Should seminaries be training more missionaries?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
While there are still many to evangelize in the Western world, the people here generally have access to the gospel, whether it be through neighbors or local churches or TV and radio programs.

Many of those who are not Christians are those who have already rejected the gospel.

In contrast, there are many people outside the Western world who have far less access, if any access at all, to the gospel. There are places where there is one Christian believer for every million, and no local churches. There are many who don't have a complete Bible in their own language.

Since the Great Commission was given to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and given that the need for a gospel witness is SO much higher in other countries, shouldn't we expect that a great majority of our seminary graduates will be sent out overseas as missionaries as opposed to serving in churches in the Western world? Or at least a very respectable minority such as 25-33% of graduates serving somewhere here "Christians" are far outnumbered by "non-Christians?" At least 20%..it is not too much to expect that 20% of seminary graduates serve overseas among the least-reached.

I notice degrees in counseling popping up. Music ministries abound. Yet, less than 5% of all seminary graduates end up among the least-reached of the world (and a recent survey on church budgets calculated that less than one half of 1 cent for every hundred dollars spent by american churches go towards pioneer/frontier missions among the least-reached). We here sermons on stewardship, but isn't it bad stewardship on the part of the worldwide body of Christ to horde 80-90% of its resources in one small place and what can we do?

Why? And what can we do to change this?
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
My husband and I are both MK's, and we both find that our view of missions is extremely mixed. You'd think we'd be all on board for increasing the number of missionaries. But it is very complicated.

In my humble opinion, the ideal is never to have Western missionaries leading churches in other countries, but to the extent possible, to train local pastors to do that work. Americans must be trained to speak the language (which they usually never fully master, because it is very difficult to learn a foreign language well as an adult), and they struggle with a lack of familiarity with the culture. Even to the extent that they do overcome these things, they are still foreigners to the people, which implies that it is an 'American religion'.

However, these criticisms are not to say that there should not be any Western missionaries. Clearly, there is a need to support our brothers and sisters in other countries, especially in areas where Christian education and seminary training is not as accessible. Those who have greater blessings should share. So I do support mission work in theory.

However, as to why more people don't do it ...

It can be very difficult and very hard on the family. It often means exposing your children to dangers and to disease. It means a lot of isolation and loneliness. You stand out wherever you go, and you never really fit in. You are away from your extended family, and your children will never get to know their grandparents very well. Your children are often targets of bullying and abuse because of their nationality, and if you have a handicapped child, there are no special education services. God help you or your spouse or child becomes seriously ill, because there may not be a competent hospital in the entire country.

So it sounds quite glamorous, but it is not. It can be rewarding, but it can be terrible. I grew up a MK, but it's not a life that I would want for my kids.

and a recent survey on church budgets calculated that less than one half of 1 cent for every hundred dollars spent by american churches go towards pioneer/frontier missions among the least-reached

Well, in our defense, our first obligation is to pay our own bills. A church has to pay for its building, it's electricity, it's pastor's salary, etc ... If it can't do that, it will cease to exist. Whatever is left over after that can be put to help other people. But it would be poor stewardship to pay money for foreign missions while starving one's own pastor.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
In my humble opinion, the ideal is never to have Western missionaries leading churches in other countries, but to the extent possible, to train local pastors to do that work.


AMEN TO THAT!





Now, a pastor's life is also hard. But seminary graduates are going into the pastorate all the same. Many Asian cities rival American cities in technology and infrastructure, many missionaries are not even rural or remote and many live in Europe and large Asian cities.

At least a 15% rate of going overseas is more reasonable than what we currently have. Is this a failure for seminaries to prepare, is it a wrong focus, or what?



P.s. I would love to hear of your MK experience.

-----Added 6/27/2009 at 11:28:41 EST-----

Well, in our defense, our first obligation is to pay our own bills. A church has to pay for its building, it's electricity, it's pastor's salary, etc ... If it can't do that, it will cease to exist. Whatever is left over after that can be put to help other people. But it would be poor stewardship to pay money for foreign missions while starving one's own pastor.

Over 3% of a budget hardly seems like a strain.

I agree that a pastor ought to be supported first.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
I believe the approach outlined would be unproductive, at best. Most of the countries you have identified are muslim, hostile to Christianity, and to a large extent, the west. And many of them are not stupid. You start sending hundreds of newly minted 25 year old M.Divs and their wives that direction, and most of them are going to be able to figure out what is going on, and they will take action. Throwing bodies at the muslim world isn't going to solve the issue. The approach needs to be strategic.

On the other hand, there is a dire need for missionaries in the western world. Indeed, African Christians have had to treat the US and Canada as a mission field in recent years. And the EU and other westernized areas are in even worse shape.

So perhaps we ought to consider whether we should be bringing missionaries in, rather than sending them out. (You want to witness to Muslims? You don't have to go to Egypt or Jordan, you can go to Michigan or Texas. You want to preach to Mexicans? Go to Dalton, GA or Springdale, AR.)

So if a church wants to reach out to Laotians, or Kenyans, and use its existing buildings to do so, is their work any less valuable than someone who does the same thing 10,000 miles away?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I believe the approach outlined would be unproductive, at best. Most of the countries you have identified are muslim, hostile to Christianity, and to a large extent, the west. And many of them are not stupid. You start sending hundreds of newly minted 25 year old M.Divs and their wives that direction, and most of them are going to be able to figure out what is going on, and they will take action. Throwing bodies at the muslim world isn't going to solve the issue. The approach needs to be strategic.

On the other hand, there is a dire need for missionaries in the western world. Indeed, African Christians have had to treat the US and Canada as a mission field in recent years. And the EU and other westernized areas are in even worse shape.

So perhaps we ought to consider whether we should be bringing missionaries in, rather than sending them out. (You want to witness to Muslims? You don't have to go to Egypt or Jordan, you can go to Michigan or Texas. You want to preach to Mexicans? Go to Dalton, GA or Springdale, AR.)

So if a church wants to reach out to Laotians, or Kenyans, and use its existing buildings to do so, is their work any less valuable than someone who does the same thing 10,000 miles away?

Edward,

What do you mean by bringing missionaries in rather than sending them out? Is this a serious thought?



A lost soul is a lost soul, but a lost soul in Atlanta Georgia starves when the bread of life is close at hand. Some overseas have NEVER even heard the Gospel once and some places still have not even a book of the Bible translated.

In this age of globalization there are Westerners travelling everywhere. For instance, Dubai has a large western population as does other Asian and many Muslim countries. We are already sending hundreds of missionaries to the Muslim world and many are meeting with fields that are white for the harvest, yet with few workers. In fact, there are thousands of missionaries already in muslim-majority countries.

