Five Trends Changing the Future of Missions

Republished with permission from Baptist Bulletin July/Aug 2011. All rights reserved.

The year 1985 introduced the movie Back to the Future. In the 26 years since its debut, people have enjoyed the film, its sequels, and its spin-offs (an animated series, a theme park ride, a video game, and a website). The movie tells about young Marty McFly, who accidentally goes back in time, driving Doc Brown’s modified DeLorean sports car outfitted with the famed “flux capacitor.” The film’s somewhat predictable plot presents the idea that past decisions determine future trends.

Maybe believers can do more than just enjoy Back to the Future; maybe they can learn something from it! Maybe, just maybe, future trends are indeed the result of past realities.

Applying that idea to global missions requires the question, Could identifiable current realities change the future of how we do missions? A look at some of the tendencies in today’s culture can help identify major influences facing the future of missions and perhaps even ministry in general.

Here then are five predictable future trends based upon current influences.

The Growing Influence of Millennials

According to the United Nations, over one billion youth live in the world today; that means one person in five is between the ages of 15 and 24 (www.un.org/events/youth98/backinfo/yreport.htm). Another source puts it this way: “The world is experiencing a marked shift in demographics. High levels of population growth in developing regions such as Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean means countries here have rising proportions of youth (aged 0–14)” (http://blog.euromonitor.com/2008/11/special-report-global-youth-populati…).

Within 12 years, the total population of the world will have grown by a billion people.

The millennial generation will change things significantly, and the massive size of this generation will predictably change the way missions will operate for decades and decades to come. Historically, ministry trends always follow significant population growth, and that will also happen with the current demographic explosion. Not only will the size of the millennial generation change the way missions operates, but the basic mind-set of millennials is vastly different than that of previous generations. One author puts it this way: “We have to understand that millennials simply view the world differently from us” (Ron Alsop, quoting Rich Garcia in The Trophy Kids Grow Up).

Based upon these demographic trends, missionaries and ministry leaders around the world will undoubtedly need to make youth ministry and young adult ministry a renewed priority. It will also become increasingly imperative for mission boards (as well as churches, by the way) to actively recruit millennials for positions of influence and leadership and for ongoing impact as this generation grows into adulthood very soon.

The Decreasing Influence of Baby Boomers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, tens of millions of baby boomers will retire during the next decade. The American media has reiterated this statistic as it relates to the exploding number of retiring baby boomers that will soon exhaust this country’s Social Security system (Good Morning America, 1/27/2011). This generational transfer will certainly impact scores of missionary endeavors around the world as aging boomers retire from Christian service. It is imperative for churches and agencies alike to prepare now for a significant turnover in their workforce due to the coming retirement of this age group.

Baby boomers came of age during the confusion of the ’60s and ’70s and learned vicariously to “Have it your way” and “You deserve a break today.” This previously record-setting demographic segment has influenced missions methods and procedures for the past several decades with their way-of-doing-things mentality. It’s important to note that aging boomers, once the largest and most dominant generation in history, and Generation X, the generation that followed, will significantly lose their cultural influence very soon to the looming millennials. It will be critical for ministry leaders to anticipate and prepare for this coming change in modus operandi.

There are basically two seemingly contradictory ways to actively get ready for this impending scenario. One, boomers should position themselves to intentionally and effectively mentor younger leaders into growing positions of leadership; and, two, mission agencies and churches must prepare to utilize retiring boomers as a potential new ministry workforce. They are likely to have the personal, financial, and social resources to continue serving long past the traditional retirement age. In other words, retiring baby boomers can be actively recruited for “second-career” ministry positions.

The Expanding Influence of Mobile Technology

Only a generation ago, a young Bill Gates turned technological culture upside down by acting on his belief that people would want their own personal computers even though this contradicted the conventional wisdom of the day. His generation is currently witnessing another technological revolution that is drastically changing the future of global communication before their very eyes.

An unmistakable example of this reality took place during the recent political uprisings in Egypt. On Friday, Feb. 11, longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down from his governmental authority following several days of public uprisings. Many American news outlets reported that these protests were fueled by young people utilizing social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. It is important to note that the course of human history in Egypt was altered, not by soldiers with guns or even bureaucrats in offices with laptops, but in the streets by young people with cell phones.

