GOH: Be a Missionary

This song has a lot of nostalgia for me because it was so often rolled out during the missions conferences my family attended.

As an inside joke some missionary wrote these alternate lyrics about the “weird food” stories experienced by most missionaries at some point:

Be a missionary every day
Go and eat whatever comes your way
If it’s ants in your corn chip
Or roaches in your pop
Hey, don’t let it bug you
Just eat it ’till you drop so…
Be a missionary every day
If it stinks just eat it anyway!
It may be warm and fuzzy
And sometimes it still moves but:
You don’t need a skillet,
Chew until you kill it!
Be a missionary today!

92 thoughts on “GOH: Be a Missionary”

  1. Be a missionary every day – clap clap clap clap
    Tell the world that Jesus is the way!

    1. It’s been several years since I’ve sung this, but I still remember it! (And ew on the eating-gross-things!)

      1. I gave up trying to remember the multiple versions about food we also experienced on deputation… as if we needed more reminders about the odd things we ate / did / saw….

    1. Nope, not quick enough – oh well PW’s response was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title….

      1. I would have typed out the whole song, but I didn’t want to miss being first! lol

        1. Y’all have corrupted me lol – the first thing I thought of when the notification popped up on my FB feed was “can I be first this time??” πŸ˜€

        2. Checklist for SFL:

          1. Have you been welcomed aboard either the plan by Scorpio or the boat by Don?
          2. Has George messed with one of your posts?
          3. Have you commented first on a post, thus laying claim to a butt cushion?
          4. Have you seen the white piano?
          5. Have you been accused on a thread of being unsaved by a fundy? (Hasn’t happened as much lately but has happened before, including to me.)

        3. Dr. Fundystan, the white piano is no myth. A number of videos posted on this very website have documented the existence of white pianos in IFB churches.

          White pianos are usually linked with KJVO congregations. Not, however, with snake-handling churches, which use tambourines and electric guitars instead.

        4. Welcomed aboard the plan or plane by Scorpio? I think point #2 happened to your post, PW!

        5. Dr Fundystan is spot on, on this point. There is now white piano. The devil is very very deceitful & able to fool even the elect with his white piano illusions.

      2. PW, regarding your checklist:

        1. Someone welcomed me aboard something or the other, but I can’t remember if it was a plan or a boa.

        2. Knot that I now off.

        3. Just the other day I had my first first. I am still glowing with honor. I feel fresh and invincible, like being born again!

        4. No. Yes. I don’t know if I can say. I will defer to the opinion of my MoG as to whether it exists or not.

        5. I’m not aware of such an accusation, but I would bet folding money that there are plenty of people here who are thinking it. Especially if YOU, ever-kind Pastor’s Wife, have been accused of it! If they persecute the righteous, where does that leave the sinner? Oh well. I think it myself sometimes. πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t know about how old you are, but you are slow! Hahahahahaha

      Wait. It’s not gracious to gloat, is it?


      1. Dear PW,
        Next month, I turn 57. Thank God, I still run and work out. However, I was bested today by you, a much younger person. My only comfort is that you, like I, went to the World’s Most Unusual University, where we were formed and molded for this life, and the next.

        You’ve earned the right to gloat. Today, you earned the cushion. And I am not worthy. And so, I honor you today.
        Well done,

        1. Sadly, I’m much more adept at reading and typing comments on a keyboard than I am at working out. πŸ˜›

  2. There’s nothing wrong with warm and fuzzy food . Just think of it as eating and flossing at the same time.

    1. Or, nothing wrong that’s been sitting in the back of the refrigerator for a long time. Take it out of the fridge and leave it on the kitchen counter for a while.

      You’ll see that it becomes warm and fuzzy.

  3. How nice to see a fundy church that is racially mixed.

    The words to that song lead to double entendres. Oh my. I am afraid to see what nico will write. No, really, I look forward to it.

    1. Dear Bald Jones grad,

      If it’s any consolation, you will precede me to the age of 57 by about four months. However, I have had the privilege of having never even known of the existence of BJU until my adulthood, let alone attending it. You have my sincere condolences.

      1. Thank you for the kind condolences. My graduation from BJU is just part of my earlier life in the IFB. That entire religious experience was a boil on my life’s butt.

        1. A boil on the butt? “And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.”

    2. BJg, I hope I don’t disappoint you too much, but I just can’t bring myself to go all out on this. I have many reasons.