Edward, are you really being serious in your assertions?
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
At least a 15% rate of going overseas is more reasonable than what we currently have. Is this a failure for seminaries to prepare, is it a wrong focus, or what?

My inclination would be that, while I think it would be good to increase the number of missionaries, if possible (not all countries are hostile to them, and some, especially African nations, are in dire need of them), I am concerned about quality as well as quantity.

I believe that a seminary grad should have to prove himself in ministry before being commissioned as a missionary, because there is so little oversight of missionaries that it really has to be someone responsible and reliable in a way that few even well-meaning people are.

Consider this scenario (which I find to be VERY common):

Steve Seminarygrad is in his mid-twenties and engaged to be married and believes he feels called of God to go to Thailand. He tells his fiancee that he will go over first for a year, get things settled, and then come back, they will marry, and he will bring her to join him.

So Steve, all enthusiastic, heads over to Thailand. He has to start learning Thai. He realizes he doesn't really like Thai food that much. The house he is in doesn't have air conditioning. He starts having some kind of digestive problems that continue to plague him, but he can't pin down the source. Maybe it's something he's eating. Maybe it's just the heat and stress. He's not sure. But he's enthusiastic, and he starts doing mission work. People are friendly, even responsive on some level, but he doesn't really have anyone to talk to. People follow him around, asking him for money and to help their spouse or adult son or daughter get a job in the USA. Some people are very friendly and want to practice their English on him. But he's not really accepted as one of them. He's a curiosity and a novelty among them, not a friend. Maybe over a period of years, he will learn the language and gain their trust enough to make some real friends, but right now, that's a goal that is out of reach.

Two months after he gets there, he wakes up one morning feeling a little blah and nauseous, and he decides not to go out doing ministry work that day. The next day he does go, but the day after that, he stays home again. He doesn't really think about it, but he is slipping into a lethargy brought on by the fact that there's no one around who knows or cares whether he goes to work or not. All of his supporters are thousands of miles away, and they send the same amount of money whether he works or just stays home watching Thai television. Gradually, his efforts at ministry start to drop off. He finds that he can go out once a month to visit an orphanage, take some pictures, send them to supporters, and no one knows the difference.

Eight months after he got there, he is really lonely and looking forward to going back home to see his family and be able to talk to someone. He thinks that things will be better once he gets married and brings his wife over. That's when he gets the letter from his fiancee breaking off the engagement. He has been gone too long, and she has thought things over and decided she doesn't want to get married and move to Thailand. Maybe she even met someone else.

It starts to occur to Steve that there are lots and lots of pretty girls right here in Thailand standing around on the streetcorners selling something he think might help him get over the loss of his fiancee. And nobody back home would ever know.

Now, I don't mean to insinuate anything about anyone here, but all of you pastors on this forum ask yourselves whether that's a situation where you would have stayed out of trouble as a young man in your twenties. There are some who do resist all temptation, but many who don't.

Now granted, not all situations are quite like that. Sometimes missionaries work in groups (which gives more accountibility), and sometimes they are married before they go. Even so, it's a tough situation, and loneliness is almost always a factor.

I think the only thing worse than no missionary at all is having missionaries who are there, but obviously lazy and immoral. That is a terrible example and terrible witness to the population that they are serving.

It is better, in my opinion, if missionaries are not young and new to ministry, but older and married. Even so, it's not easy, but that gives it a better chance.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My inclination would be that, while I think it would be good to increase the number of missionaries, if possible (not all countries are hostile to them, and some, especially African nations, are in dire need of them), I am concerned about quality as well as quantity.

I believe that a seminary grad should have to prove himself in ministry before being commissioned as a missionary, because there is so little oversight of missionaries that it really has to be someone responsible and reliable in a way that few even well-meaning people are.

Consider this scenario (which I find to be VERY common):

Steve Seminarygrad is in his mid-twenties and engaged to be married and believes he feels called of God to go to Thailand. He tells his fiancee that he will go over first for a year, get things settled, and then come back, they will marry, and he will bring her to join him.

So Steve, all enthusiastic, heads over to Thailand. He has to start learning Thai. He realizes he doesn't really like Thai food that much. The house he is in doesn't have air conditioning. He starts having some kind of digestive problems that continue to plague him, but he can't pin down the source. Maybe it's something he's eating. Maybe it's just the heat and stress. He's not sure. But he's enthusiastic, and he starts doing mission work. People are friendly, even responsive on some level, but he doesn't really have anyone to talk to. People follow him around, asking him for money and to help their spouse or adult son or daughter get a job in the USA. Some people are very friendly and want to practice their English on him. But he's not really accepted as one of them. He's a curiosity and a novelty among them, not a friend. Maybe over a period of years, he will learn the language and gain their trust enough to make some real friends, but right now, that's a goal that is out of reach.

Two months after he gets there, he wakes up one morning feeling a little blah and nauseous, and he decides not to go out doing ministry work that day. The next day he does go, but the day after that, he stays home again. He doesn't really think about it, but he is slipping into a lethargy brought on by the fact that there's no one around who knows or cares whether he goes to work or not. All of his supporters are thousands of miles away, and they send the same amount of money whether he works or just stays home watching Thai television. Gradually, his efforts at ministry start to drop off. He finds that he can go out once a month to visit an orphanage, take some pictures, send them to supporters, and no one knows the difference.

Eight months after he got there, he is really lonely and looking forward to going back home to see his family and be able to talk to someone. He thinks that things will be better once he gets married and brings his wife over. That's when he gets the letter from his fiancee breaking off the engagement. He has been gone too long, and she has thought things over and decided she doesn't want to get married and move to Thailand. Maybe she even met someone else.

It starts to occur to Steve that there are lots and lots of pretty girls right here in Thailand standing around on the streetcorners selling something he think might help him get over the loss of his fiancee. And nobody back home would ever know.

Now, I don't mean to insinuate anything about anyone here, but all of you pastors on this forum ask yourselves whether that's a situation where you would have stayed out of trouble as a young man in your twenties. There are some who do resist all temptation, but many who don't.

Now granted, not all situations are quite like that. Sometimes missionaries work in groups (which gives more accountibility), and sometimes they are married before they go. Even so, it's a tough situation, and loneliness is almost always a factor.

I think the only thing worse than no missionary at all is having missionaries who are there, but obviously lazy and immoral. That is a terrible example and terrible witness to the population that they are serving.

It is better, in my opinion, if missionaries are not young and new to ministry, but older and married. Even so, it's not easy, but that gives it a better chance.


If a missionary needs to prove himself in ministry before doing missionary work, should a US pastor also need to do the same? Yes or No, and why? How would this "proving" look different for each?

