries monthly, even small churches), and no discussion of door-to-door evangelism, or street evangelism.

Granted, in a 99% Protestant/other country, explaining Orthodoxy on the street might be difficult--it takes a long time to communicate the differences!--but I just wonder why I have never seen these things in real life: never had a priest knock on my door, etc. (I am pretty far from the parish, so that's probably why, but still...if I had had an Orthodox priest or deacon knock on my door 20 years ago, I might have found out about it sooner.)

My question is, are we content to let Orthodoxy be the 'best kept secret', or are we just relying on God to bring people in?

Are we not called to be fishers of men? I am no slouch when it comes to reading, and I haven't yet seen any Church Fathers, saints, or elders say, 'nope, the Holy Spirit is telling all Orthodox, from now until the end of time, that we are not to fish anymore, we need to just be content to let the fish hop in the boat by themselves.'

I know there are new parishes formed here and there, but what is being done to bring people into those parishes (besides giving to the poor)? I recognize giving to and feeding the poor is important, but don't we want to be able to treat the whole man, and not just fill their bellies?
 

Tzimis

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So we should beg people into getting saved? That's similar too spoon feeding an adult. If a person is hungry they will find a way to eat.
Besides, people are often turned off by salesman.
Plus, if you haven't noticed. The institutions that the church originally started. Like hospitals, shelters etc., have been taken over by governments. So the grass roots have been cut off. Law suits from the LGBT's have put a nail in that coffin and they are all secular at this point.
 

Stinky

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The missionary call is for all of us at an intimate and personal level as we love God by loving our neighbor. The Holy Spirit burns within us seeking the lost. May we be the Light and the Salt in this world as we quietly go about our day. When we pray for God to provide opportunities to share the hope which lies within us, we trust that He orders our steps. When we love our brother it testifies of God's grace. They will know we are Christians by our love.
I love the way the Orthodox church reaches so many hearts in a practical way as our Saviour taught by example and word. We feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick/ imprisoned and invite many to "come and see."
As for supporting paid missionaries...maybe the Orthodox church supports the way Apostle Paul approached this in being a tentmaker and supporting himself, not being a burden on another.
When we look at Orthodox history and church planting then we can see an overall "missionary effort" of sending out priests to establish the Church with the support and accountability of those doing the sending.
I am fortunate to belong to an Orthodox Mission. There's a lot of hard work that went into this local mission church. Line upon line, precept upon precept. God bless all those who have the vision and put in their time and resources.
 

Stinky

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seeker_has_awakened

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Domestically and abroad?

Most of the Orthodox world spent many centuries under Muslim occupation, almost immediately followed by the better part of a century under communist and fascist rule, so the priority for the church in those lands was simply to survive at home - not an easy task - and it was impossible to conduct any missionary work. The practice thus didn't really take root in Orthodoxy before it spread abroad through immigration.

In fairness, of course, today is a different story. The church is secure in the old and new worlds and, in some of the former, actually quite privileged. The problem is that the various jurisdictions seem happy to rest on their laurels and just minister to their ethnic diasporas. It's quite inexcusable as to why, save for the OCA and maybe some other local bodies I'm neglecting to mention, there's zero outreach or missionary work.

I'm not one of those people who are optimistic about the future of Orthodoxy, thinking that new united national churches will be springing up in non-Orthodox lands and ethnophyletism will be consigned to history. I actually think the ethnic holdouts will cause the church to shrivel and disappear in non-Orthodox countries as the ethnics gradually drift away and not enough converts replace them, while overlapping hierarchs continue to resist unity, and that the national churches in their respective homelands will be content to simply coast.
 

Stinky

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while its true it's 'less' than what protestants do.... it also lacks the quick conversion and then who cares what happens....aspect. A very good thing, from my experience as a protestant missionary.
Do you know who this missionary group is affiliated with? If you click on the " friends" button it just brings up themselves. I couldn't find info to whom they are accountable.
 

Stinky

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Do you know who this missionary group is affiliated with? If you click on the " friends" button it just brings up themselves. I couldn't find info to whom they are accountable.
" friends and partners" = themselves in Florida.
 

seeker_has_awakened

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Domestically and abroad?
Yes.

Most of the Orthodox world spent many centuries under Muslim occupation, almost immediately followed by the better part of a century under communist and fascist rule, so the priority for the church in those lands was simply to survive at home - not an easy task - and it was impossible to conduct any missionary work. The practice thus didn't really take root in Orthodoxy before it spread abroad through immigration.
Makes sense.