The future of instant global communication is absolutely not tied to a desk. Ask any teenager or preteen. They’d much rather have a cell phone than a computer. They’re experts at texting and rarely or never use e-mail. Have you noticed? E-mail is so yesterday!

Ministry leaders already understand the absolute imperative nature of utilizing the Internet to make instant connections with their various constituencies. Already, more people locate information about churches and ministry organizations from websites than from any other source. However, to really move ahead toward the future, leadership teams will need to strategize about how to utilize mobile technology for effective ministry communication. The rising popularity of iPads and smartphones indicates that the future of the Internet will not be limited to a home, an office, or even a “hot spot.” This is a growing reality around the world. Ministries, perhaps not unlike the young revolutionaries in Egypt, can realize the vast potential of making instant personal technological connections with almost everyone directly to their handheld mobile device. What an amazing opportunity.

The Weakening Influence of Western Culture

A recent report from the Pew Research Center made a startling prediction: the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by 35 percent in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. “Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades,” the report says, and “if current trends continue, Muslims will make up 26.4% of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion in 2030” (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1872/muslim-population-projections-worldwide…). This will certainly change the face of missions over the course of the next few years.

For the past several years the world has experienced a Western-leaning youth culture. According to Elissa Moses in The $100 Billion Allowance: Assessing the Global Teen Market, “The United States is cited more than any other country as the nation with the greatest influence on teen fashion and culture.” That American cultural influence may subside quickly with the extensive growth pattern forecasted for Muslims, and ministry leaders must soon prepare for this seismic shift in cultural influence.

However, today’s youth may be more prepared for the coming cultural shift than previous generations. Authors Thom and Jess Rainer say that about 70 percent of millennials are friends with someone from a different ethnic or racial background and that 87 percent of millennials are willing to marry someone outside their racial or ethnic group (The Millennials: Connecting to American’s Largest Generation).

Another United Nations report adds that the majority (about 85 percent) of the world’s youth live in developing countries, with 60 percent in Asia alone (www.un.org/events/youth98/backinfo/yreport).

These factors indicate that the approaching global influences may look much different in the future than they do today. At this moment, the majority of teenagers around the world are very much alike as consumers of a truly media-driven way of life. The rising crest of clout from the East (the seemingly ever-growing economies of countries like China and India), combined with the predicted population growth of Muslims, points toward a cultural swing that may impact missionary endeavors for years to come.

The Continuing Influence of God-centered “Reformation”

A movement in today’s Christian culture may also help forecast a change in global ministry, and that is the rising resurgence in Calvinism and reformed theology. Pastors Tim Keller (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City), John Piper (Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis), and Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church, Seattle) are currently some of the most popular and most downloaded speakers in today’s podcast universe.

One writer says, “Weary of churches that seek to entertain rather than teach, longing after the true meat of the Word, these young people are pursuing doctrine and are fast becoming new Calvinists” (Collin Hansen, Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists).

It is not the purpose of this article to argue the validity of one theological interpretation over another. Bible scholars and theologians can certainly handle that task with much more acumen and expertise. However, it may be important to note that today’s younger generations of Christian leaders are in fact embracing a renewed God-centered reformation. Christianity may be experiencing a new generation that is fed up with entertainment and fluff. The days of a quick devotional tucked into the middle of an all-nighter or a weekend Christian rock festival may be over, replaced with a growing appetite for a serious study of Scripture. There seems to be a growing trend in some religious circles back toward liturgy and a high-church methodology. Perhaps the emerging generation will swing the ministry pendulum back toward a deeper and truly Biblical definition of discipleship.

Christian political pundit Chuck Colson made this observation: “If we want to see revival in the church, we need to be at least as serious as the Marines are about preparing men and women for battle. Perhaps we ought to rethink Sunday school, dust off the catechisms, and start teaching the Bible and theology to our young people again. If the theologically attuned young Reformed crowd is any indication, they can handle it. But it’s not just for Calvinists. Every successful Christian movement has embraced ways to effectively pass on the faith entrusted to the saints once for all” (“Doctrinal Boot Camp: Conforming to the Truth of the Faith Is Necessary for Survival,” Christianity Today).

New generations of young people seemingly crave the deeper, more serious things of Scripture and they appear to hunger for truth—for real answers to real questions. Author Gabe Lyons made this observation: “[Christians in the new generation] have rediscovered Scripture and immerse themselves in it in a way that differs from the practice of recent generations” (The Next Christians: How a New Generation Is Restoring the Faith). Christian leaders must make a renewed commitment to the truth of God’s Word presented in clear, creative, and complete ways that challenge the thoughts and lifestyles of a new generation.