Most missionary agencies require some cross cultural training that helps them adjust. Stilll, however, attrition is about 5% per person per year (i.e. odds are that a married missionary couple at 5 years of service will have a 50% chance of leaving/have left the field). Pastoral rates of turnover are also very high.


Most missionaries I know work in some form of team or at least there is a level of accountability much greater than a pastor would have at a single-preacher church. Most missionaries I know also tend towards overwork rather than laziness and most have steller moral lives, though the stresses and family turmoil are also much higher.

-----Added 6/28/2009 at 12:59:29 EST-----

p.s. except for the bit about a missionary considering sleeping with prostitues, I would imagine that your scenario is, indeed, very common. I have known a few missionaries exhibiting those symptoms. Although lethargy, ennui and laziness in the US is generally easier and more common I would say.

Although, I just read, "Preventing Ministry Failure" by I-Forget, and he claims that 20% of pastors (US pastors I ould assume since it was an american survey) have been unfaithful to their wives. I would imagine the rates for missionaries couldn't be any more than that, and I would hope much less (though I still cannot believe the statistic of 20% myself).

P.s.s. I have been approached and propositioned twice and I can honestly say I never even tinkered with the thought. However, the US culture is generally much looser in sexual standards and so infidelity might be more common in the US compared with rates of use for overseas prostitutes, especially with fear of AIDS curbing the ardor of potential customers.
 

Caroline

Puritan Board Sophomore
If a missionary needs to prove himself in ministry before doing missionary work, should a US pastor also need to do the same? Yes or No, and why? How would this "proving" look different for each?

I'm suggesting that missionaries need to be 'proven' first because of the general lack of oversight in the field. If my pastor starts staying home playing solitaire on his computer instead of working (he doesn't, so don't anyone start writing letters), odds are that the people paying his salary would know very quickly. If one of our missionaries in Haiti gets a bit lazy, I don't know how we would ever find out.

Question ... and I don't mean to be paranoid here, but I feel that it has to be said ... how do you know that the missionaries work hard and lead stellar moral lives? Because they say they do?

Let me add here that I know that there are some who do work hard and lead good moral lives. I'm NOT saying that EVERY missionary is bad. And I also know that many who leave the field have done some good while they were there. Certainly, the turnover rate even for married missionaries is high, often because of marital stress or concerns about the welfare of the children, and that's ok that people leave when it is not a good thing for their family anymore. People can only do so much and they have to take their own family into consideration.

What I say comes of experience. I can't speak for everyone or every situation. But my husband was an MK in Mexico, and myself in South Korea/China/Mongolia. It's ok if you think I'm wrong, and perhaps I am a bit of a cynic. But sometimes you see the same problems over and over and over ... My husband and I have both known some missionaries who never even learned the local language and never did any discernable ministry, as far as we could tell. But this is not to discount the hardships either. My sister went to China as a missionary (and, as an MK herself, she was more prepared than most). She had been supposed to work at a school. When she arrived, her passport was confiscated (for 'safekeeping') and she was locked onto the school compound alone every night and weekend (again for 'safekeeping'). She became ill and ended up in the hospital where she was given a surgical procedure with no anesthesia. She returned to the USA after nine months.

The point of all my rambling is simply that it is a complex situation. There's a tendency to say, "We should send more missionaries! Start pushing seminary grads overseas!" But it's just more complicated than that. It's an admirable job, but it's not for everyone, and if there's not enough accountibility (which there usually is not), then you are asking for trouble. And it's a lot to ask of someone--psychologically and practically, it can be very challenging.

However, the US culture is generally much looser in sexual standards and so infidelity might be more common in the US compared with rates of use for overseas prostitutes, especially with fear of AIDS curbing the ardor of potential customers.

I'm sorry, but perhaps Muslim countries aside (I'm not sure, as I am not as familiar with them), this is not true. The USA is on the prudish side. Prostitution, etc, are HUGE problems in most Asian countries. I don't mean to be crude, but the town that I lived in South Korea had big life-size **** billboards, and there were advertisements featuring topless women on the subway.

In many cultures, there is a double standard ... 'good' women are generally expected to be 'pure', but men are expected to roam.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wow, this is a good discussion and I have said many times that we do need to get are missionaries trained. First I want to address some of the practical reasons why we are not sending missionaries out from are trained seminaries as a whole. First reason is debt. We force our pastors this high level training, which they need to rightly divide the word of truth, and in the process that have gathered 30 to 60 thousands of dollars of debt or more. The biblical and historical practice before seminaries was for pastors or elders to provide such historical instruction. By our churches not supporting pastoral candidates financially while they attend seminary we are actually shooting ourselves in the foot by limiting what they can do outside of the U.S. because of that established debt. I can go on this subject being a seminary student, but I won’t,

Second reason I don’t think we do because of they type of training we do in the practical theology realm is poor. Were good in systematics and languages, which is good, but some of the practical stuff I have seen can just be bad.

Thirdly, the high number of seminary students with families I think is another factor which we can discus later.

Fourthly, we have delegated missionary training away from churches and seminaries to non-denominational para-church organizations, instead of the focus and support coming from are local church. Which I think has had a terrible impact in our missionaries theological readiness.

Fifth, we don’t teach at our local churches even how to do basic evangelism as a whole and instead we give people a track to do as they please.

Sixth, the church is not seen primarily as an organization or body of believers committed to the outreach and teaching of God truth to his people everywhere across the Globe. And instead is focused on meeting the wants of the unchurched as is clearly seen in the Purpose Driven Church as is reinforced by are market consumer driven society.

All six of these reasons are practical and society reasons why we don’t have more missionaries in seminary and more seminary students not in the missionary field. And am sure we can come up with more reasons.

What are your thoughts?
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
If a missionary needs to prove himself in ministry before doing missionary work, should a US pastor also need to do the same? Yes or No, and why? How would this "proving" look different for each?

I'm suggesting that missionaries need to be 'proven' first because of the general lack of oversight in the field. If my pastor starts staying home playing solitaire on his computer instead of working (he doesn't, so don't anyone start writing letters), odds are that the people paying his salary would know very quickly. If one of our missionaries in Haiti gets a bit lazy, I don't know how we would ever find out.

Question ... and I don't mean to be paranoid here, but I feel that it has to be said ... how do you know that the missionaries work hard and lead stellar moral lives? Because they say they do?

Let me add here that I know that there are some who do work hard and lead good moral lives. I'm NOT saying that EVERY missionary is bad. And I also know that many who leave the field have done some good while they were there. Certainly, the turnover rate even for married missionaries is high, often because of marital stress or concerns about the welfare of the children, and that's ok that people leave when it is not a good thing for their family anymore. People can only do so much and they have to take their own family into consideration.

