Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Top Ten Ways to NOT Mobilize Your Church for Missions
Support too many missionaries – Not discriminating and giving support to every breathing person claiming to be “called” makes it impossible for your church body to have a sense of ownership and relationship with the missionaries and their families. It demonstrates a lack of fortitude and wisdom to be able to say “no” (or have policies that help you do so).
Support missionaries at only a pittance – If you support a lot of missionaries at low amounts, it will sufficiently scatter and confuse your congregation’s grasp and allegiance to cross-cultural ministry and those doing it.
Support missionaries in a shotgun fashion with no focus – Just accepting and supporting anyone who presents or anyone sent from your favorite mission board/agency builds a laissez faire, “we don’t really care” attitude. Putting more pins in the world map doesn’t develop a genuine heart for the world; it does fuel a kind of pride in “look at what we’re doing” — not focused on real people doing real ministry in real places among real people who need the Lord.
Don’t mind if the missionaries you support are in doctrinal alignment – Support missionaries whether or not they believe and do things as your church would want them done, if you want to portray to your congregation that doctrine doesn’t really matter. So what if those missionaries wouldn’t qualify for church service in your church; that’s somebody else’s problem. At least we get to put another pin in the map.
Overload your missions giving with campus ministry or the slickestmost frequent “missions” fund raisers – Hey, those guys have a ministry, too; and they have more opportunity and sharper (and harder) fund-raising techniques. Does it matter to our congregation that half of our overseas missions budget goes to USA campus ministry?; or that we allow missionaries to use the church directory for personal support hunting expeditions? Is that how we protect and focus our congregation to reach the unreaached people groups of the world?
Overload your missions budget with “nationals” so you get the most bang-for-buck – Having a third-party brokered relationship with national “missionaries” without direct accountability to a trusted worker on the ground in their home region is rarely good stewardship, even if you really like the flamboyant, well-known leader or representative of the organization. Besides, supporting nationals does not exempt your congregation from obedience to the Great Commission. Besides again, there are places and people groups in the world without sufficiently mature and available Christian at all to reach those people groups with the Gospel.
Don’t make opportunities for your people to really develop a relationship with your supported missionaries – Letting people get too close to missionaries might fuel their heart for them and the world and thereby dilute their interest and giving to your church programs at home. Some of your people might even want to go and help the missionaries with whom they develop relationships. Even though Acts 1:8 says “both … and”, we have to establish a strong base and reach our own “Jerusalem” first, right?
NEVER hold an annual missions focused event – Having some kind of missions emphasis or missions weekend or missions conference takes too much time and energy and focus away from the other stuff we’re trying to do as a church. We don’t want to give our people the idea that missions is a big deal.
NEVER preach missions in the Bible (which means neglected a huge amount of the Scripture) – There’s no classes in seminary for teaching and preaching missions, so it must not be that important. We get training on church growth and managing a multiple-staff church. We’ve never read our Bible with God’s agenda and God’s glory to all the nations in mind; why start now? We’ll preach it when we get to the end of Matthew someday.
NEVER let your preaching pastor get too enamored with missions or missionaries or visiting ministry overseas – Keep him focused at home; that’ll produce the most results for you and your kingdom; isn’t that what it’s all about? If he sees the needs of the world and of the workers in those other countries, he might want to change our program. it’ll ooze out his sermons. People might get the idea that missions is why God left us on earth; that could get messy.