The blog’s still lacking quite a bit of information under the strategy section of my theology page; I’m finding it’s quite challenging to be concise when writing about this subject (or any subject if I’m honest). This is especially true because I want to do an adequate job of explaining our strategy for evangelism to all who are interested. So I’m starting with this — what I see as two of the largest problems in missions today. I don’t want our strategy to be a mere reaction to these shortcomings, but I think that looking at some of what is wrong today is beneficial to us as we try to carry out Christ’s mission in the world.
I need to preface what will be an entire series of posts with the following statement of disclaimer: These thoughts are not original with me. They have been influenced by many people, and what you’ll see in this series are my personal conclusions after being blessed to learn from such men as David Watson, John King, Earl Lavender, Brian Hogan, and George Patterson, among others. And above all of those men, Godly as they may be, I have sought to allow the Spirit to guide my reading and interpretation of scripture, as well as my thoughts on the subject. Be that as it may, I am still flawed — as are, without a doubt, some of my thoughts.
Mistakes in Modern Day Missions
1. We lack trust in God to accomplish HIS work of…
- drawing the lost to himself, in order to save them
- assembling saved believers into a community of faith
- maturing Christians into obedient disciples of Jesus Christ
So we devise strategies in which WE are responsible for accomplishing these tasks ourselves.
2. As a result our programs become incredibly complex systems, in which…
- missionaries are judged based on “their” successes as a church planter / savior
- church planters are forced to take (and cling to) leadership positions within new communities of faith, only to attempt to surrender those responsibilities after several years of coaching locals to be followers
- churches routinely carry the baggage of another culture from their point of inception, and that baggage often lacks a strong conviction in the Word of God as the only authority
- the “movement” is nearly impossible to reproduce
- churches that do begin are typically churches who lack trust in God to accomplish his work of drawing the lost to himself…
And we’re back to the beginning of a vicious cycle.
We lack trust in God to do what he’s promised, and so we construct elaborate schemes in order to do his job for him.
Therefore, as far as strategies for evangelism and church planting go…
1. I want to be certain I’m not attempting to, or being expected to, perform God’s tasks of rescuing the lost, assembling the saved into a community, or maturing Christians into the life for which God has called them.
2. I want my strategy to be as simple as possible, ensuring that:
- I am not responsible for leading new congregations
- I am not unknowingly passing on my own church culture to new churches
- the movement is both sustainable and reproducible
For this to be possible, church planters are going to need to be incredibly intentional in the way we approach a strategy for evangelism. I’ll get into that a little more in the next post on this topic….