Dear Missions Mobilizers around the globe,
I am sitting on an airplane returning from a conference in Germany of about 200 workers, almost all of whom work in the more unreached nations in the heart of the 10/40 Window. They expressed the need for more workers and the amazing open doors in so many nations and so many people groups. I want to thank you for all you are doing to see prayer and workers mobilized. We really appreciate your letters and e-mails. Each one gets read and often prayed over.
We are learning a lot from the feedback that we are getting and here are a few thoughts on my heart as a result of what I have seen and read over these past 40 plus years. Luke 14:28 tells us to be realistic and count the cost. We need to be realistic about the complexities and obstacles that we face. We must not just tell wonderful stories and give the wrong impression about the true situation.
1. We are facing a great variety of local churches with a wide range of opinions and ideas about missions and sending out workers.
2. Churches that were major sending churches for the last few decades in some cases now cannot keep up with their commitments due to their own congregation shrinking or internal problems that consume time and money.
3. Some very popular churches have made it known that they don't send out long-term missionaries. They have no money in their budget for this. They may encourage mission trips in which people pay their own way or they may pray and give money for projects, or in some cases, national workers. Sending out and especially financing longer-term and career workers seems to be the tougher challenge of world missions. Sometimes, to defend their policy, such churches spread negative stories about missionaries and make sure missionary speakers don't get into their pulpits, especially Sunday morning when the people are actually there.
4. With the strong emphasis on local church combined with the western emphasis on paid staff, or professionalism, there are often large numbers of full-time and paid staff. There is little money left after paying all the salaries to send out workers.
5. I'm stunned at the size of salaries that many pastors receive. This leads to rather affluent lifestyles and enormous financial demands on the congregation. Though the USA is the heart of this philosophy this has for 50 years been spreading throughout the world. In my own view a great hindrance to world evangelization.
6. It seems that there is very little willingness to sacrifice or forsake anything for the sake of world evangelization. Emphasis on grace and freedom has led to the abuse of grace and a lack of obedience and discipline. We have failed to keep the balance and I include myself.
7. I believe that many of our colleges and seminaries have teachers who don't actually believe that the unreached of other religions (especially the sincere) are actually lost. Various kinds of zeal-killing universalism are on the increase. In fact, in our preaching and teaching today, we seem to hear very little about hell. That is a huge hindrance to mobilizing new missionaries.
8. I believe that extreme so-called holistic (or wholistic) emphases have led to unrealistic expectations. Attempts have been made to marry reconstruction theology with prosperity teaching to form a new spiritual cocktail that is dangerous. Even more balanced holistic messages have led to a de-emphasis of the importance of giving people the actual salvation message. Many people don't want to give of their finance unless it is helping people's physical needs. Huge amounts of money go into relief and development (we are speaking of hundreds of millions), while missionaries can't go or get back due to a lack of support. In some cases it is a sad state of affairs.
9. The truth is that most missions work is where the church already exists. These areas are still crying out for more workers. Only a small percentage are working among the more unreached where in many cases the church is non-existent. How can this be changed? For 20 years now we have had the great unreached peoples' group challenge. We thank God for all that has been done, but what about 25% of the world's population not having heard or read the Gospel? We have a long way to go. Whether it is the Acts 13 Breakthrough vision or something similar or even different, we long and pray for the church to move into a great pro-active position in regard to the unreached. We long for trained, anointed and equipped workers to be sent out.
10. All of us in this mobilization ministry need a lot of patience. The way ahead will not be easy! We just rejoice over each worker sent forth and each person who comes to Christ. We especially rejoice over each new church planted.
Please keep your requests and information coming our way. We especially want to know about churches that are sending their first missionaries or are taking big steps to send out more missionaries.
For the unreached,
George Verwer & Chacko Thomas
Mail to: http://www.ad2000.org/tracks/missionmob or
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