Wade Burleson posted yesterday on his blog a good article entitled, "Should Missionaries Feel Pressure to Produce Converts?" I agree with Wade that many missionaries seem to sense a feeling of being "pressured to produce."
I would like to respond to his question from my own perspective. I am one of those missionaries who feel an incredible amount of pressure to produce converts, baptisms, church starts, 2nd-3rd generation multiplication, etc. The pressure I feel, though, is not coming from the IMB or our immediate leadership. Rather, it comes from an inner sense of urgency that we have a unique window of time in which to gather in the harvest. We are seeing very little fruit in light of what we sense we ought to be seeing. So much time is being lost daily due to our floundering and indecisiveness. We can't quite seem to be able to put all the pieces together.
The Lord has provided us with every resource needed to bring in the harvest. The Gospel has been present in Ecuador for more than 100 years. There are some 800,000 evangelical believers in this country of 13-million. A huge army with which to work and more than enough "foot soldiers" to easily finish the task in this generation. We have the Scriptures in the main languages spoken, abundance of adequate materials to work with, Christian radio and TV, literature ministry, theological education, general openness to the Gospel, national and international missions efforts, etc. What is left to complain about not having? God has provided every tool and resource necessary to finish the task. Why haven't we been able to bring in the harvest? Therein lies the "pressure" the frustration that I feel. If the Lord were to return today, 94 out of every 100 people in Ecuador would pass into a Christless eternity. Talk about PRESSURE! Have we lost the sense of the horror of hell?
A few of the obstacles have been expressed well by fellow IMB M Bloggers David Rogers, Ken Sorrell, Mr.T, Stepchild, and certainly contribute to the overall picture. But all of these combined are not the real source of the problem. To me the root of our inability to coordinate a concerted effort to win this country to Christ is due more to our being duped by Satan. We are all guilty of being territorial, divided, proud, seeking our own kingdoms, jealous, judgmental, legalistic, "my way or no way" ...you get the idea. Satan must be quite pleased with the success of his strategy for slowing down immensely the gathering in of what is a clear harvest field.
In short, our greatest sin has been to divide the Body of Christ. Something that was never intended. Instead of One Head (Christ) we now have thousands of heads competing with one another. Each "head" thinks his way best and is "God's plan." We "heads" are frustrated that all the other "heads" don't see things our way. Each "head" is out there doing his own thing, feeling the pressure to produce and prove their way is "the way."
I don't know the answer to this dilemma, but pray the Lord has mercy on us all. Sometimes I think the only solution would be for the Lord to allow a huge catastrophe or crisis that so overshadows all our petty differences that all else would be swept under the rug and we come forth as one of united Body of Christ to minister and reach this country in a short timespan.
Any feedback, words of wisdom, or input from anybody out there is more than welcome. As a missionary or church worker do you feel you are "pressured" to produce? What are your thoughts?