Saturday, May 6

Missions: Any and everything done in the name of Christ?

Ken Sorrell is a fellow IMB missionary serving in Mexico. Ken has written upon a subject that I have intended writing about. Since he has said so well on his own blog what I'd like to say, I am taking the liberty of copying/pasting his entire post entitled, "The Morphing of Missions & Ministry."

Ken writes...
"Over the past quarter century there has been a dilution or morphing of the word "missions". For most of the Christian community it has become a term to describe anything and everything done in the name of Christ outside the walls of the church. Every ministry project and activity is now referred to as a "missions trip."

One extreme example of this shift in thinking can be seen when a church's choir tours for the summer and ends up in Disneyworld. It is publicized as their summer "mission" trip. More common examples are found in the multitude of trips taken by churches and other organizations which perform a myriad of ministries to those less fortunate or in need.

This change has taken place gradually without notice by the vast majority of Christians and missionaries. When you look at the number of churches and mission sending agencies around the world today and examine their purpose and focus, few are intentionally following the biblical mandate of Matthew 28:19 - 20. They are doing good for those in need and most with pure intentions. However, if missions is reduced to just helping people in need, most of those in need will never have the opportunity to hear, understand, respond to the gospel message of Jesus Christ, and mature in their faith.

To state this another way, we have substituted the intent of the second part of the [Great] Commandment for the focus of the Great Commission. If we do not readjust our thinking and practice, we will feed the hungry, cloth the naked, heal the sick, visit those in captivity, house the homeless, parent the orphans, educate the uneducated, and they will still spend eternity in hell when they die.

The answer of course is not to stop meeting needs but to recognize that you can successfully do ministry and never cross the line into biblical missions. However, it seems impossible to be involved in missions and not include some type of ministry in the process. If we continue to ignore the differences between these two terms, thousands, maybe millions of lost souls will be touched by Christians but never changed by Christ. "

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