What’s wrong with the way most churches do missions?
Well, the first thing that’s wrong is they don’t [do missions], if you look at the overwhelming amount of money that’s being spent on the church as opposed to the rest of the world. The second thing that’s wrong with it is they think they can just pay for [doing] missions and you can’t do that. The third thing I would say that’s wrong with it is they just take a pot shot approach to it.
Like sending a group of kids to South Africa?
Yea, and then next summer we’re going to send 50 people to Hawaii — and it’s not intentional. Here’s what we say: Go somewhere long term, stay there, don’t be-bop all over the world, get in a spot that really needs help and stay there. And engage it through all the domains of society.
Mission work should be a typical church member who’s on fire for God, and their job is their number one ministry. And they use that job in another country to serve those people. And as they live the Christian life in front of them they share their faith. That’s what we’ve done and it works.
So as an editor I should do what?
You should go to Hanoi with me and speak at the National University to all the journalists and all the magazine people about how you write articles, how do you layout a magazine, and where you work. They’ll ask you thousands of questions and you just answer their questions.
And you don’t get into trouble doing that. See we make this misnomer between closed and open countries. There are no closed countries to this kind of work I am talking about. People do not reject the Gospel, they reject the way we try to communicate the Gospel to them.
Here’s another problem. Most preachers want to go where they can preach; well, they need to get over their call to preach. The call to preach is to mobilize the body of Christ.
You’ve said that mission is engaging a whole society, evangelism isn’t the end game.
It’s not, I used to think it was, and I’m a personal evangelist. I share my faith like crazy with tons of people and I see people accept Christ. But if evangelism is the end game then once I’ve got them converted, I’ve done my job. But if the end game is the transformation of society, then it presupposes I have to have converts; it makes discipleship a must, not a luxury. And it makes ministry the end game to see transformation in society. What we do is we celebrate way too quickly. We have this victory thing, we get all these people praying this prayer, and we think, wow look at what happened. But it’s a lot easier to get up and get people emotional and praying a little prayer than it is to live the Christian life.
Read more here.