Skip to main content

Issues Facing Missions Today: 36. Missions 101

Can you spot the truth and the error in each of the following 20 statements?  As they stand, each statement is something that is 'trending' now, and these perspectives are contributing to the demise of missions in our day.  There is some truth in these claims--and much more error.  Knowing truth from error in these statements is 'Missions 101.'
  1. Missions is not from the West to the rest.  It is from everywhere to everywhere.  There are no longer ‘mission fields.’
  2. We really no longer need to go anywhere for mission work: through immigration, the world is coming to ‘us.’
  3. Mission is really everything the Church does in ministry.  It is preaching, translating, teaching, church planting, compassion ministries, development work--everything.
  4. We are all missionaries.  Missions is not just for a select group of professional missionaries.
  5. Missions is expensive.  Support should go to nationals, not Western missionaries.
  6. Our ministry and mission should be where we are, not on the other side of the world.
  7. Denominations are so full of problems that it is better for churches to be independent, including their missionary work.
  8. It is better for a church to have direct partnerships with nationals and national churches or ministries.  They do not need to work through mission agencies.
  9. The primary training a foreign missionary needs is cross-cultural training.  Since so many missionaries are involved in so many different kinds of ministries, they only need minimal Biblical and theological training.
  10. Missionaries are not a special group of Christians.  They have spiritual and moral struggles like anyone else.
  11. Missions and missionaries should support indigenous ministries, not come with their own agenda or mission.
  12. The primary benefit of teaching missions in a theological curriculum is enrichment: to expose future pastors to intercultural and global realities.  This will enhance their ministries.
  13. The Christian message should be contextualized not only to make it understandable but also so that each culture can own it for itself.
  14. The Church needs 'leaders,' and mission work should focus on training 'leaders.'
  15. Growth means we are doing something successful; if you are not growing, you’re probably dead.
  16. Foreign missions is really something of the past: Asia is now sending missionaries, North and South America and Australasia are Christian, the Church is growing fastest in Africa, there is no open door in the Middle East, and Europe is where the Church started.
  17. Short term mission trips have greatly increased the Church’s missionary work.
  18. We need less theology and more people who will get the job done.
  19. The Good News is not about repenting and believing so much as it is about showing people love and seeking justice.
  20. Great Commission missions (preaching, Bible translation, evangelism, church planting, teaching) deserves no special emphasis from churches as they support missionary work and ministry in general.  After all, Jesus also gave the Great Commandment to love others as we love ourselves.