      1. The missionary thing makes it too obvious.

      2. I hate this song with a hot passion and nothing would please me more than making fun of it. (Well, one thing would please me more, but I said I wouldn’t go there.) At my Bible Institute we sang this piece of crap song so many times I want to barf hearing it again (Thank Darrell!). However. I met my wife at that Bible Institute, and yesterday was our 24 yr. anniversary, so I am feeling generous toward my Institution days.

      3. I look forward to the day when the IFB either dies out completely or morphs into a sane and healthy religious expression. So, yes, Lord, give us more IFB congregations of 12 people meeting in a Red Roof Inn conference room.

      But still, seeing this made me kind of depressed. How pitiful! That poor little child growing up thinking this is normal . . . the pathetic attempt to drum up some excitement by a hand-clapping song . . . the tiny group, yet so spread out across the room like strangers . . . It just seems too pitiful to make fun of.

      4. I have a headache. But please, don’t mind me. I might be in the right mood a little later! πŸ™‚

      1. “4. I have a headache.”

        Yeah, that’s what she said. :p

        (I’m so sorry! Ok, not really. But I couldn’t resist!)

        1. Thanks Dr. Jezebel. You’ve made your namesake proud. And me pretty happy that at least one person got one of the double entendres I put in my comment just for BJg!

      2. nico, this is a small group of people, spread across the room. There is an element of sadness, but they stand in sharp contrast to the large evangelical churches I’ve visited, where your tithes may go to pay for the construction of the latte shop in the lobby, or they drop $210,000 or so to get the pastor’s latest book on the NY Times best seller list. (That would appear to have occurred with Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle).


        Now THAT is where I want my tithe to go. God help us.

        1. You speak the truth. It’s not really the size of the group that seems sad to me (I prefer smaller assemblies)–just the way that everyone seems so separated from each other even though they are a tiny group. Maybe there was a virus going around and they were trying to avoid a church-wide epidemic.

      3. The lyrics are just layered with double entendre. You provided some good innuendo, but there’s just so much more. I hope your “headache” subsides so you can rise to the occasion.

        1. “Rise to the occasion.” πŸ™‚ I see what you did there. I was trying to be a good boy, and here you are sporting around, sowing your seed of uncleanness, yielding your members as instruments of unrighteousness. But be of good cheer. Lo, I may be old and well stricken in years, but God is able to make these dead bones live.

        1. I think the song that fit best with the video is that old standard “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,” specifically the verse, “Though none go with me, I still will follow.”

          There are perhaps better videos of the song out there, but this one has a little something special going for it.


  4. OK, now I’ve listened to it, I never slowed it down. We just sang it fast through the whole thing. And at the end we’d stretch “day” into three notes: “Day-ay-AY!” before shouting “Let’s go!”

    There aren’t many songs during which we were allowed to clap, but this was one of them.

    1. PW, are you describing the ending where you do a little trombone slide with your voice? That’s the ending I remember as well!

      1. Yes, that’s it! But then again, we were GARBC not BJU-affiliated (though I did end up going to BJU) so sliding wasn’t the offense against God and proper vocal technique that it is in BJU-influenced churches.

        1. Heeheeha! I never heard Be a Missionary until I left home for Bible School, but the churches of my childhood would have never been hesitant to slide a note!

          The churches I grew up in had no direct affiliation with any of the major IFB circles. Hyles, BJ, SotL, were recognized as purveyors of truth, but in many ways we were lone wolves. And, at least in my first IFB church, we had some pretty decent music–if you like high-spirited hillbilly country singing (and I do!). Piano, organ, bass, several guitars (acoustic and electric), banjo, steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle. We sang Gaither stuff, Happy Goodmans, music with a beat. “I Saw the Light.” “Have a Little Talk With Jesus.” “Looking for a City.” A lot of hard-driving music any respectable IFB would never allow. The alto section could REALLY belt it out. I think of some of those All-Day Singing and Dinner on the Grounds days with fondness. The Naner Puddin’ was to die for.

  5. Now it’s stuck in my head! I remember this being the song at a missionary conference my aunt and uncle were at. It was 1975. The Lord sure doesn’t understand the definition of soon!

    1. I like C. S. Lewis’s words in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”: “‘Please, Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘what do you call soon?’
      ‘I call all times soon,’ said Aslan.”

  6. At my school they used to sing, “the choice is up to you!” until I guess they realized, actually the choice is not up to you, and changed it to, “there is no time to lose!”

  7. “If it’s ants in your corn chip
    Or roaches in your pop…” so just why do you have to be a missionary to enjoy this? There’s no shortage of home right here in the good ol’ US-by-gid-A that offer this.