In fairness, of course, today is a different story. The church is secure in the old and new worlds and, in some of the former, actually quite privileged. The problem is that the various jurisdictions seem happy to rest on their laurels and just minister to their ethnic diasporas. It's quite inexcusable as to why, save for the OCA and maybe some other local bodies I'm neglecting to mention, there's zero outreach or missionary work.
I am hoping to help change that, someday.

I'm not one of those people who are optimistic about the future of Orthodoxy, thinking that new united national churches will be springing up in non-Orthodox lands and ethnophyletism will be consigned to history. I actually think the ethnic holdouts will cause the church to shrivel and disappear in non-Orthodox countries as the ethnics gradually drift away and not enough converts replace them, while overlapping hierarchs continue to resist unity, and that the national churches in their respective homelands will be content to simply coast.
I think the future of Orthodoxy may, ironically, lay in the hand of converts, in a sense, and those passionate for Christ in the faith, who will lead and guide them. We just have to be willing to get off our backsides and do something. It's not enough to say, 'hey, we're Orthodox, yay, we're the good ones!' That's no better than anyone else.

This is the One True Faith. There are no others. I have been looking for thirty years for a faith worth dying for, and I found it.*

*not trying to get martyred here, just want to be equipped should it come up, and the way things are heating up in the world, it looks like it will come up, for a lot of people, a lot sooner than we may think

Who would not give life and limb for Christ, knowing that we have an unshakable faith?

I'm investing every bit of time and money I can (what doesn't go to my family), in making sure that I can make an impact in the future.
 

seeker_has_awakened

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Do you know who this missionary group is affiliated with? If you click on the " friends" button it just brings up themselves. I couldn't find info to whom they are accountable.
OK! My deacon just responded:

Yes OCMC is very legitimate. I've done a trip with them myself to Kasigluk, Alaska. They do a lot of good work for growing Orthodox communities all over the globe.
 

Ainnir

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I’m pretty sure they have a prison ministry, too. I’ll have to fact check myself later, though. But as my later is pretty Orthodox, don’t hold your breath. 😇
 

seeker_has_awakened

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I am Grateful to God and give Him glory, not fortunate.
Sorry, OCD scrupulosity....
Lord have mercy.
No need to apologize, any time I see a comma placement or a sentence that could have been phrased slightly better, and I can’t change it, it bothers me for hours. 😆
 

Stinky

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*an invalid comma placement. See?
I do bunches, of grammatical errors! and ain't that book-smart neither, don't have a good grasp on deep subjects. Im very simplistic; however if I fail to give God glory for His blessings then I feel that must be brought up and corrected. Lord have mercy on this sinner Mary.
God is Good!

Love God
Love neighbor
In all things give thanks for this is the will of God.
 

DeniseDenise

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btw.....because the OCMC is not belonging to a specific Orthodox Jursidiction, it has a board of directors , etc......

That said....they are also listed as agency by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops.....https://www.assemblyofbishops.org/ministries/affiliates/

which means they do answer to that Assembly....click up at the top of that page the words 'accountability' and you get


All agencies, commissions and affiliated ministries and associations are required to report formally to the Assembly on an annual basis. Reports should be received once per year by a date at least ninety (90) days before the annual meeting of the Assembly. Reports should be submitted in complete form to Committee via an online platform[1] managed by the Assembly’s staff, and include the following:


  1. An annual report of its work that includes a statement of how its programs continue to relate to the criteria for association with the Assembly as well as the work of the Assembly
  2. Reviewed/ Audited Financial Statement for that period[2]
  3. If applicable, a copy of the organization’s Form 990 for that period[3]
  4. If applicable, updated organizational documents such as articles of incorporation, by-laws, etc.
  5. An affirmation that the organization is in compliance with all applicable governmental laws, regulations and best practices
  6. Proof of insurance for officers and directors as well as other insurances indicated by corporate best
  7. practices for that period A document outlining the organizations planned scope-of-work for the upcoming year

In addition to the abovementioned, Assembly Agencies are required to submit:


  1. Regular activities/ programmatic highlights for inclusion in the communications of the Assembly during the course of the year.
  2. An encyclical on the letterhead of the Agency, in both PDF and MS Word format, for the pertinent Sunday related to its cause no later than fourteen days (14) prior to said Sunday.

