Mission control, we have a problem


I’ve been away for the last two weeks. The trip gave me the opportunity to bump into a whole range of people engaged or thinking about overseas missions. They are all good people with a heart to serve God. They all hope their ministry will result in new disciples and new churches.

Some of their comments left me wondering if their hopes will every become reality.

Here’s a sample. . .

Mission by just being there

We’re off to a south Pacific nation on mission.
Q. What does that look like?
A. We’ll go and live among people and just see what happens.

Mission by foreign invasion

We’re a team of six westerners in an African village. We’ve been there four years learning language and reaching out to a town of 3-4,000.
Q. What’s the plan for reaching the 50,000 plus people beyond your town who are in the same people group?
A. We need to pray for teams of (western trained and funded) missionaries to go into every town and village.

Mission by stealth

We’ve been in an Asian city for two years building relationships. We haven’t had to initiate conversations with anyone. They come to us. Two have become Christians.
Q. How many new believers are now sharing their faith and making disciples?
A. None.

Mission by delay

I want to go to Africa and build an orphanage and school. First I need to get my degree so I can earn the money to fund the ministry.
Q. How long before you can get to the field?
A. At least five years.

Mission by wishful thinking

We're at college for another three years, then we want to go to the field and to do evangelism and plant churches.
Q. Have you had any experience in evangelism and planting churches?
A. No.

Followup Q. Do you have any idea of what you will be doing when you get there?
A. No.

As I mentioned, they were all dedicated people trying their best within a flawed paradigm.

The solution? Read the Gospels and keep asking, What did Jesus do? Read the book of Acts and keep asking, What did the risen Lord Jesus continue to do?