    “If it stinks just eat it anyway!
    It may be warm and fuzzy
    And sometimes it still moves but:
    You don’t need a skillet,
    Chew until you kill it!”
    Yeah, this is really going to encourage the youngsters to sign up in droves. The only thing worse is that someone is actually going to ENJOY such foods, heh-heh-heh.

    1. “Are you enjoying your titclik lat bluts Dr. Lazurus?”

      “Just like Mother used to make.”

      Galaxy Quest.

  8. Oh, we used to sing those alternate lyrics at missions conferences to get a laugh.

    Have you heard the joke about missionary stages in eating?

    There’s stage one, where the missionary finds weevils in his cereal. He tosses out the whole thing.

    Stage two: He picks out the weevils and eats the cereal.

    Stage three: He eats the whole thing, weevils and all. More protein!

    Stage four: He pours the cereal and finds he scored a weevil-free box. So he goes and finds some weevils to ADD to this cereal.

    Stage five: He tosses the cereal and eats the weevils.

    1. I heard a variation of this from my MK husband. Only I believe it was about flies in the soup.

  9. Memo to Fundies:

    If you’re serious about recruiting new converts, don’t mess with food issues. Stick to fried chicken and biscuits & gravy.

  10. It seems like they barely have enough for a service. An older couple and a couple of men probably are the average attendance for a Wednesday evening. I always disliked the midweek service (when I actually was attending church) because it seemed like it would drag on with no regard to those who work early morning hours, not to mention that I never really felt like I got anything from the message I just went because that’s what we do-we go to church when the doors are open.

    1. I wasn’t a huge fan of mid-week services either, perhaps from my childhood when I’d join either my mom or my dad when they divided into men and women for prayer and someone would drone on and on and on and on and then the next person would pray for ALL THE SAME THINGS! It never ended! I knew it was wrong to not like praying, but it was so boring!

      When I became an adult, I could handle prayer time better, but I realized that one of the things I missed was SINGING! I love singing and often there was no singing at all on Wed. night or if there was, maybe just one hymn, often sans piano.

      I’ve nearly always attended small churches, and if I could have planned the mid-week service, I would have had a blended time of singing praise songs and praying followed by a short devotional.

      1. Sounds a lot like my former IFB church. Of course, the prayer meeting was just another place for the Pastor to preach, followed by getting on the knees.

        Now I have bad knees. Very painful to kneel on the floor between the pews. I much prefer the kneeling benches in the Episcopal Church. At least you can rest your backside on the edge of the pew! And by pushing forward, I can actually “kneel” on the tops of my lower legs instead of my knees.

        But at the IFB church, the men all got on their knees (the ladies often stayed seated). So prayer was often accompanied by pain — and wondering when some of the long-winded people I partnered with for prayer would shut up.

        1. I don’t kneel- the arthritis in my knees won’t let me, and it would take a block and tackle to get me up again. But I’m not alone- most of my parish are well over retirement age. So we stand or remain seated. And no one cares or judges. If you’re looking around at others and caring what they’re doing, there’s something wrong with YOU.

    2. As a kid, the worst service for me was Sunday night. I was never a kid to complain about going to church much, but I absolutely couldn’t stand Sunday night church. Especially when first confronted with it.

      When my family first converted from Catholicism to Fundy-dom (when I was about 8), I was used to one hour of church a week, at the church right around the corner from our house, late on Sunday morning. Suddenly, I was confronted with getting up extra early on Sunday for an hour of Sunday school, then an hour-plus of a service, then off to someone’s house all afternoon long for the Bible study my parents had joined. The kids’ Bible study, early in the afternoon, wasn’t bad, and I got to play with the other kids for the rest of the afternoon, but by the end of the day, I mostly wanted to be home, with my other friends.

      But at that point, I had to change my hot and sweaty self back into my church clothes from the morning and ride back to church for the Sunday evening service (which, at that time, was at 7:30 PM – it would eventually be changed to 6:00, but no such mercy yet.) And that service seemed about as dry and interminable as anything possibly could – especially when I’d been gone all day, and the last few hours of my weekend were slipping away, knowing it’d be bedtime as soon as I was home (God help me if I had any homework left to finish.)

      The midweek service didn’t seem so bad by comparison. Sunday night seemed like a cruel joke.

      1. We always missed Ed Sullivan, and the beginning of Bonanza! Such tragedy in a child’s life.

  11. Ugh. That sounds like no fun at all. I’m with Samuel Wilberforce on this one:

    If I were a cassowary
    On the plains of Timbuktoo,
    I would eat a missionary,
    Cassock, bands, and hymn book, too.

