Graying of the Field

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Dr. Bob, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Just got the newletter from Baptist Mid-Missions, a large faith mission agency for ifb'ers like me. It listed those missionaries hitting "milestones" in service.

    (I was thrilled to see some classmates of mine 35 years on the field.)

    But here was the breakdown for honors (couple counts as 2)
    50 years = 1
    45 = 3
    40 = 12
    35 = 9
    30 = 11
    25 = 16
    20 = 15
    15 = 0
    10 = 0
    5 = 2 office staff

    Drew some inferences: I am assuming a missionary goes to college/seminary they will be 25 before starting. So consider these awardees this year - 80% are over 50 years of age. And NO young missionaries!

    Where were the young missionaries with 5,10 or 15 years of faithful service??
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Good point, and not all short tenure missionaries are young. We did not get to the field until I was almost 40.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I know all the BMM guys in Japan, and yes they are graying. In 1994 they had 2 but as of last year they were down to 13, and two of those were retired in Japan. ABWE had 21 in 1980, but were down to 15 in 1984.

    On the other hand, BIMI had 42 in 1980, but 45 last year. BWM had 5 in 1980, but 12 in 2004. So the general trend is down for GARB boards but up for all others. Plus, the opening of eastern Europe and other fields means that the overall IFB missionary force has greatly increased in the last 10 years.

    Good news for everyone but GARB! [​IMG]
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I think John is correct on this. I don't know the numbers, but I know that we (BWM) seem to have a number of fine young missionaries coming up through the ranks.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Yes, Our board is growing by leaps and bounds. We have a new couple that just made it to Japan, two single young ladies and a young man on deputation to come here, and another young man who has just applied to come to Japan with BWM.

    One reason that BMM may be shrinking is the GARB abandonment of the "approved board" system. Another reason may be their field council system. ABWE'S is even worse, and of course some have accused ABWE of slipping in their standards. I don't see the ABWE folk over here so I don't know--they are way down on Kyushu.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    I should have said that BMM had 24 in 1994. In 1980 they had 25, meaning little growth in those years. My figures all come from the JEMA (Japan Evangelical Missionary Association) Directory of each year, as submitted by reps from each board.
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

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    From what I hear, there looks to be an influx of workers. From where you ask. The hundreds of servicemen saved and/or recommitted coming out of the Iraq and Afghan operations. My pastor likens it to the influx seen after WW2. Then, we saw vets like Glen Schunk and Phil Schuler start out their evangelistic ministries.
     
  8. MikeinGhana

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    I was 39 when we first came to Ghana. Mission boards thought I was too old. Ha! Maybe they were right!

    Seriously, i agree that the young men are just not responding like in the past, but, missions has always gone in cycles. I think one reason for this decline may be the spirituasl health of the churches back home. How may churches have raped their missions budget in order to build family life centers worth millions?
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Boy, those are names from the past, Squire. Heard them both preach--great men!

    The American military overseas has long been a major source of new missionary blood. I have talked to countless men, including both of our fellow BWM people here in our town, who got their burden for the mission field through being overseas with the US military. As long as the US has a world military presence, there will be new missionaries.
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Here are the stats for Japan for another important IBF board. BBFI had 23 here in 1980, down to 21 in 1994. So the BBF is holding pretty steady but not growing in numbers in Japan.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    I can't get things right today. [​IMG] The BBFI Japan numbers are: 23 in 1980, 25 in 1994, 21 in 2004.
     
  12. Brother Ian

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    Wow. God's people continuing to serve.

    John of Japan, I've got friends serving (in the Navy) in Yokasuka. Anywhere near you?
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Hi, Brother Ian. Sorry, didn't notice this (it being the weekend and all).

    Actually, we spent 13 years in Yokohama (1983-1996), just 30 minutes from Yokosuka. We often went down to fellowship with the good folk of Yokosuka Baptist Church, which took us on for support. Now we live in Asahikawa, way up on the northern island of Hokkaido--think Minnesota, lots of snow and cold.

    After the furlough we just ended, we stopped by Yokosuka Baptist Church in June to preach and see everyone, so we may have seen your friends. [​IMG]
     
  14. shannonL

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    John of Japan,

    I was with ABWE for about 6mos.after candidate school. If your a balanced,average IFB your going to be uncomfortable with ABWE. I know we were. There are some nice folk there don't get me wrong. We just couldn't see ourselves with them 20yrs from now. Plus, the rumors that you might hear about them being very controling are true. It is definitely "top down" type of agency.
    My father in law spent 32 years with BMM in Central African Republic. The field council was his nemesis his whole life. He highly recommended either going out independent or going with a board that didn't have field councils.
    Actually, we talked a little bit to BWM before deciding to go out under a clearinghouse. I don't want to sound nitpicky when I say this but in the country we wanted to work in the group of missionaries from BWM were pretty calvinistic. As a matter of fact a fellow who is on the field now in that country told me while he was on deputation that he honestly did lean pretty much that way. So did the guys he was going to be working with in that country. I know that is not the position at all with your board. Its just that there was that instance on that field. Which at that time they didn't even know about. I wasn't a snitch I just wanted to know about BWM.
    I personally think that BWM is growing because it seems to be a pretty balanced agency. They are maintaining traditional standards and methods without cow tailing to the KJVO crowd. I liked the board I just didn't want to work with those particular fellows in that particular country.
    BTW, Dr. Bob. My wife's aunt is Miss Mary Baker. She has to be the missionary that was honored by BMM for 50yrs of service. She is still actively serving with BMM even though she is stateside. She spent 40yrs in the Chad. She is a crackerjack to say the least. Also, My wife's two brothers both have served 16 years with BMM. It is a small world I suppose.
     
  15. Sularis

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    The "graying" of the field is a self-fulfilling thing.

    As the board members and recruiting folks get older - sadly they start to look down on younger folk and put obstacles up

    And they dont do this out of maliciousness - they do it because they remember the problems they had and they dont want those to happen again - and yet they seem to forget that God helped them through those problems - why cant God help the next generation

    Its a shame that many board members would never be accepted as new missionaries under their own rules.
     
  16. MikeinGhana

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    Another reason why boards are not God's primary method of sending missionaries to the field.
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Hi, ShannonL.

    I've heard a few things myself about ABWE over the years. Here in Japan, the ABWE guys are way down on Kyushu, at the other end of Japan, so we never see them. But strangely, we met an ex-Japan ABWE guy this past furlough clerking at a motel. He was trying to make enough money to keep things together while he started a church in the States under the ABWE home mission board, which he said was under a different management and was much better.

    Sorry you weren't able to go under BWM. It is balanced and solid, like you said.

    I've had great fellowship with the BMM guys in Japan over the years, and taught in their Bible school for 8 years--still do through video. Unfortunately I did have a little disagreement with their field council once, but one on one they are great guys, and more Fundamental than ABWE these days from all I hear.
     

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