October 17, 2016 by missionsandmysticism
“Desire without knowledge in the business of
missions is dangerous, even spiritually deadly”
We want to help families and churches make wise decisions about the value of short term mission trips with Adventures in Missions on the World Race.
A few thoughts from a well written article…
“The Great Commission is immense, and just like any immense task it requires vision, dedication, and a lot of manpower. That being said, there are many times when I want to stop and say to the Western church:
“Stop sending them! Stop sending under-qualified missionaries!”
To be sure, the workers are few, and the harvest is great. But that does not mean that more workers are necessarily better. It seems that the impatience that so marks the current generation has infiltrated the missionary movement under the guise of “urgency.” This impatience, rather than being curbed by church leaders, is often fostered and even encouraged.
And the result?
A lot of people are going to the nations who, frankly, shouldn’t be going—at least not yet.
Here’s the question I wish more churches would consider: Why would you send someone to plant churches abroad who you would never hire as a pastor or nominate as a lay elder?
Why does it seem that “passion” rather than proven faithfulness is the main criterion for sending men and women to support those church planters? Why on earth is the bar set lower for the frontlines than it is for the local church?…
The challenges of frontier ministry, its stresses and temptations, are very real, and time and again people are sent to face those challenges who have much zeal but lack understanding. So the wise man rightly said by the Holy Spirit,
“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov. 19:2 ESV).
This proverb sums up the state of missions among some missions enterprises very well: desire without knowledge. And desire without knowledge in the business of missions is dangerous, even spiritually deadly.
This field that is white for harvest is being filled with laborers who destroy the crop, those who misuse or disuse the tools God has given them. Imagine a field full of people swinging a scythe in the wrong direction and sometimes from the wrong end. And too often—if I dare drag out the metaphor a bit further—they are not using the scythe at all. Their hands are empty—not a pretty picture…
If you speak to an older generation of missionaries, you’ll find that in by-gone days Bible college was a requirement. If you read the biographies of guys like Adoniram Judson, you’ll find that ordination was required. But these days, once a church gives approval, folks can pass a few evaluations and attend a two-week boot-camp (AIM has a one week training camp) and be rather quickly approved for the field…(Racers apply and are often approved within 2 weeks)
Heresy proliferates because they don’t really know their message. Worldly living prevails because so many missionaries are spiritually immature and practically unaccountable. Church, stop sending people who don’t know their God, don’t know their message, and don’t know what it is like to submit to authority.
Please, for the sake of God’s glory, stop.
Desire is commendable, but desire comes and goes. It is calling that should be required and celebrated. Not just any “calling,” mind you, but a calling rooted in truth and affirmed by others, particularly those who know you well and have for a long time, one that has accompanied years’ worth of fruitfulness, that has as its chief aims the glory of God and the sure promises of the gospel as revealed in Scripture….
We have pointed out in other posts that Adventures in Missions has no Gospel message, a lack of Biblical understanding and the aim of this organization seems to be the glory of themselves not God. The exact opposite of a Biblical reason for missions.
A few suggestions from this article we thought wise advice for churches and families that are considering supporting a member on the World Race:
1) Teach them well so that they will be able to teach others well; don’t send them until they have shown they can do the same. (2 Tim. 2:2)
2) Make sure that they are able to articulate sound doctrine and refute false doctrine. An inability to answer objections and correct falsehood is a recipe for disaster when encountering other religions or worse—other errant missionaries. (Titus 1:9, Eph. 4:14)
3) Make sure they are able to submit to biblical authority. (not Seth’s abusive authority… church authority as laid out by Christ, the head of the church) … they need to spend some time gladly submitting to accountability before they can be sent with confidence. (Heb. 13:17-18)
4) Connected to #3 is the need for proven godly character. This is something that can only be ascertained over an extended period of close interaction and persistent discipleship, not a session with a counselor and a personality profile. (AIM loves personality profiles!) Unchecked sins get worse on the front lines, not better. (Heb. 12:1)
5) If you would not make a man an elder in your church, then don’t send him to plant churches anywhere, much less overseas. If you are sending someone who isn’t elder material or isn’t quite there yet, then I would suggest sending them somewhere with an established church where you know their spiritual development and ministry will be seen by faithful shepherds. (Heb. 10:24-25)
6) The aim of every pioneer worker you send should be one of two things: joining an existing church or gathering believers to start a new church as soon as possible. (Acts 20:28, 16:13)
7) Finally, let there be consensus in the sending church that these people being sent are called and ready. This will safeguard the ones being sent and give them an amazing boost of encouragement that they are part of something bigger than their own ambition, which can easily fade or redirect quickly. (Acts 13:3)
So let’s feel the urgency, but not at the expense of wisdom.
The glory of God is at stake.
How does this compare…Seth writes, as a guest post on “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Inappropriate remarks, embarrassing antics and generally lame observations from an American Missionary”, …
“I’m almost 53 – an age where you’d think I’d be enjoying some respectability. But frankly, I’ve always thought respectability is overrated.…after having destroyed years of missiological witness, still laughing, we beat the rest of the group to the truck, pausing along the way in a goat field to pick up chunks of goat dung and throw them at one another… This month, we’re celebrating our 90,000th missionary to go into the field. I like to think of it as 90,000 attempts at greatness. Some have failed, some have succeeded. Most have been messy.
One thing I’ve learned is that we’re all a mess….
We hope to send out as many messy people as possible in the next 20 years. They have no delusions about respectability, and those are the people Jesus seems to favor. And they’re the ones I want work with. Because I’m one of them.”
Is this the organization that God will bless because of the faithful, humble, Christlike example of it’s leader? Be discerning.
“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:7-9