Monday, August 22, 2005

Future Trend #5: Focused Missions Work

I think another major trend that will impact the church in the future is the desire that church leaders will have to focus their missions efforts. It seems like to me that churches try to do so many things that they end up doing many things poorly instead of a few things well. This is especially true in the area of missions. Instead of putting lots of resources and manpower into one area, churches tend to give a little of what they have to many different places. I think a future trend (and one that churches are already doing) will be the adoption of a specific city (or region) in the world to do missions work in. Therefore, the church would pour all of its global missions effort into a specific location for a set amount of time. During that time (whether 10, 15, 20 years, etc.), the church would send all of its missions giving, all of its short-term trips, everything into this one area. The lasting relationship would be of profound importance to knowing the community, knowing the people, and therefore knowing the needs. It seems like to me that most short-term mission trips are 98% about the impact on the group going, NOT on the area they are going to. This could be changed, however, if the church had a focused approach to missions that centered everything around a certain location. This way, each short term group, whether families or young people or college students, could build upon the work done by groups that had gone before them. This focused concentration of effort, manpower, energy, and finances would have quicker and longer lasting impact on an area than sporadic missions efforts. If missions is truly about the people in the foreign country and not about us, then this seems like a future trend that is past due in arriving.

1 comment:

Paul Williamson said...

A focused missions effort is part of the big picture of the stewardship of the great commission. The Lord has given us a job to do and we will be judged by our faithfulness to fulfill that stewardship. The focused missions effort is one way that many churches have tried to maximize their resources. As in most things if we fail to plan we plan to fail. The doctrine of God's sovereignty is no excuse for our own disorganization and short sighted efforts. I praise God for the many churches and mission organizations that are careful, diligent, and deliberate about there missions efforts.

Another thought... The advantage of the focused mission effort is the consistant and lasting impact that it can bring. The church can genuinely be a part of taking people from being born again to being discipled to being leaders in the church. But the danger with a focused mission effort is that it can turn into tunnel vision. It is possible to be concerned about the church in any one location-be it Texas or China-at the expense of a global perspective. Acts 1:8 speaks of being witness for Christ in Jerusalem AND Judea and Samaria AND to the uttermost parts of the eath. The word is "and" not "or". My prayer is that wherever I find myself in the world at any given time, that I would be locally engaged but with a global perspective. The global perspective reminds us that God is bigger than any one place or culture. We all need eachother in the body of Christ.