For my fellow missionaries- long

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Mexdeaf, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    I want to share with you some comments I received from a pastor and seek your thoughts on them.

    "Much of what we call missions (because it falls in the missions budget) is not missions at all. For example: there are several groups that go and help a church build a building- that is called missions. A man could have a medical "ministry"- that is called missions. A soup kitchen or homeless shelter- missions. A pregnancy care center- missions. A Bible printing ministry- missions. Awana (do not get me started), CEF (same category) missions. The Alma Mater- missions. A retreat or campground- missions. A man runs a Bible College in a foreign country- missions. A Children's Home- missions. A Sports Ministry- missions. A Christian School- missions. Going around to fairs in a booth and strong arming professions- missions. Why is someone who goes to Alaska considered a missionary- it is America.

    I wonder if the reason we are not reaching the world is because we have become so Welfare like with our missions policies. We spoil a missionary on deputation. They travel around for 2-3 years and many (not all) live the best years of their lives. They go and struggle on the field about 2-3 years and have to come back to get their fix of being spoiled on deputation. Or Pastor a Church in the States or drop out all together.

    I have had them come back to raise money for life insurance or health insurance or a vehicle. Or come home for "health reasons" and stay in the states for 2,3 or 4 years- just drawing money. Truth be known, many a Pastor in the states serves God without benefit of many of the things a missionary comes back to the States to raise support for. We have one missionary we support in a South America country that comes home every 6-8 months and stays 8-12 months to raise more support. For the most part IFB missionaries are accountable to NO ONE!!!!!

    There are fields that have been "reached" to the point that they are evangelizing their own people- Philippines. Why do we continue to send more people over there. Why do we support "National" Philippine and other countries Pastors? Why do we send men from other countries to Bible College here in America, so they can be Americanized to live high on the hog in their 3rd world country, while Cuz'n Joe is a Pastor in Backwater, Alabama- running 25, working 2 jobs to keep food on the table for his wife and kids, giving 20% or more of his income to support "missions"?

    Not every church ministry needs to be paid for by other churches. If I have a bus ministry, it is not right to expect your church to buy my busses, pay my gas, insure those vehicles, and train my drivers. But somehow it is ok if I have a printing ministry to expect churches to buy my paper, buy my equipment, seek donations of equipment, buy my ink, and then charge you a fee to print your order. Or it is not ok for your church to pay my salary, purchase my groceries, and pay my utilities, because I am a Pastor in the states. But it is OK to Pastor a church in a foreign country, teach that church to care for me as their Pastor, live in a house that some group built, AND draw monthly support from churches and on top of that come home every whipstitch and live off the love offerings, motels, restaurants, and my monthly support.

    Once again- Am I opposed to Missions? NO! But I am opposed to the lack of integrity we are seeing in what is called Missions."

    Comments?
     
  2. exscentric

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    I was in an SBC church (visiting) in the south few years ago. The teacher read the great commission and opened it to comments. The entire time was spent talking about everything but missions on the foreign field.

    Soup kitchens, to shelters, but nothing about the world.

    The teacher turned to me and asked what I thought. I told them about MISSIONS [​IMG] I can't say how much they understood due to the blank looks on their faces :rolleyes:
     
  3. MikeinGhana

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    While I agree that there is a lot of what that pastor is saying to be true, there is a lot right about what we are doing on the field. If you have never done it, you should temper your comments with love and quiet understanding. Very very few of us make real sacrifices (life threatening and such) to serve God on the foreign field, but, those sacrifices we do make are out of a love for God and a burden for the lost. I will be glad to do a pulpit swap with that guy for about a year or two then ask him to write his comments for the world to hear.
     
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I agree with some of that, Mexdeaf, but not the part about a missionary being spoiled on deputation. That pastor just doesn't understand!! Deputation was the hardest time of my whole life, and as for furlough, I'd much rather do without it. I just do it because Paul and Barnabas went back to Antioch to report their ministry.

    Ask that pastor if he'd like to uproot his whole life every 4-6 years, leave his beloved church and travel around the States like a gypsy for a year. That's furlough!

    Furlough: (1) Being put up in a junky motel with a night club rock band blaring (by one of the biggest churches in America!) (2) Being used as pulpit fill but not being told so until the last minute. (3) Travelling 100's of miles to be given 10 minutes to speak. (4) Getting an offering that doesn't even pay expenses. (5) Being asked, "How are you enjoying your vacation from the field?" (6) Etc., etc., etc.

    Anyone who thinks deputation and furlough are easy just doesn't have a clue!! :rolleyes:

    We're heading out for a short vacation this week, but I'll be back to check out this thread again. [​IMG]
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Enjoy the holiday John.

    I agree basically with what John said. This guy has obviously been burnt and his view is taingted by that. Reading between the lines their is some validity in what he says however I would make two comments.

    1. I would echo John's words about the being spoiled on deputation/furlough.
    2. It is a generalisation. We have not attempted to raise any new support since we arrived 11 years ago. Saying that, for a missionary to try and go years without a "raise" of some sort is unreasonable. Not all missionaries are back in the States "all the time." We have not been back for an extended period in almost eight years.
     