My comments here are observations, not necessarily predictions. However, cultural change is coming at what seems to be warp speed. Believers must have their message and basic mandates for global outreach firmly grounded in the never-changing and always-relevant Word of God. Baptist missionary forefathers perhaps never anticipated current trends such as international jet travel, the Internet, or cell phones, yet I believe they would have enthusiastically embraced the ideas of easy, quick transportation and instant global communication.

Maybe a practical illustration can be found in the familiar Back to the Future tale. Maybe future trends can be identified by today’s current realities.


Mel Walker, president of Vision For Youth, an international network of youth ministries, is a lifelong youth ministry specialist who has led short-term missions trips to Germany, South Africa, and Italy. He also annually leads teams of high school students on missions trips to inner-city Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. He and his wife, Peggy, have three children who serve full-time in vocational ministry. Mel and Peggy attend Heritage Baptist Church in Clarks Summit, Pa. Visit Mel’s blog.

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There are 48 Comments

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

Finances is also a trend that is affecting missions today. Europe and America are are experiencing unprecedented financial decline.

Jim's picture

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
Finances is also a trend that is affecting missions today. Europe and America are are experiencing unprecedented financial decline.

In my view there is enough money but it is not being used efficiently

  • The whole deputation trail is a giant time and money waster (travel, gasoline, etc)
  • Solve deputation and finances for missions will be fixed

My problems with deputation

  1. The mission agencies that take a percentage of a candidates support (or a fixed amount per month) are not financially motivated to pre-weed out the candidates that aren't going to make it through the process (complete deputation and get to the field)
  2. There is financial waste (or inefficiency) in three cases
    1. The case where the candidate spends say 3 years in deputation .... gets to 50% ... the trend line is such that the parties agree that the trajectory is not a successful deputation. The candidate resigns and does something else. This happens more than one thinks. In these cases mucho buckos have been wasted
    2. In the case where the candidate gets very close ... we might call it "successful" ... but then at the ends decides to take a pastorate. I've seen this happen as well (once that I am personally aware of this year). That is wasted money
    3. Cases # 1 and # 2 crowd out (competes) for the same candidate who makes it to the field

      If you look at recent (and by recent I mean pre-WWII) there were missionaries who just went to the field and trusted Christ. A hard way to go? Yes. But it happened

      After the ABWE Bangladesh-Doctor/Missionary-pedophile fiasco, I've lost a lot of confidence in mission boards. I think the whole "do we really need mission boards?' question needs to be revisited. They suck resources, work less with the local church than they should, and in some cases countermand the local church.

      We may need less but more effective missionaries!

      Some regions should be considered "evangelized". The Philippines and Brazil, in my view are candidates for less missionaries.

      When Paul an Barnabas were sent forth from Antioch (some regard them as the first missionaries), they were already established leader-teachers (Acts 13). Perhaps we should look more to men who are already serving as Pastors and send them instead of 25-35 year old untested-in-the-pastorate candidates

      Short term "vacation-style" youth missions trips should be evaluated. There are black kids in the inner city that are as lost as kids in Europe. Want to give kids a taste of missions .. do back yard Bible clubs in one's own Jerusalem (or the city next door). Save the jet fuel for the career missionaries

      Missions in our own back yard:

      The college campuses: Fundamentalists largely abandoned the secular campuses with our own Bible colleges. There are Chinese, Korean, etc etc etc students there who will get trained and go back to their home countries. It will be much less expensive to reach Muslims in America on the college campuses here.

Bob T.'s picture

To; Jim Peet

Appears you have given a great deal of thought and study to the missions subject. I would have to agree with most of what you said. My personal observation is that some candidates from North America have so little life experience, and then in a culture of ease, that they offer little for the other people in other harder situations to respect. Also, I wonder what happened to all the indigenous churches they wanted to plant. This was all you heard in the sixties and seventies. But we are still sending missionaries to countries that should have been left on their own long ago. It is interesting that when the missionaries were forced to leave China that tremendous growth eventually came. Perhaps mission agencies can't let go and are too self perpetuating. I especially wonder about student short term missions. Are these often just church supported overseas student vacations and not worth the expense?