What I say comes of experience. I can't speak for everyone or every situation. But my husband was an MK in Mexico, and myself in South Korea/China/Mongolia. It's ok if you think I'm wrong, and perhaps I am a bit of a cynic. But sometimes you see the same problems over and over and over ... My husband and I have both known some missionaries who never even learned the local language and never did any discernable ministry, as far as we could tell. But this is not to discount the hardships either. My sister went to China as a missionary (and, as an MK herself, she was more prepared than most). She had been supposed to work at a school. When she arrived, her passport was confiscated (for 'safekeeping') and she was locked onto the school compound alone every night and weekend (again for 'safekeeping'). She became ill and ended up in the hospital where she was given a surgical procedure with no anesthesia. She returned to the USA after nine months.

The point of all my rambling is simply that it is a complex situation. There's a tendency to say, "We should send more missionaries! Start pushing seminary grads overseas!" But it's just more complicated than that. It's an admirable job, but it's not for everyone, and if there's not enough accountibility (which there usually is not), then you are asking for trouble. And it's a lot to ask of someone--psychologically and practically, it can be very challenging.

I have personally witnessed the lives of many missionaries. Most, I would say, work harder than their American counterparts in ministry. Things take longer overseas and meetings take longer and many cultures are more relational such that a 3 hour lunch meeting is "work" when we would think that 10 minutes would be enough. Most male missionaries trend towards overwork in my experience.

Also, local languages are very hard to learn. Many immigrants to the US take YEARS to learn Enlglish. Most missionaries need to be conversant within a year. Also, many are working in languages that do not have grammars and lexicons already made (they themselves making the lexicons). I am pretty good in the national language, but am struggling with learning my tribal language.



I really don't think the situation is that complicated. Many troubles abound in US ministry, but we continue to graduate young and fallible grads. And, the general expectation that goes unchallenged is that these graduates are graduating to serve in the US.

We could recruit and mobilize better, we could prepare grads better and mentor and train them better for overseas service IF missions was a priority instead of just an occasionally-thought-about option pursued by a very, very small percentage of the grads and not nurtured by seminaries themselves.

P.s. bad stories do abound. And extra cross-cultural training does need to happen for missionaries. Also, mentoring and accountability needs to be there. But the worst solution to solve these problems is not to focus on them less because they are complicated, but to focus on them more and prioritize these areas of need more.


Seminaries are to prepare people for ministry, but it is assumed that this is US ministry and missions programs at most seminaries are pathetically weak. I want to challenge that.

-----Added 6/28/2009 at 01:40:12 EST-----

If a missionary needs to prove himself in ministry before doing missionary work, should a US pastor also need to do the same? Yes or No, and why? How would this "proving" look different for each?

I'm suggesting that missionaries need to be 'proven' first because of the general lack of oversight in the field. If my pastor starts staying home playing solitaire on his computer instead of working (he doesn't, so don't anyone start writing letters), odds are that the people paying his salary would know very quickly. If one of our missionaries in Haiti gets a bit lazy, I don't know how we would ever find out.

Question ... and I don't mean to be paranoid here, but I feel that it has to be said ... how do you know that the missionaries work hard and lead stellar moral lives? Because they say they do?

Let me add here that I know that there are some who do work hard and lead good moral lives. I'm NOT saying that EVERY missionary is bad. And I also know that many who leave the field have done some good while they were there. Certainly, the turnover rate even for married missionaries is high, often because of marital stress or concerns about the welfare of the children, and that's ok that people leave when it is not a good thing for their family anymore. People can only do so much and they have to take their own family into consideration.

What I say comes of experience. I can't speak for everyone or every situation. But my husband was an MK in Mexico, and myself in South Korea/China/Mongolia. It's ok if you think I'm wrong, and perhaps I am a bit of a cynic. But sometimes you see the same problems over and over and over ... My husband and I have both known some missionaries who never even learned the local language and never did any discernable ministry, as far as we could tell. But this is not to discount the hardships either. My sister went to China as a missionary (and, as an MK herself, she was more prepared than most). She had been supposed to work at a school. When she arrived, her passport was confiscated (for 'safekeeping') and she was locked onto the school compound alone every night and weekend (again for 'safekeeping'). She became ill and ended up in the hospital where she was given a surgical procedure with no anesthesia. She returned to the USA after nine months.

The point of all my rambling is simply that it is a complex situation. There's a tendency to say, "We should send more missionaries! Start pushing seminary grads overseas!" But it's just more complicated than that. It's an admirable job, but it's not for everyone, and if there's not enough accountibility (which there usually is not), then you are asking for trouble. And it's a lot to ask of someone--psychologically and practically, it can be very challenging.

However, the US culture is generally much looser in sexual standards and so infidelity might be more common in the US compared with rates of use for overseas prostitutes, especially with fear of AIDS curbing the ardor of potential customers.

I'm sorry, but perhaps Muslim countries aside (I'm not sure, as I am not as familiar with them), this is not true. The USA is on the prudish side. Prostitution, etc, are HUGE problems in most Asian countries. I don't mean to be crude, but the town that I lived in South Korea had big life-size **** billboards, and there were advertisements featuring topless women on the subway.

In many cultures, there is a double standard ... 'good' women are generally expected to be 'pure', but men are expected to roam.

Muslims make up THE largest religion, and the largest fields right now.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Edward,

What do you mean by bringing missionaries in rather than sending them out? Is this a serious thought?

Serious, but generally impractical. Korea is really about the only country that could supply a significant number of reformed missionaries. And the Koreans are probably the group least in need.

But yes, there are many illegals here from Mexico and central America who don't speak much English. And some missionaries from the Yucatan could find a large mission field to work. Chinese, Indians (south Asia), Kenyans, Laotians - all need to be reached.


A lost soul is a lost soul, but a lost soul in Atlanta Georgia starves when the bread of life is close at hand. Some overseas have NEVER even heard the Gospel once and some places still have not even a book of the Bible translated.
The second largest ethnic group at my daughter's school is Chinese. One parent may speak excellent English and be employed in a high -tech job. The other parent may or may not speak English. And the grandparents who are caring for the kids certainly don't. Do you really think they can wander into any church in town and get 'the bread of life'? Even the local Chinese Baptist church might not be the solution, given the many Chinese dialects.


