Missionary Goes Rogue After Being Denied Appointment By Board
Jonathan Hartman has decided to go solo in a quest to reach unreached people groups in southeast Asia. The 19 year-old Hartman had wanted to be appointed by International Mission Outreach (IMO), the mission board his church has supported for over 50 years. But he hit a snag.
“After graduating high school I went to IMO to find out where they would be sending me,” explains Jonathan. “While going through the interview process, I was told I needed to have a college degree if I wanted to pursue full time missions. I told them that I had already been a missionary for over 12 years. As far back as I can remember, my mom and dad would tell their friends that I was a missionary in the public school system.”
But apparently that 12 years of experience wasn’t enough for the mission board. They gave him some leads for missions programs at Christian colleges. He wasn’t impressed. In fact, he felt insulted. As he sees it, “I’ve been a missionary for most of my life… I’ve been a missionary since I was 5 years-old.” Hartman has a difficult time talking about it. He has already made some connections in a village in Thailand, and his plane ticket is purchased. He is going to be on his own, and seems to be resigned to his new reality.
International Mission Outreach writes that they, “Will be praying for him, as it is not an easy task to enter the missionfield armed only with the Holy Spirit. If you look at the history of Mission work over the last 100 years, you see the vital importance of a bureaucratic sending agency.”
We reached out to Jonathan’s mother for comment. In a phone interview she expressed regret for the whole situation. “We thought we were doing the right thing. We had no idea that he needed a college degree to be a missionary. The apostle Paul wrote most of the New Testament. It would have been helpful if he had dedicated a chapter on the process of becoming a missionary. Honestly, if we had known, we would have sent him to college before sending him to kindergarten.”