I also find it interesting that some missionaries have agencies that demand a certain support level that will include excellent health, disability, life, and retirement benefits and are supported by churches that offer none or little such benefits to their home missionary called Pastor.

JG's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
In my view there is enough money but it is not being used efficiently

Probably true.
Jim Peet wrote:
The whole deputation trail is a giant time and money waster (travel, gasoline, etc)

Partly true. Benefit -- it weeds out a lot of quitters. If you think it costs a lot of money to have someone spend three years at 50% and then quit, imagine the cost of actually sending someone to the field and supporting them for 3-4 years and then they quit. Another benefit -- a lot of missionaries really learn to trust the Lord for finances in ways they never had to before, and in ways that will prepare them to trust the Lord in lots of other things on the field.

I strongly dislike the current system, I agree that there is significant waste, but I do see some benefits in the current system. You've overstated it, IMO.

Jim Peet wrote:
The mission agencies that take a percentage of a candidates support (or a fixed amount per month) are not financially motivated to pre-weed out the candidates that aren't going to make it through the process (complete deputation and get to the field)

Agreed. Hopefully they are ethically motivated to do that....
Jim Peet wrote:
In the case where the candidate gets very close ... we might call it "successful" ... but then at the ends decides to take a pastorate. I've seen this happen as well (once that I am personally aware of this year). That is wasted money

Why doesn't a candidate like that return his support? Why do churches call a man like that? Did he believe God was calling him to the field? If he got something as important as that wrong, how can you trust his leadership in the church?

Colour me unimpressed....

Jim Peet wrote:
If you look at recent (and by recent I mean pre-WWII) there were missionaries who just went to the field and trusted Christ. A hard way to go? Yes. But it happened

This is probably not legally an option in most cases. The world has changed. Most countries don't want you and won't let you in unless you have some way to prove that you are going to be able to support yourself and not be a drain on the country.
Jim Peet wrote:
After the ABWE Bangladesh-Doctor/Missionary-pedophile fiasco, I've lost a lot of confidence in mission boards. I think the whole "do we really need mission boards?' question needs to be revisited.

Maybe something good will come out of that mess.

I'm not opposed to an outside group providing services to aid a church in sending their missionaries. If that's all a mission board really is, it's fine. Too often, it becomes more than that.

If someone thinks that a mission board is providing Biblical accountability for their missionaries, in most cases, you are living in cloud-cuckoo land. If you are lucky, a mission representative visits for a week every couple of years. No one from the board knows what goes on the rest of the time. If there is another missionary from the board working nearby, they may know what is going on, but they may not be quick to open their mouth and cause trouble, especially if a transgressing missionary has more seniority. No missionary from another board is likely to say anything about any problems in another missionary's ministry, and even less likely to be believed by the transgressing missionary's board if they do say something. Just about the only thing to get a missionary off the field would be financial fraud or adultery, usually. Other stuff, the board won't even know about.

Jim Peet wrote:
We may need less but more effective missionaries!

You can never have too many labourers in the harvest. We certainly could use lots of effective missionaries.
Jim Peet wrote:
Some regions should be considered "evangelized". The Philippines and Brazil, in my view are candidates for less missionaries.

I couldn't comment intelligently on this.
Jim Peet wrote:
When Paul an Barnabas were sent forth from Antioch (some regard them as the first missionaries), they were already established leader-teachers (Acts 13). Perhaps we should look more to men who are already serving as Pastors and send them instead of 25-35 year old untested-in-the-pastorate candidates

I could rant on this topic for a while. If you have a 25 year old with little experience, and he goes into an established church in the U.S., with mature believers all around him, he's going to make mistakes, and they are going to help him. If he falls into sin, they will hold him accountable. If you send the same man to the mission field, his mistakes come when he's possibly the only person around who really knows the Word. If he starts to stumble, he's going to fall a lot harder and faster. And don't count on the mission board to be on top of this and protect him and hold him accountable. Please, please, please don't send ministry novices to the mission field! They make a mess of the ministry on the field and of themselves. Don't support novices. Just don't. Tell them they need some experience first. I don't care how good a speaker he is, how fancy his presentation is, how cute his little kids are, or how well he sings. He doesn't have to have been a pastor, but he needs some real experience.
Jim Peet wrote:
Short term "vacation-style" youth missions trips should be evaluated.