In this age of globalization there are Westerners travelling everywhere. For instance, Dubai has a large western population as does other Asian and many Muslim countries. We are already sending hundreds of missionaries to the Muslim world and many are meeting with fields that are white for the harvest, yet with few workers. In fact, there are thousands of missionaries already in muslim-majority countries.
And the few that I have known haven't been earnest young seminary grads. They've been businessmen, or educators, or medical personnel. Are you suggesting that newly minted seminary grads can go waltzing into Saudi, or Pakistan to start knocking on doors and planting churches?

Edward, are you really being serious in your assertions?
Yes. Have you ever been to Europe (or San Francisco, for that matter?)
Here's some reading for you:

Britain is no longer a Christian nation, claims Church of England Bishop
Britain is no longer a Christian nation, claims Church of England Bishop - Telegraph
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Wow, this is a good discussion and I have said many times that we do need to get are missionaries trained. First I want to address some of the practical reasons why we are not sending missionaries out from are trained seminaries as a whole. First reason is debt. We force our pastors this high level training, which they need to rightly divide the word of truth, and in the process that have gathered 30 to 60 thousands of dollars of debt or more. The biblical and historical practice before seminaries was for pastors or elders to provide such historical instruction. By our churches not supporting pastoral candidates financially while they attend seminary we are actually shooting ourselves in the foot by limiting what they can do outside of the U.S. because of that established debt. I can go on this subject being a seminary student, but I won’t,

Second reason I don’t think we do because of they type of training we do in the practical theology realm is poor. Were good in systematics and languages, which is good, but some of the practical stuff I have seen can just be bad.

Thirdly, the high number of seminary students with families I think is another factor which we can discus later.

Fourthly, we have delegated missionary training away from churches and seminaries to non-denominational para-church organizations, instead of the focus and support coming from are local church. Which I think has had a terrible impact in our missionaries theological readiness.

Fifth, we don’t teach at our local churches even how to do basic evangelism as a whole and instead we give people a track to do as they please.

Sixth, the church is not seen primarily as an organization or body of believers committed to the outreach and teaching of God truth to his people everywhere across the Globe. And instead is focused on meeting the wants of the unchurched as is clearly seen in the Purpose Driven Church as is reinforced by are market consumer driven society.

All six of these reasons are practical and society reasons why we don’t have more missionaries in seminary and more seminary students not in the missionary field. And am sure we can come up with more reasons.

What are your thoughts?

Amen to your points.

Amen to points one and two.

About families, they are not that big of a hindrance to most mission fields. Families actually help in many places by lending missionaries an aire (sp?) of credibility and trustworthiness.

About your 4th point: I agree a little and disagree a little. There needs to be VERY CLOSE local church invovlement, but most local churches have NO ONE that has had considerable overseas experience and they are simply not qualified to train missionaries to a quality level. There is nothing wrong with former missionaries forming a training group or org and helping the local churches to send their people. My local church supports me much, but they would fail to process my visas and they ould fail to teach me how to learn linguistics or deal with culture shock.

Amen to five and six.

-----Added 6/28/2009 at 01:50:58 EST-----

Edward,

What do you mean by bringing missionaries in rather than sending them out? Is this a serious thought?

Serious, but generally impractical. Korea is really about the only country that could supply a significant number of reformed missionaries. And the Koreans are probably the group least in need.

But yes, there are many illegals here from Mexico and central America who don't speak much English. And some missionaries from the Yucatan could find a large mission field to work. Chinese, Indians (south Asia), Kenyans, Laotians - all need to be reached.


A lost soul is a lost soul, but a lost soul in Atlanta Georgia starves when the bread of life is close at hand. Some overseas have NEVER even heard the Gospel once and some places still have not even a book of the Bible translated.
The second largest ethnic group at my daughter's school is Chinese. One parent may speak excellent English and be employed in a high -tech job. The other parent may or may not speak English. And the grandparents who are caring for the kids certainly don't. Do you really think they can wander into any church in town and get 'the bread of life'? Even the local Chinese Baptist church might not be the solution, given the many Chinese dialects.


In this age of globalization there are Westerners travelling everywhere. For instance, Dubai has a large western population as does other Asian and many Muslim countries. We are already sending hundreds of missionaries to the Muslim world and many are meeting with fields that are white for the harvest, yet with few workers. In fact, there are thousands of missionaries already in muslim-majority countries.
And the few that I have known haven't been earnest young seminary grads. They've been businessmen, or educators, or medical personnel. Are you suggesting that newly minted seminary grads can go waltzing into Saudi, or Pakistan to start knocking on doors and planting churches?

Edward, are you really being serious in your assertions?
Yes. Have you ever been to Europe (or San Francisco, for that matter?)
Here's some reading for you:

Britain is no longer a Christian nation, claims Church of England Bishop
Britain is no longer a Christian nation, claims Church of England Bishop - Telegraph

Edward, when I say "mission field" I am including Britain and europe.

Also, yes, many businessman are going to Asian cities to do business. With an increase of travel by Westerners, it is that much easier for missionaries also to go.

And yes, if a member of an unreached group comes to the US, then we should reach them here. But also, there is still a need for many many to go overseas also.

I don;t kno how to respond to your post because I cannot picture what you are advocating. I don't quite get your arguments.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Edward, when I say "mission field" I am including Britain and europe.

OK, from your first and third paragraphs, you seemed to be lumping all of the western world together.

Also, yes, many businessman are going to Asian cities to do business. With an increase of travel by Westerners, it is that much easier for missionaries also to go.

I just know how our church deals with closed and semi-closed countries. Perhaps we are wasting efforts, and a more direct approach might work.

And yes, if a member of an unreached group comes to the US, then we should reach them here. But also, there is still a need for many many to go overseas also.
And that brings us back to the question as to whether folks that look and sound like them can best reach them.
I don;t kno how to respond to your post because I cannot picture what you are advocating. I don't quite get your arguments.

1. Starting with your basic point, sending a third, or a sixth, of new seminary grads to foreign mission fields, and specifically Muslim ones, is a recipe for disaster.

2. The west, including the US, needs to be recognized as a multicultural morass in need of missionaries.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I can understand where you’re coming from with my third reason; however I just think it is a factor many go out to some degree and not necessarily a good excuse. I can come up with reasons why a family can be a hindrance being a single man on the mission field such as providing for their physical needs or health issues, but I can also see where they are an asset.

