Fellowship / Friendships on the field

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by MikeinGhana, Dec 2, 2005.

  1. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    Here is a subject that seldom gets talked about. Where should missionaries draw the line on spending time with other fellow missionaries who are of a different persuasion/denomination? If we missionaries spend time socially with those who are not doctrinally compatible with our ministry, can that lead to our people feeling like we should also fellowship ecclesiastically with them? Does this send a wrong signal to them?
     
  2. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    Mike,

    We fellowship with a Charismatic and a Reformed Presbyterian. We try to keep our fellowship with them outside of the knowledge of our church folks and also we do not fellowship ecclesiastically. I have had good discussions with these two men and we have agreed to disagree agreeably on everything EXCEPT the means of salvation. I don't believe that any of us compromise our doctrinal differences or our messages in order to fellowship socially.

    I know some good men will disagree with me here (some of them might be sending pastors), and that is their right.

    We'll have to get along in Heaven anyways so we just got a little head start down here.

    That's my two pesos worth.
     
  3. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I hesistate to say a whole lot.

    In the States it is easy to find plenty of Christians of you own persuasion to fellowship with. On the field in most countries you don't have that privilage.

    I am freinds with and fellowship socially with Christians whom I owuld not preach for or have preach in our church.
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Fellowship? What's that? [​IMG] We was in Yokohama, 3 million people, for 13 years. For only one of those years was there an IFB missionary in Yokohama, and he was on the other side of town. We lived in a ward of Yokohama with 180,000 people and no missionaries whatsoever for those 13 years. After a few years someone started a military work 1/2 hour away, and about once a month we would get down there. How sweet it was! Or sometimes we would drive 2 or 3 hours to see other friends.

    Here in Asahikawa, we have 2 other families with our board in town--how sweet it is! The only other missionary in town is a woman preacher from Canada. So, fellowship with other groups? What's that? :D
     
  5. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    John,

    I feel bad for you brother. I know how hard it can be when you feel like you are alone on an island even when in a crowded metropolis. I agree with Mex, I try to downplay my relationships with other missionaries who are not IFB. I do not hide it. I do not promote the fact either. It is what it is, friendship. I have had opportunity to speak doctrine with them as well.

    Do you think churches back home would understand this? Do you think there could be a problem with those who support us if they knew?
     
  6. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Good question Mike. Like you I am not ashamed of my friends, but I don't make a big issue out of it. My non IFB friends know where I stand and respect it.

    Not like there is THAT much to make an issue out of. One evangelical family that we are close to a few people in the next town over, but we only see them occasionally.

    The vast majority of our friends are lost Irish people.
     
  7. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    Have you ever been asked this on a missionary questionaire from a supporting church? I personally have not but could see where it could happen.
     
  8. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I think I may have been one time while on deputation when it was still theory and not practical.
     
  9. bapmom

    bapmom
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    We know several missionaries in Japan, now. I hope that when we are on the mission field there we will be able to fellowship with them even though most are not from the mission board we are from and on some things we don't necessarily agree.

    I guess Id go ahead and have fellowship and not assume that I have to report every little thing to the supporting churches.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    You know what? When there is little human fellowship, the joy of the Lord becomes that much sweeter! God taught us so much in our days in Yokohama.

    Concerning the churches back home, I see a lot more concern about us on the field than I did when we came over in 1981. My birthday was yesterday and I actually got 4 e-mails and about 4 cards from supporting churches and their members.

    But in my experience the issue we are discussing is completely off the radar of American churches. It is one of those things about the mission field that just never even enters the mind of a pastor or supporting church unless they visit the mission field. :(
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    By all means come to Hokkaido, bapmom. We'll show you our Snow Festival, our beautiful mountain with the cable car and twin waterfalls, a replica of either an Ainu village or a samurai village. [​IMG]
     
  12. bapmom

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    Oh my! A samurai village? When I show my husband that he will be on the next plane!

    Thanks John of Japan. I hope that someday we can actually do that!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amazing how actually being out here changes your perspective, eh C4K? :D
     
  14. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    The best thing a church can do for its missions program is take a trip to a field. It revolutionizes their attitudes. Sorry for being off topic!
     
  15. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Amazing how actually being out here changes your perspective, eh C4K? :D </font>[/QUOTE]Yup, I wish I could be missions director at my home church with what I know now. It would be a "kinder, gentler" missions committee.
     
  16. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    You really can tell the difference in missions boards and committees when the leaders have first hand experience of what it takes to survive on the field. When the leadership has not been there and done that, so to speak, there is such a disconnection with the reality of missions. It becomes more theoretical than practical.
     
  17. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    All those years I led the missions committee I really never had a clue AT ALL.

    I agree Mike, every church should send someone from their missions committee to the field. It would revolutionise missions programmes.
     
  18. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    I have another question that could fit in here, but, I am going to start another thread so it does not get lost because of the subject: Problems among missionaries on the field.
     
  19. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    C4K,

    I always get a kick out of the transformation I usually see when a man who is pastoring gets called to the field. They learn real fast- or they never make it past the first term, or even to the field for that matter.

    OTOH, my favorite sending pastors are men who were formerly missionaries. They gave me so much good advice when we were on deputation, and have stood by me to this day.
     
  20. superdave

    superdave
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    I am looking forward to a missions trip in the spring. I think it will open my eyes to what missionaries really deal with in a remote foreign mission. One of the missionaries that I spoke to that has been on the field told me to make sure I leave my midwestern american perspective at home, as my experience will be far removed from anything I have experienced in my short life as a WASB cheese head transplanted to Motown.

    I know of several missionaries that work on teams with multiple team members, they seem to like both the camraderie, and the ability to share workload, maintain ministries during furlough, etc.

    Our pastor has been on several trips, he is also supposed to go with us in the spring, and I remember most recently when he came home from India, his already strong commitment to missions seemed exponentially stronger.
     

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