Falling Missionaries

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 June 11, 2015


I’ve been consulting with a great mission organization located here in Colorado Springs called Reach Beyond. Reach Beyond is passionate about sharing the words of hope spoken by Jesus, known as the gospel. They minister around the world in numerous cultures, many that are not accepting of the Christian faith or representatives of that faith.

At our of last recent meetings we were gathered in the conference room discussing a new curriculum that the organization is creating that seeks to motivate people to share their faith. Around the room attached to the walls there were about twenty quotes on mini-posters from missionaries, leaders, and pastors from the past and present about the Great Commission and the urgency of sharing the good news of Jesus.

As our discussion got more excited, however, one of the  mini-posters, a quote from Oswald Chambers, suddenly fell off the wall and hit the floor just a slight thud. Jim Elliott followed closely behind. By the end of our meeting four quotes from missionaries or key Christian leaders from the past and present had taken a plunge to the carpeted floor beneath them.

The eight of us who were meeting in the conference room didn’t take it as a sign from God to forget being mission-minded. Instead we saw it as a visual illustration of what has happened to missions in general.

The concern for missions…listen to this, listen…has dropped in many churches, but concern for missions not initiated by the church has seemed to increase. That is, there are more and more people who are not associated with a fellowship of believers who are becoming increasingly interested in missions.

How can that be? Easy! Churches are concerned with paying salaries, operating buildings, establishing programs and ministries…which are not bad things, mind you! Many churches give 10, 15, 20, 30% of their funds to missions. Others gives a token amount.

But many who are not a part of a church have the mindset of supporting missions with 100% of their gift.

There needs to be a happy middle ground in there. Sometimes church ministries and their effect get taken for granted, and missions get forgotten. Jesus commanded his disciples that as they were going to make disciples, and then in Acts 1:8 he said to be his witnesses close to home, in the vicinity, and all over (my paraphrase). We can become location minded in an imbalanced way. What goes on inside the walls of a church building or the living room of a house church is just as important as the mission couple who are being witnesses in the midst of a Japanese culture or West African mission hospital.

When there is imbalance the missionaries fall and the churches falter. It’s a partnership that often gets screwed up.

Jim Elliott got put back on the wall more firmly…more firmly supported…and stayed there the rest of our meeting. Sometimes you just have to hammer the point home a little more for it to stick!

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