In my four reason and point, do not get me wrong I so not have anything personally against para-church organizations, but there does need to be more church involvement in the process of sending out missionaries and that is the more biblical model, we cannot deny that with Paul being sent forth from Antioch. In fact this is where are denominations need to stand up and do what there suppose to do as a network of churches; especially the Baptist associations that claim to exist to assist in the training of pastors and missionaries to go out to the field. Instead what I see more from Baptist is a focus in their energy and time to moral and political issues, versus the Gospel and the full council of God. I do not have an issue with a church sending someone to a para church organization, but in my experience theologically those organizations are not completely theologically sound in many of the much needed particulars of the Christian faith, which I can go in detail if you like. But needless to say most churches need to be more involved sending people out for missionary work. And sending teens/kids to a camp for missions really does not cut it as giving people evangelism training (personal indictment against someone/group unnamed).
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I can understand where you’re coming from with my third reason; however I just think it is a factor many go out to some degree and not necessarily a good excuse. I can come up with reasons why a family can be a hindrance being a single man on the mission field such as providing for their physical needs or health issues, but I can also see where they are an asset.

In my four reason and point, do not get me wrong I so not have anything personally against para-church organizations, but there does need to be more church involvement in the process of sending out missionaries and that is the more biblical model, we cannot deny that with Paul being sent forth from Antioch. In fact this is where are denominations need to stand up and do what there suppose to do as a network of churches; especially the Baptist associations that claim to exist to assist in the training of pastors and missionaries to go out to the field. Instead what I see more from Baptist is a focus in their energy and time to moral and political issues, versus the Gospel and the full council of God. I do not have an issue with a church sending someone to a para church organization, but in my experience theologically those organizations are not completely theologically sound in many of the much needed particulars of the Christian faith, which I can go in detail if you like. But needless to say most churches need to be more involved sending people out for missionary work. And sending teens/kids to a camp for missions really does not cut it as giving people evangelism training (personal indictment against someone/group unnamed).

If you want to, let's start a discussion of HOW to send missionaries. But for the record, most mission agencies that I know of honor the local church. A local church can send a missionary but do so through a mission org and the local church is still doing the sending. Whatever problems you have against mission orgs, to be consistent, you also need to have against seminaries and Bible schools.

The Biblical model is this: Antioch "released" Paul to serve on his "mission field" and while on the field, Paul and his band made semi-autonomous decisions that did not first pass through Antioch (Paul recruited other missionaries, they decided where to go, etc, and how to work with without first consulting Antioch. I.e. it was a field-based approach which very much looks like the missions teams that evangelical orgs are fielding today.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Since the Great Commission was given to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and given that the need for a gospel witness is SO much higher in other countries, shouldn't we expect that a great majority of our seminary graduates will be sent out overseas as missionaries as opposed to serving in churches in the Western world?
Your premise seems to be that the leaders of our seminaries have got it all wrong, no?

AMR
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Since the Great Commission was given to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and given that the need for a gospel witness is SO much higher in other countries, shouldn't we expect that a great majority of our seminary graduates will be sent out overseas as missionaries as opposed to serving in churches in the Western world?
Your premise seems to be that the leaders of our seminaries have got it all wrong, no?

AMR

No. They are doing many good things. But they keep preparing to feed the most well-fed instead of focusing on the most-hungry. They are doing good things, but are not allocating resources in proportion to where the needs lie. If most of the needs lie outside the US and seminary is primarily geared towards US service, then this does not seem like good strategy. Many, many seminaries and bible schools are very weak in missions preparation.
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I didn’t say these organizations did not honor the local church. I think they do, but needless to my fault more with the local churches not doing their responsibility. And honestly I do have issues with are seminaries, but I see their practical need just like I do with the missionary organizations.

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. Acts 13:1-4

I do see the biblical model as being more then a release but a sending forth. And in the end of chapter 14 they returned to give testimony of what they did to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas as we see established more then just churches, but also ruling elders in these churches, which should be done in my option by theologically trained people; which Paul was. Training they we typically give to people these days in seminaries, even though I think more needs to be done by the local church. And I do think I am being consistent here, but I also am practical and see the reality of the world we are in.

In regards to Edward’s quote:
“1. Starting with your basic point, sending a third, or a sixth, of new seminary grads to foreign mission fields, and specifically Muslim ones, is a recipe for disaster.”
The Muslim people groups of the world need to hear Christ and him crucified. I don’t care who it is from as long as it is an orthodoxy is being taught and proclaimed. Multi-culturalism is not the issue. We will always be a odds against the culture. Now are there things we shouldn’t do, of course. Like we should not be giving then King James Bibles, that just dumb. Also another dumb thing is making them sing in English are hymns. We are not neglecting certain cultural references, but how can they hear if one is not sent? We can go and we should go because we are Calvinists and we believe that God has people everywhere in this world and that includes the Muslims. I recognize with them as a people group that it takes work. Perhaps 3 to 5 years of work proclaiming Christ and preparing a defense; which implies that the ground work needs to be laid now so that more can come to faith through their own people. It is not a recipe for disaster if these young preachers are trained properly to reach them and who knows the result may initially be the shedding of blood on our own part; which is one of the best testimonies we can give to Christ and to the people of those areas; for why fear the sword when we have such a great a mighty king that has the sovereignty to save if he so desires by the working of His Spirit.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I didn’t say these organizations did not honor the local church. I think they do, but needless to my fault more with the local churches not doing their responsibility. And honestly I do have issues with are seminaries, but I see their practical need just like I do with the missionary organizations.

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. Acts 13:1-4

I do see the biblical model as being more then a release but a sending forth. And in the end of chapter 14 they returned to give testimony of what they did to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas as we see established more then just churches, but also ruling elders in these churches, which should be done in my option by theologically trained people; which Paul was. Training they we typically give to people these days in seminaries, even though I think more needs to be done by the local church. And I do think I am being consistent here, but I also am practical and see the reality of the world we are in.

In regards to Edward’s quote:
“1. Starting with your basic point, sending a third, or a sixth, of new seminary grads to foreign mission fields, and specifically Muslim ones, is a recipe for disaster.”
The Muslim people groups of the world need to hear Christ and him crucified. I don’t care who it is from as long as it is an orthodoxy is being taught and proclaimed. Multi-culturalism is not the issue. We will always be a odds against the culture. Now are there things we shouldn’t do, of course. Like we should not be giving then King James Bibles, that just dumb. Also another dumb thing is making them sing in English are hymns. We are not neglecting certain cultural references, but how can they hear if one is not sent? We can go and we should go because we are Calvinists and we believe that God has people everywhere in this world and that includes the Muslims. I recognize with them as a people group that it takes work. Perhaps 3 to 5 years of work proclaiming Christ and preparing a defense; which implies that the ground work needs to be laid now so that more can come to faith through their own people. It is not a recipe for disaster if these young preachers are trained properly to reach them and who knows the result may initially be the shedding of blood on our own part; which is one of the best testimonies we can give to Christ and to the people of those areas; for why fear the sword when we have such a great a mighty king that has the sovereignty to save if he so desires by the working of His Spirit.

