I was wondering in your personal opinion do you think that the North American church has started to falter when it comes to the missions field and its duty to minister and support our brothers and sisters overseas?
I guess i just feel that we are such a rich and prosperous country and that the time, resources and man power that we are giving just isn't really where it should be right now. When we should be giving to the poor both here and overseas we are instead building bigger additions on our churches and thinking so much more inward instead of outward.
I am currently going overseas soon to work with Noah's Ark in the Philippines for 3 months and feel the call to missions for my life so when i ask myself these questions i sometimes feel like maybe I am complaining or not looking at it in the right perspective. I want to have the same mindset as God and not be someone who complains but helps to improve and grow God's kingdom.
So a second question i have is how should i be looking at these questions i ask and should i exclusively bring them to only God or try to start discussions about these things with leaders and people in authority who can help to really make a difference?
Thanks, Mitchel, for your two questions.
1) I was wondering in your personal opinion do you think that the North American church has started to falter when it comes to the missions field and its duty to minister and support our brothers and sisters overseas?
(a) It is difficult to generalize about “the North American Church,” as you can appreciate. We have everything from liberal denominational congregations to independent churches, each with their own attitude and response toward the subject of cross-cultural mission.
(b) However, it is true that there are reasons why many churches are hesitant to push “foreign missions.”
(c) Some pastors note the presence of churches in every country of the world and in essence feel that “the work of missions is done.”
(d) Some church are not convinced that one needs to “change the religion” of other nations. Muslims and Hindus have their own way to God.
(e) In a similar vein, less and less do many Christians feel that people who don’t know Jesus are “lost.”
(f) I find that most young people I talk to are more concerned about the physical suffering of individuals overseas than their spiritual condition. In the mission I represent the attractive ministries for young people are “children at risk” and “sexual slavery.”
(g) As a summary, in general the U.S. is fielding less foreign missionaries that before. At the same time, other countries such as Korea, Nigeria, and Brazil are sending thousands of cross-cultural missionaries.
(h) At the same time, there are mission agencies such as Pioneers and the Southern Baptist Mission Board that are receiving hundreds of volunteers, obeying God’s call to foreign mission service. We rejoice at the number of those who responded to the call for Mission at the last Urbana Student Mission Convention.
(i) The whole North American scene is a complex one. It is obvious that there is great need for revival in our land.
(2) So a second question I have is how should i be looking at these questions i ask and should i exclusively bring them to only God or try to start discussions about these things with leaders and people in authority who can help to really make a difference?
(a) I would encourage you at this stage in your life to do a lot of listening. Listen to what you hear at Missionary Conferences when missionaries talk, listen to pastors who struggle with their budgets, listen to foreign students who speak of the needs of their countries, etc.
(b) Do a lot of reading from different points of view. If you haven’t read it already, I would suggest Paul Borthwick’s new book, Western Christians in Global Mission. What is the role of the American Church? (InterVarsity Press, 2012).
(c) Keep your eyes open when you are in the Philippines. Spend time with missionaries, but also a lot of time with English speaking Philippinos, and note any differences in their ideas.
(d) By that time you will not be an expert, but you will see more of the picture than you do now.
(e) So…at this juncture, bring your questions to God. Take notes on what you hear from Him. Begin working on your own philosophy of missions. I think He will show you when you are ready to take your ideas to others.