All submitted documents will be compiled and reviewed by the Committee on an annual basis. A summary report will be submitted by the Chairman of the Committee to the Annual meeting of the Assembly.
 

Arachne

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When I was a schoolkid, back in the 1980s, I used to get a magazine through my church school, that ran a regular feature on the Orthodox mission in Zaire (what the DNC was called back then). After I grew up and stopped getting the magazine, I heard vaguely that the local political upheaval had made the area hostile to the mission, but not whether it was uprooted.

Turns out Orthodoxy is still out there. Perhaps 'under new management', perhaps a bit more low-key, but there, and worth supporting.


2018 documentary
 

seeker_has_awakened

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When I was a schoolkid, back in the 1980s, I used to get a magazine through my church school, that ran a regular feature on the Orthodox mission in Zaire (what the DNC was called back then). After I grew up and stopped getting the magazine, I heard vaguely that the local political upheaval had made the area hostile to the mission, but not whether it was uprooted.

Turns out Orthodoxy is still out there. Perhaps 'under new management', perhaps a bit more low-key, but there, and worth supporting.


2018 documentary
Noted, thank you! I will add them to my list.
 

noahzarc1

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There is something to be said for the Protestant missionary mindset, I know, I was a Protestant missionary. I think first is to understand how Protestants understand missions. You do not necessarily have to be living full time in another land not your own to be considered a missionary. So you can be in your home church and praying for missions, or financially supporting and sending missionaries to be considered part of missions. Also, receiving, training and sending missionaries back to their countries (or training homegrown missionaries) is also a part of missions. The number of missionaries who actually go live long term somewhere else is very small, compared to the short term missionaries. Some see missions as part of their own town too. So while they are supporting missionaries in other countries, they are "supporting" missions in their own town too. Therefore, how a church defines missions also is important.

One thing to keep in mind however, is that many protestants who go into a foreign land, will see themselves as the only Christians to the exclusion of other groups. Particularly, I've seen this to the extent that they will look at the "percentage of Christians" in a certain country based on the number of "evangelical Christians" who live there and will often exclude Orthodox as part of that number (or Catholics for that matter.) So their push or desire to evangelize a certain country to get them the gospel will also be to the exclusion of the fact the gospel may have been in that land for a thousand or more years when Catholic or Orthodox missionaries first arrived there. More to say on this, particularly the flood of evangelical protestant missionaries who flooded into the former USSR block countries when the iron curtain fell and how the locals were treated, particularly traditional Orthodox Christians.

Lastly, to that point, many places like India, are often put off by the outside missionaries. Also, locals see western missionaries as just another form of settlement of their lands. Therefore, many Protestant churches have looked at missions to these areas as a mission to raise up locals to evangelize their own people. This is think is the best strategy for all churches to follow. Gone should be the day it has to be "western knowledge" to teach people of any land, but instead to raise up the locals of any one land and area to evangelize their own, something I think the Catholic Church has done very well in Africa.
 

Stinky

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I guess, in a 99% non-Orthodox country, in a sense, Orthodox ARE the full-time missionaries in the USA.
I am so grateful for the Antiochian Mission Church here in the nearby town which is full of loving and dedicated Orthodox Believers who have shown me the Way. It is truly the Hospital for sinners like myself. Many have sacrificed their time, money, resources, and very "lives" so that I could walk in one day and "come and see."

When I first came to Divine Litirgy I was struck by the Holiness of God and also the God-centered worship. The whole service is worship. What a novel concept for an "egocentric back-slidden protestant" like myself. I do not know how I stumbled in that first morning: only the Grace of God. To God be all glory.
I mentioned earlier in another post that at Divine Liturgy was the Holy presence of God as if fire and His Spirit convicted this vile sinner to continue seeking God's grace although I was in a terrible pretzel of enmeshed sins and couldn't see a way out. This sinner encountered God's Holiness in His church. I have seen visitors also just start weeping. For those in darkness have come and seen a great Light. God is so good.

By the Grace of God I have been Chrismated orthodox a couple months ago. I asked for exorcism prayers with the Chrismation since I had an infant Roman Catholic baptism and the baptism was valid yet I have lived and wallowed in many dark gutters along the way.

Glory to God! Pray for me if any of you who remember. The battle is intense. Thank God for Missions!
Mary of Egypt
 

Stinky

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novel concept for an "egocentric back-slidden protestant" like myself.

This was my own experience at first arriving to Divine Liturgy.
I am no longer protestant and seek God's grace for the other. 🕊
 
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