6 Missional Strategies That I Cannot Put Up With

  1. Translating the KJV into tribal languages so that the people are at least close to the sacred nectar of “the unadulterated 1611.” 
  2. Doing everything in the world relating to your “mission” — building outhouses, bettering the schools, distributing Brita filtering systems, but never explaining the gospel! Can I hear Peace Corps? 
  3. Imposing conservative American culture upon 3rd world countries that already have their own traditions.  
  4. Mistaking #3 for the fruits of salvation, i.e. sanctification. 
  5. Not seeking to convert folks to Christianity, because after all, we are all God’s children! Some just have an Islamic, Hindu, or Buddhist way of expressing it. 
  6. Never learning the language of the people. After all, if people really are going to come to Christ, they will be willing to learn English. 

This list needs to be expanded. Do you have any?

  1. #1 by Nic on March 31, 2009 - 12:17 pm

    Number 7 – Setting up a central missionary based operation that does little or no discipling and training of nationals thus making everything dependent on the American missionary so that if the move on or die the work dies as well. Hello? Did we read Acts? People, we need to be multiplying, not creating “Christian Compounds”

  2. #2 by clearly on March 31, 2009 - 1:12 pm


  3. #3 by Jeremy on April 2, 2009 - 9:39 am

    8. Confusing failure as a husband and father as success as a minister of the gospel.

    9. The inverse of #2, acting as if socio-economic problems are non existent because the only true need is the Gospel.

    10. Implying that “turning to Jesus” will solve socio-economic problems.

  4. #4 by clearly on April 2, 2009 - 12:02 pm

    #8, I’m with you.

    #’s 9-10, I don’t think I’m following.

    Can you explain further what you mean?

  5. #5 by Ben W on April 2, 2009 - 2:20 pm

    I’m with Jeremy on #’s 9-10. Check out Isaiah 58 or Matthew 25:31-46 for a better explanation than either He or I could give. I agree that the Gospel always needs to be shared. That is like so fundamentally obvious it should ALMOST go without saying…except that some do need to hear it, so good point Dave. BUT, its also pretty obvious from these scripture passages that God places a bigger emphasis on Christians helping to solve socio-economic issues than do many in the Church today. Unfortunately, this attitude is especially true of the American church, which makes up a minority of believers in the world nowadays, but which has the resources to actually do something about socio-economic problems.

  6. #6 by clearly on April 2, 2009 - 6:18 pm


    Man it’s been a while:( We need to get together and do coffee…

    As my brother-in-law pointed out on my facebook page, his church is struggling to maintain the gospel as central to their mission. I agree, it should be obvious, but in some evangelical circles, it’s a huge fight!

    I guess I never read Matthew 25 quite like that…

    Remember when the Lord appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus and he said, “Saul, Saul, why are persecuting me?” The Lord wasn’t present upon the earth for Saul to persecute, but because he was persecuting the body of Christ, he was actually guilty of persecuting Christ himself.

    I think I read Matthew 25 through the same lens. At the moment, I think the text warrants it too.

    Verse 40 seems to indicate that brothers are in view (adelphos). I think this is the point of James too — pure religion and undefiled is to visit widows, care for the fatherless, etc. The overall context reveals that true faith produces care and compassion for those within the body. In chapter 5, James is REALLY hard on the rich who withhold the rightful wages of the workers, etc. One with true faith doesn’t do that.

    However, I have tried to couple the above view with the plain teaching of Galatians 6 — “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” A clear mandate to help EVERYONE when we can, with emphasis on those who belong to the church.

    That being said, I help people monetarily/with food when I can. However, when we confuse this with the core of the Christian mission, we’re in trouble…

  7. #7 by Jeremy on April 2, 2009 - 6:25 pm

    #9 – Even though I agree whole-heartedly that the point of missions is not social, there is a certain hypocrisy when we live our prosperous lives (and some missionaries do live high above the level of the people they are trying to reach) while totally neglecting some of their basic physical needs.

    I know pastors who would find it offensive for me to help in a soup kitchen because I wasn’t specifically spreading the gospel. The attitude that some Christians hold comes close to viewing simple volunteer work almost as a sin.

    I think that both of these errors reflect what I was intending to say.

    As for #10 – I’m speaking primarily of prosperity types. They offer Jesus as a solution to social problems.

  8. #8 by clearly on April 2, 2009 - 6:35 pm

    Jeremy, I understand #10 as stated and agree.

    As per #9, I have done some volunteer work like this in the past and have found it to be enjoyable and helpful to those who were there…

    Would you agree, though, that if you give a man a cup of soup and a piece of bread, you’ve helped him for a night (and that is a good thing), but if a man believes the gospel, he has been helped for eternity?

    I know you agree.

    I don’t want to discourage helping anyone in a physical-right-now sense though! It really comes down to what we are going to use most of our resources and time for…

    I think that’s why Paul uses that little phrase in Galatians — “as you therefore have opportunity…”

    I’d recommend reading Kevin Bauder’s series on trends in evangelicalism.


    I’d start with part 1 and go through 5.

    I was leaning this way at one point, albeit momentarily, and this series helped me re-evaluate…

  9. #9 by Jeremy on April 3, 2009 - 3:48 am

    Definitely agree with you Dave. The number 1 priority is the gospel, but we shouldn’t be afraid of meeting those physical needs as well, when the opportunity arrives.

  10. #10 by Ben W on April 3, 2009 - 7:55 am

    I’m writing quickly cause i have class in like 12 minutes. Good point with Matthew 25, and yeah i would definitely agree that the context there indicate believers. I guess the point I would like to make is that God does in fact care about more than just the eternal state of people’s souls. We all know this if we spend any time in God’s word at all, and yet it often goes unsaid or at least is not emphasized in many church. Its so easy to focus on the aspect of eternity that we forget that God has a heart for the suffering of people as well, both of believers and the entire world (at least if I’m reading Isaiah 58 correctly, feel free to comment on that passage as well).
    The GOSPEL IS where its at, and I do believe that it is by far the main reason we’re on this earth as believers. But, as rich Americans, and everyone who reads this blog is probably going to be rich by African standards, we are the ones who have the opportunity that is mentioned in Galatians 6. Fair enough? Its also wonderful that God burdens different people for different parts of the ministry we’re to have on this earth too 🙂

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