See the editorial for the Mar/Apr 2016 issue: “This issue of the Carolina Messenger serves to highlight some of the matters that congregations of the Lord’s church need to think about when it comes to mission work. … Therefore, each of the subjects covered in this issue will focus on making the church in the United States more aware of what missionaries face and how churches might better serve mission efforts.”
So far, we see two articles posted on the subject, on the challenges and blessings of missions.
Wayne Burger writes about C.A.O. Essien’s conversion and amazing work in Eastern Nigeria in the 20th Century. A wonderful read. Thousands were baptized and many churches established before any Americans arrived.
Wishing to better his English, Essien responded to an ad to learn English that he saw in a magazine. It was an ad from the International Correspondence School in Munich and Anna Marie Braun became his teacher. At the bottom of one of his English lessons, Essien scribbled a note, “Do you know of a Correspondence Course that teaches the Bible?” On the graded return form Braun wrote, “Try the Lawrence Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee.” He wrote for a course and began studying the Bible in this way. During the year he finished the course and had requested another 140 courses to give to others.
On his personal blog Texas preacher Kevin Cauley wrote today something that is valid for churches the world over, and especially for those who tend toward the practical and toward efficiency:
This [emphasis on results] never works with the church because the church is not a product, the church is a people, and we should be people focused. People are not predictable. They have free-will. You never really know what they are going to do. For this reason, they can never be “results.” People are not results. When we look at people as if they are a result, we dehumanize them. They cease being people and start becoming a commodity. Jesus didn’t die for a commodity; He died for people. Things are commodities; people are not commodities. Things may be abused, misused, and destroyed. People may not be abused, misused, and destroyed. Our mistake is that we use people and love things when we should be loving people and using things (thank you Dick Sztanyo for this point)!
What do we lose when we are results oriented? People. People become means to an end.
Read the whole article here.
Alabaman Mike Brooks has been writing for quite a while as a columnist for Forthright Magazine. His column is called “Field Notes,” reflecting his experiences in Nepal and Bangladesh. Mike spends about six months a year in those two countries. He normally uses some event or happening as a starting point for his articles. These serve as an excellent perspective to keep one from getting too comfortable with one’s own culture.
Others who write for Forthright also have cross-cultural experience. Jon Galloway lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. Stan Mitchell grew up in Africa, son of a missionary. Yours Truly, of course, is a marathon guy in Brazil.
So reading Forthright Magazine, you get a huge dose of missions. FMag is unique in that way. Another good reason to sign up.
Among us, missions efforts go in many different directions. As people interested in, and involved in, missions, you might find this article, “What American churches can learn from the mission field,” to be of interest to you.
Additional points that others might add would be most welcome. Comments on the points listed are also desired.
I almost let the Gospel Progress website go by the wayside. There’s not much demand for it. Most missionaries and missions trainers already have too much to do, yours truly included. And what difference would one little website make in the big scheme of things?
But didn’t the Lord say that where one or two are gathered, he is there in their midst? The context? Saving a soul. Continue reading “The ongoing need for sustainable missions”