Thoughts on Missions

Given that my church has just finished up our Missions Conference, I have had “missions on my mind” for quite some time. So I thought I would write down some of my thoughts to share. One of the great blessings of an independent Baptist church is that we choose our own missionaries. There is a much greater bond between the people and their missionaries when they have seen and selected them.

In my evaluation of missionaries and their ministries, there seems to be some that need long term support, and others that require only short term support, and some that only need short term but continue to receive support forever.

Let me give you some examples of what I like and dislike…

Missionary A goes to a foreign field and plants a church. Once the church is healthy he trains a national to take it over (with the church supporting him) and then goes to plant another church. He will always need support by outside churches. I personally would support  Missionary A until Jesus comes.

Missionary B goes to a foreign field and plants a church. Once the church has grown he has another missionary take it over (with the church NOT supporting him) and then goes to plant another church. He will always need support by outside churches. I really have a problem with this mentality for two reasons: 1) the ‘church’ planted never learns to support their own pastor, and 2) they are never really an ‘independent’ church because they are reliant upon other ministries for support money. And money can and does come with ‘strings attached’ (and they are usually under the thumb of some missions board). Those strings make it impossible to be a truly independent work. I don’t want to support Missionary B.

Missionary C goes to a field and plants a church and essentially becomes the pastor. Even once the church is large enough to support him, he still receives support monies from other churches. His church may even take on missionaries, but they never pay their own pastor. I believe this is wrong as well. I believe the first missionary that a church should support is their own pastor. The same problems with Missionary B apply here. I don’t want to support Missionary C.

Missionaries A, B, & C all planted churches that eventually became large enough to support their pastor. Missionary D may be in an area of the world that is poor and/or sparsely populated. He sees a small church planted, but one that never attains the ability to support their pastor full time. I still believe that church should pay their pastor something, but I understand that the church itself will never truly be independent. It will rely upon outside monies for its entire lifetime in order for their to be a light in that region. I can support Missionary D with one caveat: If the church never grows beyond two to three families, then serious consideration needs to be given to ‘dusting off your shoes’ and moving to a new location that is more receptive to the Gospel (after training the existing families to feed themselves of course).

I’ll stop here. There are other situations that can occur and I may address them in a later post. I don’t want this one to get too long.

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