For years we’ve been telling both cross-cultural workers and overseas professional Christian workers, who are sometimes called “missionaries,” that, due to the internet, in the future there won’t be any hiding your “missionary-identity.”  The OPEN Network leaders have stressed this point; if you do not wish to be associated with a mission agency, you should not join or even associate with a mission organization, lest you become identified as a missionary.

Well, that point was illuminated for me this week, when my credit card was cancelled due to fraud.  It took numerous phone calls and some frustrating discussions to sort things out with the bank.  Twice in our discussions with the bank I was asked, “How long have you been a missionary?”  When I asked the banker, “What makes you think I am a missionary?”  The lady answered, “We have vast information about you gathered from numerous sources and your records show you work for a Christian organization overseas, so I assume you are a missionary.”

The future is now.  I am personally predicting that within 10 years, a lot more businesses and people, including religious and government leaders, will have access to this information.  As you plan your future, you need to understand both your past and your present.  Already, there is no hiding where you studied nor where you’ve worked. In the future, we need to live transparent lives – and by the way, that future is now.

For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. – Jesus of Nazareth

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.