Updated: Nov 21, 2019
I can’t guarantee that this topic will do the work for your Masters thesis or Doctorate degree dissertation —
But I’d bet you a root beer float that it would be an easy and significant basis for the thesis or dissertation. My hypothesis is that EVERY sending missions agency has in their Bylaws or founding documents a statement that they exist to serve the local church in that agency’s specific area of expertise or vision. i.e. – except perhaps a few self-centered contemporary start-ups, historically, every mission organization sees their purpose and work in the greater biblical context of the Church, or local churches. Further, the founding documents have buried in them some statement like: “We exist to help the local church fulfill the Great Commission through or to such-and-such a specialty ministry or region or target population.”
So, the natural questions that follow the thesis or dissertation hypothesis is:
“Why have those mission organizations largely departed from close relationship with local churches? Why don’t they give a larger role to local churches in preparing, screening, and caring for the missionaries they are expected to support?” Or, simply, “Have they largely departed from a foundation of serving and close relationship with local churches (sending churches) in their practices?”
But, stay with this now, here is an interesting phenomenon worthy of further study in the “current trends” section of your dissertation: There is a slowly growing trend among evangelical mission agencies to give a larger role to local churches in the whole missions process, from recruitment to retirement. Praise God! It’s like a “back-to-the-future” moment. Present day missions execs are warming up to the concept that local churches can be a huge asset. At the same time, local churches are realizing that they need mission agencies for their missionaries to be most effective on the mission field. Local churches who thought they could save some shekels by doing the job of sending agency themselves are counting the costs, sometimes tragic human costs, and figuring that they’re not saving as much as they thought. Local churches tend to overestimate their capability and underestimate the complexity of acting as their own sending agency.
Trend: Missions are beginning to realize they should have a closer relationship with sending churches and that those sending churches should have a larger continuing role with their missionaries.
Fact: Most mission agencies state that their purpose includes “serving the local church” in founding documents.
Unintended happy results:
You (or somebody) gets an easy thesis or dissertation topic to win their intended graduate degree.
Your thesis or dissertation stimulates mission agencies to get back to their roots and work harder and including and serving the interests of local churches in the process of developing, training, sending, and shepherding their missionaries.
Somebody please study it and publish it!