  6. MikeinGhana

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    Lets look at the other side too. I had a church drop my support because the pastor said he did not ever see us. This pastor preached in my home church by my invitation and suggestion, ate dinner in my home with his wife and my pastor and his wife, had me in his church over a weekend, I stayed in his new house just built, and yet he still said we did not have enough contact with him! He dropped us.

    If the average missionary has 50 churches supporting him, it is nearly impossible to get into all the churches during one furlough. Schedules just do not allow it. I praise God for many of my churches that have understanding pastors who tell me to "catch them the next furlough" unless it is convenient for me to come by. That saves a lot of wasted travel expenses. I will probably be blasted for saying that but it is true. I have driven almost 500 miles for a scheduled meeting only to have the pastor tell me he had already scheduled a business meeting so he was canceling our meeting. You tell me if that is wasted money or not. That story can be repeated several times over.

    I understand there are some duds on the missionary trail, but there are some duds in the churches as well. Having said all that, it is God we are serving. We must accept the burdens as well as the blessings because we do it for Him.
     
  7. 4His_glory

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    I agree with you John, I have been on deputation for 3 years and it has been the hardest thing I have every done. It is emotionally and physically taxing. My family is worn down as a result. Finally we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

    Having to send hours in the car, sleeping in strange beds each night, and not having a "normal routine" each day is not my idea of being spoiled.

    Being told by churches and pastors that they love missions and plan to help us, but then never hearing from them again is not my idea of being spoiled.

    Having unreasonable demands put on me that pastors would not expect of themselves is not my idea of being spoiled.

    Lest one gets the wrong idea though, I have had a lot of good times as well, and have met many pastors who genuine in their concern for God's glory amongst the nations. I have had many good meetings. I just don't see deputataion as a time of spoilling.
     
  8. gb93433

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    Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples. He did not specify the location.

    So often people call foreign missions, missions. Missions is all the time, 24 hours a day. The problem with so many people is that by giving money to foreign missions they feel as though they have done their deed but have shirked their personal responsibility to their neighbors and those they know. Giving to foreign missions is an easy way of claiming they are involved in missions without ever sharing their faith with anyone.

    In the early 1950's Dawson trotman said the following:

    http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm

    Some time ago I talked to 29 missionary candidates. They were graduates of universities or Bible schools or seminaries. As a member of the board I interviewed each one over a period of five days, giving each candidate from half an hour to an hour. Among the questions I asked were two which are very important. The first one had to do with their devotional life. "How is your devotional life?" I asked them. "How is the time you spend with the Lord? Do you feel that your devotional life is what the Lord would have it to be?"

    Out of this particular group of 29 only one person said, "I believe my devotional life is what it ought to be." To the others my question then was, "Why is your devotional life not what it should be?"

    "Well, you see, I am here at this summer school," was a common reply. "We have a concentrated course. We do a year's work in only ten weeks. We are so busy."

    I said, "All right. Let's back up to when you were in college. Did you have victory in your devotional life then?"

    "Well, not exactly."

    We traced back and found that never since they came to know the Savior had they had a period set aside for daily devotions. That was one of the reasons for their sterility -- lack of communion with Christ.

    The other question I asked them was, "You are going out to the foreign field. You hope to be used by the Lord in winning men and women to Christ. Is that right?"

    "Yes."

    "You want them to go on and live the victorious life, don't you? You don't want them just to make a decision and then go back into the world, do you?"

    "No."

    "Then may I ask you something more? How many persons do you know by name today who were won to Christ by you and are living for Him?"

    "The majority had to admit that they were ready to cross an ocean and learn a foreign language, but they had not won their first soul who was going on with Jesus Christ. A number of them said that they got many people to go to church; others said they had persuaded some to go forward when the invitation was given.

    I asked, "Are they living for Christ now?" Their eyes dropped. I then continued, "How do you expect that by crossing an ocean and speaking in a foreign language with people who are suspicious of you, whose way of life is unfamiliar, you will be able to do there what you have not yet done here?"

    This is not for missionaries and prospective missionaries only. It is for all of God's people. Every one of His children ought to be a reproducer.

    Are you producing? If not, why not? Is it because of a lack of communion with Christ, your Lord, that closeness of fellowship which is part of the great plan? Or is it some sin in your life, an unconfessed something, that has stopped the flow? Or is it that you are still a babe? "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again..." (Hebrews 5:12).
     
  9. David Singleton

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    I just read your post and have a few comments of my own, A while back you indicated that I sounded bitter, your post reaks of bitterness.

    You shopuld be ashamed of yourself. We are to minister as missionaries, we are to minister to both the spiritual needs of men and their physical needs as well (Read the book of James).

    You think missionaries are being treated too well? You obviously have never been on deputation, or served on a mission field, because if you had you would know that deputation is not always a picnic. ( unless you were one of those who had his support raised begore he even started deputation.)

