Seeing the Task Graphically (1st of 8 Illustrations)

Senator Patrick Moynihan said, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” Here is a presentation of mission facts.

Here are the facts.

  • Most missionaries help overseas Christians.
  • Churches direct most of their mission money to help overseas Christians.
  • Few missionaries live among non-Christians.
  • Zero missionaries reside among 1.500 unengaged Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist peoples. Click here to listen to John Piper give a 2 1/2 minute talk on this highest of mission priorities, sending missionaries to the 1500 unengaged people groups.

Facts are stubborn things. Many of my Christian friends are making a difference in the lives of Christians in nearby countries (say, Mexico and Cuba), or far away in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It is good to help overseas Christians in ways that help; however, dear reader, get smarter on this topic by reading Steven Corbett and Brian Fikkert’s important book, When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . . And Yourself. Don’t be an ugly American: Do good and stop creating dependency.

The fact is, American churches do not establish new congregations among non-Christian peoples. Church leaders tend to send short term mission teams where Christian churches have existed for a hundred years. Church leaders want to send short term missions teams where they can make a difference, and where there is a profound change in the hearts and lives of the American Christians who go on the mission trips. This is not a criticism, unless the American mission to overseas churches becomes the entirety of a church’s mission to the world. At that point, church leaders have led their congregations to “too small a mission.” The Bible says,

“It is too small a mission that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

Don’t be doing too small a mission. We cannot only be a lighthouse; missionaries go to the dark places. carrying a flint, as it were, and striking the sparks that start the fires among the unreached, unengaged peoples in the regions beyond. Establishing Christian churches among 1500 unengaged peoples in the regions beyond will take a special effort. As it was in the beginning, there are two structures of God’s redemptive mission, the lighthouse and the flint.

May we study the Bible with humility and repentance:

  • “We have received grace and apostleship in order to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles” (Romans 1:5).
  • “This gospel of the kingdom must be preached as a testimony among the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
  • “Christ has redeemed us so that the blessings given to Abraham might also come to the Gentiles” (Galatians 3:13-14).
  • “All authority has been given to me. Go, therefore, into all the world and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).”
  • I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from Gentiles by word and deed, by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So, from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:18-19).

Establishing Christianity among unreached, unengaged peoples is the special work of missionary bands who pledge to go to the regions beyond. In upcoming blogs the reader will see the mission task graphically in other fact-filled charts and timelines.