Yes. I've seen good and bad on these. I'll take an MTT team if they come back. Otherwise, I'm highly dubious, and likely to just say no.

RPittman's picture

Jim Peet wrote:

In my view there is enough money but it is not being used efficiently

  • The whole deputation trail is a giant time and money waster (travel, gasoline, etc)
  • Solve deputation and finances for missions will be fixed

Jim, are you on the outside looking in or have you done this? It's fairly easy being an armchair quarterback but calling the plays and taking the hits on the field is another matter. Although deputation can be an arduous experience, it has many benefits and advantages that you are overlooking. Here are a few ideas for starters.

  1. Prepares the missionary for the field by

    1. Experience in dealing with people of many different social, economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds
    2. Teaching faith and dependence upon God
    3. Experience in preaching, teaching, and speaking in different venues with different audiences
    4. Prepares the missionary in dealing with different foods, accommodations, etc.
  2. Keeps the urgent need for missions before the local church and their hearts warm to the cause of missions
  3. Encourages young people to consider the call to missions
  4. Forms bonds between missionaries and the local assemblies
  5. Missionaries often have a fruitful ministry to the local churches by encouraging the struggling pastors, challenging the members, etc.
  6. Keeps the people's hearts warm to missions giving
  7. Informs local congregations of specific fields and needs
  8. Finally, it is a boot camp that weeds out those who are unsuitable, not committed, or lack the right stuff for mission work

Jim, these are just a few ideas. Perhaps you ought to go back and rethink your basic ideas. On this one, I'm pretty much in disagreement with your whole approach. Admittedly, there are problems as in any aspect of ministry and there's much room for improvement and increased efficiency but your sweeping generalizations just won't fly.

Jim's picture

Dear Brother Pittman,

A simple question: Where in the NT do you see our current model of deputation?

Admittedly Paul wrote to the Philippians rejoicing and commending them for their support and welcoming more (Philippians 4:10-18):

Quote:
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

I cited the example of the church of Antioch where they, lead by the Holy Spirit, sent out two veteran leaders to the field. I would suppose that some financial support accompanied that sending!

It's pure pragmatism to cite the "many benefits and advantages" of the current deputation system!

Re: "are you on the outside looking in or have you done this?" Answer: Well I haven't been a missionary. I did serve as a Pastor for 16 years and did raise my own support for a campus ministry after college. So I am not exactly "on the outside looking in"

Jim's picture

You cited this benefit, among others, of deputation:

Quote:
it is a boot camp that weeds out those who are unsuitable, not committed, or lack the right stuff for mission work

Where is the Biblical support for that!

JG's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
You cited this benefit, among others, of deputation:

Quote:
it is a boot camp that weeds out those who are unsuitable, not committed, or lack the right stuff for mission work

Where is the Biblical support for that!


Of deacons, I Tim. 3:10:
Quote:
And let these also first be proved;

The "also" implies that which only makes sense, that an elder/bishop must be first tested/proved. If you are sending a man to plant churches overseas, he's going to be in the role of pastor/bishop, so he should first be tested/proved. It is obvious that the testing is in the eyes of the church. Deputation is one way of testing/proving a man.

It tests his commitment/faith/etc.

It also tests him by another measure, in my opinion. Do God's people, led by the Holy Spirit, find him to measure up to what is needed, as far as Biblical standards of qualifications, faithfulness, commitment, etc? Of course, too often it's by whether he, his wife, and his kids put on a nice presentation and are charming enough, but that's a failure of the church, not of the "system".

For clarity, I'm NOT in favor of the current system. But this kind of "weeding out", this testing, is Biblical and appropriate. If we want to talk about whether it is the best and most appropriate way Biblically to accomplish the task, that's a far different question. Jim suggested looking for more experience as a way of "weeding out", Roland suggests using deputation. Both accomplish that purpose, and it is a Biblical purpose.

The current "system" is not centred enough around the local church. If the local church took sending a missionary as seriously as they take calling a pastor, you'd have a lot more "weeding out" take place. And the local church ought to take their missionary's ministry as their own, rather than dumping it off on a mission board. That would include helping him in the support/deputation problem.

If I were a pastor in the States, and I got a letter from a missionary, it would be one of a thousand. A letter from his mission board would mean nothing to me. If I got a letter from a pastor with several pages of information of how they had tested a man in doctrine, Biblical qualifications, and ministry, and asking us to consider him for support, THAT would catch my attention. That would especially be the case if I knew the pastor, if we knew the church and knew they were likeminded.