    I have had Pastors write and ask me to come, call and ask when Id arrive and then after driving 1200 miles to get to their church turn me away saying that an evangelist friend was in town and they wanted to let him preach, and say "Hope this doesnt inconvenience you". Shame on you. Its these self same men who are now trying to keep me from getting my insurance benefits, May God forbid you never get seriously ill on the field and have to come home, or need to raise extra support. What do you expect a Missionary to do when some of the churches decide not to send support for a few month so they can have Pizza Parties for the Youth durring the summer months. ???

    The biggest problem in the local Church today is the rampant spirit of self righteousness. Its eating ministry alive. Many shall come in that day...
     
  10. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    David,

    I am confused. To whom were you responding? If it was to the OP, please understand that I was not the author of those statements, it was a Stateside pastor.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Mexdeaf, hi.

    I'm back from our little vacation now, and I've had time to re-read this pastor's comments. My main impression is that this pastor lacks a philosophy of missions and missionary support.

    When a pastor knows what he believes about missions and how it should be done, he doesn't talk this way, in my experience. For example, if he had a philosophy of how to support missionaries he wouldn't be talking about some of these matters the way he does, he would have acted. He wouldn't be saying, "This missionary in the country of XYZ we support...," he would be saying, "This missionary had this certain problem and I dealt with it by XYZ...."

    The church I am planting supports two Japanese missionaries. One has just returned from the field and resigned from his board. The report we got from him says only that he will now work for the Lord in Japan. I'm not criticizing the man to others, I'm simply planning the steps to take in making the decision on whether or not to keep supporting him.

    Things always go better when we operate on principles rather than emotions, amen? [​IMG]
     
  12. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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  13. shannonL

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    Mexdeaf,

    That pastor just unloaded did he not? Hey maybe God called him to be a missionary years back and he refused. I've heard that plenty on the deputation trail.
    Like 4Glory said deputation has been the most challenging thing I've ever done. God has been good to us in many, many ways Yet it has physically and emotionally taken a toll on our family as well.
    I think MikeinGhana has it right. Every minstry has its burdens. Even if that burden is putting up with some knuckleheaded pastors. We just have to suck it up and let God be the one who judges our motives for our ministry.
    Some of the things that pastor said were true I will say. Yet for a guy to just rip into something like that tells me he is having a deeper problem or issues in his own life. I hope he doesn't have a two by four in his eye while trying to get a splinter out of all the wayward missionaries.
    Shoot, I just had a church drop us. I didn't even know it until I started reviewing our monthly statements. I got to looking and why they hadn't sent in for 6mos. No letter, nothing, not a phone call.Nothing. I do know that church is starting a christian school. They are building a new gym and all kinds of stuff.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Yep, the worst pastors to deal with (with exceptions, of course) are usually those who: (a) were called and didn't go, or (b) those who went and then quit! :(
     
  15. HankD

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    The word "mission" is a modern word and does not appear in the AV NT and only once in the NIV NT. However that doesn't matter because:

    1 Corinthians 12
    4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
    5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
    6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

    Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

    No one is twisting anyone's arm to give. It is a labor of love.

    2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

    Personally Mexdeaf, I find very little constructive criticism at all in this pastor's letter. In fact it is what is called a "rant"

    HankD
     
  16. brochip1

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    This is not the first, not the last man who has had these opinions.

    Check out ldbc.net (especially his view on missionaries)
     
  17. John of Japan

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    I'm afraid to look, brochip1!! :eek:
     
  18. brochip1

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    To be perfectly honest I was highly upset when I stumbled across this guy's site, however it seems as though there is a growing backlash against missions and missionaries. The sad part is that most opposition is coming from "within".
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Well, brochip1, against my better judgement I stole a peek. By the 4th paragraph the truth was out--he was a missionary who quit the field! :rolleyes:

    The "missionary is only an evangelist" thing is old hat and unproveable from the Scriptures. Evangelist Philip called for the church-planting missionaries from Jerusalem when he was ready to start a church with his converts. (Acts 8)
     
  20. Ulsterman

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    Personally, and I am speaking as a Pastor, I think the role of the full time evangelist in the modern context is Scripturally redundant. To me, most evangelists are glorified conference speakers who get the privilege of church pulpits with little of the responsibility - they say what they like, and leave the pastor to pick up the pieces whilst they pick up the love offering.

    To me a missionary is exercising the office of the evangelist in the true sense. He is seeking to win the lost in order to establish a local church where no such church exists. I see his ministry as an extension of our church's ministry, and appreciate his sacrifices to do what he does, particularly the emotional sacrifice - being cut off from loved ones and homeland to share the gospel within a a foreign culture to a strange people is a high calling indeed.

    The pastor in the OP has evidently been burned. Unfortunately his experience has given him a bitter spirit which is evident in his diatribe.

    I do feel that the church, particularly in America, is guilty of creating too much fanfare over missionaries (as well as making kings out of pastors), and consequently some end up thinking more highly of themselves than they ought. Such people be they pastors or missionaries may become a law unto themselves.

    Missionaries deserve our respect, we should esteem them highly for their work's sake, just as we do with pastors, but at the end of the day we are all, pastors and missionaries, but servants of the Lord and our fanfares should be reserved for Him and His work of which we are a privileged part.
     

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