I think we are agreed.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Since the Great Commission was given to the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, and given that the need for a gospel witness is SO much higher in other countries, shouldn't we expect that a great majority of our seminary graduates will be sent out overseas as missionaries as opposed to serving in churches in the Western world?
Your premise seems to be that the leaders of our seminaries have got it all wrong, no?

AMR

No. They are doing many good things. But they keep preparing to feed the most well-fed instead of focusing on the most-hungry. They are doing good things, but are not allocating resources in proportion to where the needs lie. If most of the needs lie outside the US and seminary is primarily geared towards US service, then this does not seem like good strategy. Many, many seminaries and bible schools are very weak in missions preparation.
Seems to me your answer is actually "yes" given the statement above. ;)

I take issue with the "well-fed vs. most-hungry" distinction you are trying to draw, for it seems to imply that the needs of the many souls outweighs the needs of the one soul, yet I find no such distinction drawn in Scripture, which clearly attests to the value of each and every soul. You see, it might be that one elect person in the suburbs of Detroit or Los Angeles that hears the Good News from these freshly minted seminarians, and is filled with the Spirit for missions work and goes on to do great things for the glory of God.

Lest you misunderstand my motives, let me state that when and if my ill wife is called home before I am, I fully intend to sell all that I own and spend my few remaining years in a missions capacity, fully funded by my savings. So, yes, I believe in missions work and have the greatest respect for those that are doing this. My only "beef" if you will, is with anyone who believes that the field of their calling is somehow being overlooked by so many Godly men in seminary leadership positions or, in this specific instance, that somehow God is not calling enough missionaries. Yet perhaps your opening post is one link in the ordained chain of events that will change all of this. I can grant that. But do you at least see my other view?

AMR
 
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dr_parsley

Puritan Board Freshman
What a great topic and a good discussion so far.

OK, first if I may humbly (and I mean that) just give some context for my comments and opinions: I've been living in the bush in South Africa for 5 years, I'm accountable to my church in the UK and I'm not associated with a para, I have complete autonomy (within the bounds of accountability). I must be at least listening to God right sometimes because using a fraction of my time for leadership God is training, equipping, growing and using over a hundred local churches, and my Zulu is terrible. All His work of course; I see myself as one of His slaves on location to do His bidding when He calls. The rest of my time I try to uplift the community in human ways.

OK then, I don't know where to start on this subject. My route here was not typical and I don't know a lot about seminaries or mission organisations, but I have a strong feeling that a person should be somewhat matured before they undertake a serious mission in a strange culture and also a strong feeling that a seminary or any kind of training, is going to produce learning rather than maturation. God takes His own time with us and if He wants to take twenty years to mature someone sufficiently for this work, then you can't make it happen quicker by going to seminary.

I would want to see God's call being properly identified and false positives identified. If it's God's will, nothing you can do will stop it and if it's not God's will then nothing will save it. The elders in this process need to be listening to God and sensitive to the movements of the Spirit. Here's a way to discern a true call: if you call someone's bluff and say, "We will support you but not financially; we want you to prove your commitment and understanding of your call by getting a job and saving $20,000 towards your mission even if it takes you 5 years; come back when you've done that and we can really talk." This will weed out people who see Christian work as a career or are just too lazy to get a proper job and skills (there are people like that).

My experience was that I wanted to come out 4 years before I did, but I knew I didn't have enough skills and it never even occurred to me to get funding from elsewhere. So I got a proper job, gained a load of very useful skills in business and project management and then sold my house for the capital. Looking back, I think in that kind of situation, commitment is clear and God's call is highly likely. If, after 4 years, my enthusiasm was all but dead and hadn't produced preparatory fruit that would have been a strong sign that it wasn't a call from God at all. We want the right people to go out, not just lots of people. Ideally lots of right people!

Once someone's call has been identified, they need to go for a short term (3 months, say) while being mentored by an experienced missionary. We should train our experienced and knowledgeable missionaries in mentoring to be sure they get it right. In this way we should transfer knowledge from experience from one godly man to another.

If I were to mentor someone, from what I've learned so far, I would emphasise, "Assume you know nothing other than the gospel. Don't assume you know what the community needs or what the churches need. Assuming there are already some Christians in the place, get to know the most godly person locally and listen to God and him. Then work through local people. Don't have the arrogance to think that you could speak to a crowd of people better than your local partners. Be attentive to the movement of the Spirit, but don't think you have to do something if the Spirit isn't moving; do something else useful instead but always keep attentive for when the time comes. If God has His way then it will be clear. The work doesn't depend on you; God could achieve the work in any number of ways; He's using the work to bless you and the gaps to humble you."
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Your premise seems to be that the leaders of our seminaries have got it all wrong, no?

AMR

No. They are doing many good things. But they keep preparing to feed the most well-fed instead of focusing on the most-hungry. They are doing good things, but are not allocating resources in proportion to where the needs lie. If most of the needs lie outside the US and seminary is primarily geared towards US service, then this does not seem like good strategy. Many, many seminaries and bible schools are very weak in missions preparation.
Seems to me your answer is actually "yes" given the statement above. ;)

I take issue with the "well-fed vs. most-hungry" distinction you are trying to draw, for it seems to imply that the needs of the many souls outweighs the needs of the one soul, yet I find no such distinction drawn in Scripture, which clearly attests to the value of each and every soul. You see, it might be that one elect person in the suburbs of Detroit or Los Angeles that hears the Good News from these freshly minted seminarians, and is filled with the Spirit for missions work and goes on to do great things for the glory of God.

Lest you misunderstand my motives, let me state that when and if my ill wife is called home before I am, I fully intend to sell all that I own and spend my few remaining years in a missions capacity, fully funded by my savings. So, yes, I believe in missions work and have the greatest respect for those that are doing this. My only "beef" if you will, is with anyone who believes that the field of their calling is somehow being overlooked by so many Godly men in seminary leadership positions or, in this specific instance, that somehow God is not calling enough missionaries. Yet perhaps your opening post is one link in the ordained chain of events that will change all of this. I can grant that. But do you at least see my other view?

AMR

I believe in vigorous secondary causes.


I also believe that there IS a priority of evangelism.

In Romans 15 Paul moved on. You seem to be saying that there isn't a good theological reason for moving on once churches are planted. I think I can prove my case from Scripture that frontier peoples and the unreached ethne have higher priority. We can discuss this further if you would like.

-----Added 6/28/2009 at 09:01:05 EST-----

What a great topic and a good discussion so far.