Michelle's picture

RPittman wrote:

  • Prepares the missionary for the field by
      Experience in dealing with people of many different social, economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds
      Forms bonds between missionaries and the local assemblies
      Experience in preaching, teaching, and speaking in different venues with different audiences
  • I appreciate your pointing out how missionaries might benefit from the current deputation system. I don't know that visiting churches and staying with families for at most a week really helps them learn to deal with different backgrounds or form bonds. It may expose them to differences, but does it really train them in dealing with people day in and day out for months and years as is needed on the mission field?

    Further, prospective missionaries really only need to have 5-10 messages prepared which they repeat as they travel around on deputation. I don't know that this prepares them for the mission field where they may have to -- or at least should -- prepare several different messages or lessons each week.

    Quote:

    Encourages young people to consider the call to missions

    I fear that for every young person called to missions from hearing a presentation at least one other is turned off because of the long, drawn-out process of getting to the field.

    About the only benefit I see is to keep the local congregation informed and inspired to give. This might could be accomplished using Hudson Taylor's model: he went to the field but left a representative -- who lived by faith for his own support -- to visit churches and raise money for the China Inland Mission.

    I'm on the missions committee at our church so these discussions are very helpful. Smile

    Rob Fall's picture

    the need is to support indigenous workers. Most of such support would be in the form of educating the pulpit. There are many fields where in order for the local churches to mature further, they need men in the pulpit with more than a Bible institute education.

    Hoping to shed more light than heat..

    dcbii's picture

    EditorModerator

    Michelle wrote:
    I don't know that visiting churches and staying with families for at most a week really helps them learn to deal with different backgrounds or form bonds. It may expose them to differences, but does it really train them in dealing with people day in and day out for months and years as is needed on the mission field?

    It's probably good exposure, but preparation in one field of ministry is often completely different from another field.

    We had a pastoral intern at our church for a while before he got a permanent position. Prior to interning with us, he had been on the Steve Pettit Evangelistic team for about 5 years. In one of our pastor/deacon's meetings, he commented how dealing with the same people weekly seemed much more difficult for him, with harder problems to solve, than being with different people for a week and then moving on. A church-planting missionary, for at least a few years (depending on the length of time it takes to get a work to self-supporting status under a local leader) will be much more like pastoring, dealing with the same people all the time, even if the experience (at first) is going to be different from what it is in his home country.

    Dave Barnhart

    RPittman's picture

    Jim Peet wrote:
    Dear Brother Pittman,

    A simple question: Where in the NT do you see our current model of deputation?

    Well, Bro. Jim, I think it is in the same chapter with the NT models of Sunday Schools, VBS, Bible colleges, seminaries, college campus ministries, etc.
    Quote:

    Admittedly Paul wrote to the Philippians rejoicing and commending them for their support and welcoming more (Philippians 4:10-18):

    Quote:
    But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.

    I cited the example of the church of Antioch where they, lead by the Holy Spirit, sent out two veteran leaders to the field. I would suppose that some financial support accompanied that sending!

    A single or even a few examples do not establish a principle or model. Furthermore, I'm not sure that the passages cited have a necessary inference or intentional emphasis upon experienced (i.e. veteran) men as much as on spiritual qualifications of proven men (i.e. faithful). Remember that Paul admonished Timothy to let no one despise his youth. IMHO, spirituality, dedication, and faithfulness are more in line with the Biblical qualifications of a missionary than experience or skills. These qualities are not necessarily the products of age and experience. Furthermore, reverting to what you may call pragmatism, which is really the basis of the argument for experienced pastors as missionaries, one must recognize the flip side of this coin. Whereas pastors may have experienced success in the American ministry, they may find it extremely difficult to change their ways and minister in a manner compatible to another culture. Young men, who have not yet developed their own distinctive patterns, may adjust better than older men. After all, it is generally true that we find it more difficult to change and adapt as we grow older. Sure, the young guys will make a lots of mistakes in learning but the older, experienced guys made their fair share of mistakes in the ministry too.
    Quote:

    It's pure pragmatism to cite the "many benefits and advantages" of the current deputation system!

