"The dirty little secret of missions is that we are sending missionaries all over the world who have not demonstrate the ability to make disciples who can make disciples. Most have not seen or participated in effective models of church-planting or discipleship at home, but we send them out in the hope that going cross-culturally will turn them into effective church planters and disciplers. This is wishful thinking at best, and it has to change."
Rick Wood, editor of Mission Frontiers magazine, taken from the editorial Jan/Feb 2011 (www.missionfrontiers.org)
Will we in the simple/organic church do any better? The church in Antioch sent out their best when they sent out Paul and Barnabus. Are we training up people who can make disciples and start churches in our own context before we send them out onto the mission field.
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10 replies on “Quote: The dirty secret of missions”
I have wondered about this problem. I have not gone on long term mission trips but have seen the sad results of sending ‘Bible schooled’ young ‘rookies’ w/ good hearts & intentions but who have not been to the school of ‘hard knocks’, where their faith & perseverence could be developed. “A student will be like his teacher.” So maybe a good question to ask ourselves & ‘mission canidates’ would be…’do we want to reproduce myself/you in another country’ ?????
Paul, that’s a great question. I think another great question is: what have they done here at home? Do they have a track record of making reproducing disciples in this country? Since in most mission situations, people are starting churches in homes, have they ever been to a good home/simple church?
I remember years ago it was said “if you are not reaching people now, a three thousand plane trip probably won’t change things.
Michael, great quote!
I actually just got off the phone with my Pastor friend in America where I had said to him “You know the dirty little secret of missions is that most missionaries don’t even share the Gospel anymore.” Amazing that I am reading this now. It’s not even about discipleship groups or churches, but even about the baseline ability to sow the Gospel in an effective and contextual manner! The term “apostolic” must be redeemed and revived again for my generation.
Hi Felicity its Phil from Australia. Part of the problem as I see it is that who are th seasoned Apostles and Prophets, Evangilists et al. The Holy Spirit asked me this question one day and said they are the experienced ordinary men and woman the world often does not recognise and dont support. We make outward judgements and not a discerning the wisdom fo God. I am 58 and have started many churches and taught many people funded by my 1 person business but have to trun down many, many requests to train people in How to heal the Sick, Spiritled Life, Power of God and make Disciples but people are looking a charisma not fruit. For me its be still and know tht I am God, I am in charge of the mision field. I ahve said to the Lord here I am send me but have to turn down many invitations through lack of support. I know you and Tony understand this. God is looking for mature believers to lay down their lives not for novices with good intentions, people who have proven God through trouble and adversity and are not bitter but better. I know many people who would go are highly skilled but no support. james has a lot to say about this. That being said God is always good and HE ultimately will prevail.
What an extraordinary coincidence! What you share is even more profound–that missionaries don’t even share the Good News any more. I fear that what you say is true in many cases.
Phil, great to hear from you and thank you for commenting.
I agree with you that there are many skilled and mature believers who would love to go to other nations, or even within their own, to train people in basic Kingdom skills. Finances are a big issue. To me, it’s a sign of the immaturity of the current movement. We have been so burned by the past that we do not think either strategically or biblically about finance and mission. I pray the Lord changes this.
We are beginning to think more about using technology to accomplish some of the same purposes. Using video conferencing etc. It’s not the same, but it may be better than nothing. Any thoughts?
I would have to agree with the sentiments of the article and those who commented. As Director of South East Asian Mission Teams, USA I do have to say that there are some organizations that have overcome the problem and are doing something about it. SEAMisT is a Philippines-based Missions agency that trains missionaries to preach the gospel and plant churches among UNREACHED people groups in S.E. Asia. SEAMisT has already planted successful churches among several previously unreached people groups with some amazing stories of God’s outpouring. If anyone is interested in serious church planting to unreached people groups in S.E. Asia please contact me. Dr. Steve Highlander firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Steve, thank you for commenting. Good to hear about your work. I’m sure there are many mission agencies that are seeing God do great things. Thanks for giving people a way to contact you if they are interested in learning more of what you’re doing.