    1. Nice rhyme, except that cassowaries don’t live in Africa.
      It should be “ostrich.”

      1. Well, yeah. But Wilberforce surely gets props for finding rhymes for both “cassowary” and “Timbuktoo,” even if his geography was a little off.

    2. Two cannibals meet one day. The first cannibal says, “You know, I just can’t seem to get a tender Missionary. I’ve baked them, I’ve roasted them, I’ve stewed them, I’ve barbecued them, I’ve tried every sort of marinade. I just can’t seem to get them tasty.” The second cannibal asks, “What missionaries did you try?” The other replied, “You know, the new ones down at the bend of the river. They have those brown cloaks with a rope around the waist and they’re sort of bald on top with a funny ring of hair on their heads.” “Ah, ha!” the second cannibal replies. “No wonder they don’t taste right, you’re cooking them wrong. Those are FRIARS!”

  12. We had a visiting missionary speaker in Bible college who lambasted this song (and by extension the parents of about a quarter of the student body) by saying that there was no such thing as “home missions,” and that you couldn’t be called a missionary unless you went to another culture.

    1. Translation: “You’re not as good as I am. How dare you call yourself by the same name as I?”

      I suppose according to him when Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” that it only REALLY counted until they headed out past Samaria.

    2. Of course you can’t be a “home missionary”! Don’t you realize one of the most important duties of any missionary is to show innumerable slides of the Exotic Foreign Land they’re living in, including natives in their Funny Quaint (if heathen) Native Dress, show off the many many natives trinkets they’ve collected, maybe provide a sample of the Strange Foreign cuisine? And if you’re really lucky, all the various Trails&Tribulations, diseases, wild animals, hostile governments, suffered in the name of the LAW-WD. Oh yes, and more pleas for funding, including a model of the shiny new church you plan to build for your grateful congregation.
      Don’t you realize this is the only sanctified way for any Fundie to be allowed any exposure to them dangerous NON-‘MERICAN Cultures?

      1. Don’t forget the obligatory quoting of John 3:16 in the foreign language. If the congregation is REALLY fortunate, the missionary’s family may sing a song in that language too.

  13. I know I haven’t been here to comment for awhile, and I’m probably supposed to be here every time the SFL doors are open, but I just had to drop in to say wow, this song brings back memories. Missionary conferences, and camp for some reason. I’m positive there was some year at summer camp that we sang this song all week.

  14. The neckwear on the song leader was last worn by Col. Harlan Sanders long, long ago.

    The little kid in the aisle is obviously too young to read. Some of the adults are sitting to far away to read the script. There’s a white screen in the background and, I think, a Kodak slide projector on a side table, but it’s not being used.

  15. I just did Father Abraham with the children’s church a couple week’s ago! I hadn’t done this one for quite a long time though.

    1. Speaking of songs that bring out intense dislike…

      “Father Abraham” was cute as a kid, and I didn’t mind it, but as an adult, I don’t enjoy it, and I resent it when the song leader tries to manipulate us into doing the actions with the song.

      Haven’t they read I Cor, “When I was a child” (etc)??

      1. I don’t like Father Abraham, even with kids. I’ve never liked it. When I’m leading a kids group and it is requested, the request is denied. Along with A James, I also have slides (albeit for PowerPoint and for overhead projector) of both versions of the Missionary Song.

      2. I would highly dislike doing it with adults, but the kids enjoy it, and it helps keep you warm when the building has no heat! (Thankfully, that only happened once.)

        Sadly, now that I’m the age I am, I’m out of breath when I finish the song.

      3. They have. They just resent the fact that the children grow up and don’t want to be spoon-fed anymore.

  16. “One more time? Let’s go!”

    Uh, no thanks. Once was plenty.

    Singing in a small group is awkward. No need to prolong it.

  17. Fundies clapping always comes across as awkward. Kind of like holding hands to pray in a church service.


      1. That’s a whole lotta mandolins right there!
        One for each herb or spice, I think.

  18. Kinda off topic but when we lived in Mandan ND many moons ago some LDS kids showed up at my door one afternoon. I was tempted to not answer but what the heck. We chatted. I am a food lover and quickley had them talking about how everyone feeds them spaghetti ad naseaum and the rest of the time they eat boxed mac and cheese. So I told them is they came back they would get roast beef and homemade bread. They showed up for dinner and sebsequently joined our home bible study. Then the stake found out and they were reassigned. They were such fun young men I often think of them and wonder where their lives took them.

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