OK, first if I may humbly (and I mean that) just give some context for my comments and opinions: I've been living in the bush in South Africa for 5 years, I'm accountable to my church in the UK and I'm not associated with a para, I have complete autonomy (within the bounds of accountability). I must be at least listening to God right sometimes because using a fraction of my time for leadership God is training, equipping, growing and using over a hundred local churches, and my Zulu is terrible. All His work of course; I see myself as one of His slaves on location to do His bidding when He calls. The rest of my time I try to uplift the community in human ways.

OK then, I don't know where to start on this subject. My route here was not typical and I don't know a lot about seminaries or mission organisations, but I have a strong feeling that a person should be somewhat matured before they undertake a serious mission in a strange culture and also a strong feeling that a seminary or any kind of training, is going to produce learning rather than maturation. God takes His own time with us and if He wants to take twenty years to mature someone sufficiently for this work, then you can't make it happen quicker by going to seminary.

I would want to see God's call being properly identified and false positives identified. If it's God's will, nothing you can do will stop it and if it's not God's will then nothing will save it. The elders in this process need to be listening to God and sensitive to the movements of the Spirit. Here's a way to discern a true call: if you call someone's bluff and say, "We will support you but not financially; we want you to prove your commitment and understanding of your call by getting a job and saving $20,000 towards your mission even if it takes you 5 years; come back when you've done that and we can really talk." This will weed out people who see Christian work as a career or are just too lazy to get a proper job and skills (there are people like that).

My experience was that I wanted to come out 4 years before I did, but I knew I didn't have enough skills and it never even occurred to me to get funding from elsewhere. So I got a proper job, gained a load of very useful skills in business and project management and then sold my house for the capital. Looking back, I think in that kind of situation, commitment is clear and God's call is highly likely. If, after 4 years, my enthusiasm was all but dead and hadn't produced preparatory fruit that would have been a strong sign that it wasn't a call from God at all. We want the right people to go out, not just lots of people. Ideally lots of right people!

Once someone's call has been identified, they need to go for a short term (3 months, say) while being mentored by an experienced missionary. We should train our experienced and knowledgeable missionaries in mentoring to be sure they get it right. In this way we should transfer knowledge from experience from one godly man to another.

If I were to mentor someone, from what I've learned so far, I would emphasise, "Assume you know nothing other than the gospel. Don't assume you know what the community needs or what the churches need. Assuming there are already some Christians in the place, get to know the most godly person locally and listen to God and him. Then work through local people. Don't have the arrogance to think that you could speak to a crowd of people better than your local partners. Be attentive to the movement of the Spirit, but don't think you have to do something if the Spirit isn't moving; do something else useful instead but always keep attentive for when the time comes. If God has His way then it will be clear. The work doesn't depend on you; God could achieve the work in any number of ways; He's using the work to bless you and the gaps to humble you."

I think I agree with your main points, i.e., that a missionary must be mature. However, with proper mentoring and guidance, even "newbies" can take roles on the mission field.

You appear to be totally on your own and I don't think this is healthy or that any except the most mature can hack this. You must be one of those very rare individuals that can succeed under those situations. However, I am not in favor of making over-strict rules for those who would want to serve. Living in Tokyo in an urban apartment might not be as trying as living in the bush. There are many opportunities to serve and there are many Asian and Urban scenarios that ould even be a fit for the physically weak.

Also, you are in a country that is open to missionaries and you CAN be an independant. Other places require other expertises, such as arranging visas, etc, or require working with a group that has contact persons in the right places so that you can gain entry into the country through religious or work visas. It is much harder to "go it alone" under those circumstances...and I am not sure going it alone would be healthy in any case.

You are 100% right in your thoughts on seminary. I have long thought that it would be better for a missionary to seek a solid practical trade and work with his hands a awhile before going, rather than graduating seminary as a test of worth. If you can survive on your own, work hard, endure hardship, then these might be better indicators for usccess than a degree; which is hy most missionary orgs do not require seminary training though many churches do.


I also agree that one's calling must be positively identified, and that clearly so. But what is a missionary call except a strong desire according to the Scripture and confirmed by the larger body of Christ? I see no difference in the need for pastors; we must confirm the calling of both pastors and missionaries. I don't see hy we need to put extra needless tests to this calling for one class but not the other.
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior

So, what's your thoughts....instead of smugly sitting there and munching your popcorn? :p

:popcorn::think:

I've wanted to comment on the last few threads, but I have been really busy the last little while! And given that my seminary has basically just axed our mission program (which thankfully I was able to complete before it met the way of the dodo) I have a few things to say on the topic!
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Pergamum,
I disagree with a central premise: "Many of those who are not Christians are those who have already rejected the gospel."

I think that quite a few people who claim to be Christians don't really understand the gospel so how can we say that the majority of non Christians know the gospel but have just rejected it.

Until we really get it down here with people next door, I do not think we should spend that much time worrying about people around the world.

CT
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Pergamum,
I disagree with a central premise: "Many of those who are not Christians are those who have already rejected the gospel."

I think that quite a few people who claim to be Christians don't really understand the gospel so how can we say that the majority of non Christians know the gospel but have just rejected it.

Until we really get it down here with people next door, I do not think we should spend that much time worrying about people around the world.

CT

Where are you pulling my quote from? I don't remember saying that and, if I did, I need to revise this.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Pergamum,
I disagree with a central premise: "Many of those who are not Christians are those who have already rejected the gospel."

I think that quite a few people who claim to be Christians don't really understand the gospel so how can we say that the majority of non Christians know the gospel but have just rejected it.

Until we really get it down here with people next door, I do not think we should spend that much time worrying about people around the world.

CT

Where are you pulling my quote from? I don't remember saying that and, if I did, I need to revise this.

The second line of the opening post.

CT
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Ah, yes,

Those in the West, in America, are not Christians almost always because they do not want what is offered.

I have yet to meet someone who had no access to a bible in the USA. If someone were curious and wanted to seek, they could find easily here.

I would rather minister to the truly starving instead of spiritual anorexics who refuse to eat when the bread of life is within arm's reach.


So yes, I stand by that quote. When speaking of the USA those that are not Christians are mostly those who have and are rejecting the Gospel due to their outright rejection, their indiffference, their willing ignorance despite mountains of resources, or their lack of prioritization. If they rejectdue to ignorance then they are willfully ignorant and are shutting their ears to the Gospel.

Of course, some children this might not apply to if they are young and are in god-hating homes.
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
Ah, yes,

Those in the West, in America, are not Christians almost always because they do not want what is offered.

I have yet to meet someone who had no access to a bible in the USA. If someone were curious and wanted to seek, they could find easily here.
Do you think that there is a geographical aspect to God's decree in that there are some countries that God has limited those whom He will elect from within?

AMR
 
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