Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Missionary position

Is it possible to have too much missionary enthusiasm? How many unreached people groups (and yes, I apologise for this jargonistic term - personally, I prefer the old-fashioned term 'unconverted') are out there? And do they want to be found? Probably not. Of course, the buzzword is culturally sensitive, or appropriate, or even cross-cultural (which is a pretty nifty play of words there for Christians!!) because we dont' want to do any of that bad stuff previous missionaries have done - like the conquistadors, for instance, baptisting at the point of a sword.
So if it means speaking the lingo, eating the food and wearing the gear, I'm all for it. Sometimes though I wonder when the newly saved countries are going to send mission to pagan, post-Christian countries like Australia.

2 Comments:

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Marcus said...

I once knew a highly educated theological rebel who now heads a distinguished Bible college refer to missionary societies as glorified travel agents -> they help Christians go on guilt-free holidays to exotic locations because they're doing the Lord's work!

I've observed lots of casualties from missionary endeavours, people return from active duty to no homes or little job prospects. I've seen marriages break apart and rebellious teenagers turn their backs on their parents.

That's after all the work is done. Before they go, I've endured countless, I say COUNTLESS missionary talks that are little more than disguised PR attempts to raise money so they can go with their Christian 'travel agent' to some exotic location.

Missionary = sponger, is it not?

On the other hand, one of the most impressive Christian speakers I ever heard, who is very active in missionary activity, is also a successful advertising consultant.

The wealth he generates from his 'tent-making' activities (a reference to the apostle Paul's ability to pay his own missionary way as a tentmaker) provides the income he needs to go where-ever he wants to go.

He never once needed to raise money by using some lame missionary presentation to strangers.

People need to hear the gospel, but there are better ways of getting the message out.

I just wish more people used the apostle Paul's method!

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger Dave said...

very punchy, Marcus, and there's a lot of truth in those observations.

In crude marketing terms, how much can the market sustain in terms of missionary organisations seeking the fundraising dollar?

At what point do congregations (I love using old-fashioned words like that because they have an exact meaning)get missionary fatigue?

When a guest preacher turns out to be another missionary home on furlough? How many of these trips are really recruitment operations or fund raising operations?

It's hard to reconcile with going out and telling the good news. Those missionaries perhaps would not discern any difference between what they do and what Paul did?

Is there a difference? The key difference, is, as you say, the tentmaker component which provides a test of credibility.

 

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