    Most certainly, I can't disagree with this but I thought your argument was pretty well grounded in the pragmatism of saving money and increasing efficiency. Am I missing something?
    Quote:

    Re: "are you on the outside looking in or have you done this?" Answer: Well I haven't been a missionary. I did serve as a Pastor for 16 years and did raise my own support for a campus ministry after college. So I am not exactly "on the outside looking in"

    But, you've never really done deputation, which is much more than raising money.

    RPittman's picture

    Rob Fall wrote:
    the need is to support indigenous workers.
    I'm not sure where you're going with this. It sounds like a really great idea but it has its problems of producing "rice Christians."
    Quote:
    Most of such support would be in the form of educating the pulpit.
    Well, this seems to be the trend in some circles unfortunately. Although natives, your indigenous workers, are an important part of evangelization and mission work, they are not usually able to carry the burden of evangelization alone. It is not academic but economic for the most part.
    Quote:
    There are many fields where in order for the local churches to mature further, they need men in the pulpit with more than a Bible institute education.
    This is based on a false assumption of the role of education in the ministry. Here, I think you are speaking theoretically based on your own American view of ministry and your own presuppositions about ministry. It is possible through education to break the connection to the common people. Education is NOT a prerequisite for Christianity to flourish. Look at the Apostles who were called "ignorant and unlearned" men. Even the learned Paul emphatically argued that his gospel came with persuasive words or the wisdom of men.

    Anne Sokol's picture

    as a missionary . . .

    I pretty much agree with what Jim Peet wrote.

    We are here with pretty much half the support level of what normal american missionaries have--we can do it b/c Vitaliy is ukrainian and his mom gives us food from her garden, he also keeps some of our spending low, and recently God's helped he and I both to have income-producing work here. no, we dont save for retirement, and i'm not quite sure how we'll ever pay for our kids education (our first child starts school this fall), but . . . God provides. He really does.

    I dont' know if deputation weeds out people. It's a lot about marketing and sales stuff--prayer card, presentation, making calls, etc., I have often struggled with that. It's a little about getting to know pepole; it's more about temporarily adapting yourself (or hiding things) from them that they may not accept about you, so you keep quiet b/c they are all pretty much strangers to you, but they help you financially. Why do you think I post here? b/c no one here supports us Smile

    I dont know, I have more thoughts, but I have to go.

    RPittman's picture

    Michelle wrote:

    [Roland ], I appreciate your pointing out how missionaries might benefit from the current deputation system. I don't know that [emphasis added ] visiting churches and staying with families for at most a week really helps them learn to deal with different backgrounds or form bonds. It may expose them to differences, but does it really train them in dealing with people day in and day out for months and years as is needed on the mission field?
    Michelle, have you done deputation? If not, then you really don't know. So, if you don't know, then you can't say either way. Right? Otherwise, you are the fan in the stands telling the referee how to call the game. It seems real easy until you're out on that floor trying to make the calls. Things that appeal to our rational thoughts and seem to make sense often don't work out in practice.
    Quote:

    Further, prospective missionaries really only need to have 5-10 messages prepared which they repeat as they travel around on deputation. I don't know that this prepares them for the mission field where they may have to -- or at least should -- prepare several different messages or lessons each week.

    Oh, come on now! This is a straw man! Any missionary worth his salt won't do this although there's nothing wrong with preaching a message twice (pastors routinely do this). This is NOT a true picture--it's a caricature.
    Quote:

    I fear that for every young person called to missions from hearing a presentation at least one other is turned off because of the long, drawn-out process of getting to the field.

    If they can't make it past boot camp, then they don't need to be on the battlefield. However, we need the constantly challenge because we don't know who can or will make it. The problem with programs with only a candidate selection process is that too many missionaries fail after they reach the field. They just don't last.
    Quote:

    About the only benefit I see is to keep the local congregation informed and inspired to give. This might could be accomplished using Hudson Taylor's model: he went to the field but left a representative -- who lived by faith for his own support -- to visit churches and raise money for the China Inland Mission.

    There's nothing Biblically wrong with this approach but it's not very motivational for churches today. There's no organic connection with a real missionary. Something is lost and the whole program becomes a functioning bureaucracy. I grew up in a church with this type of program and didn't see a missionary for years. My son, who is a missionary today, grew up with missionaries sleeping and eating in his home.
    Quote:

    I'm on the missions committee at our church so these discussions are very helpful. Smile

    Then, you need to really get involved in missions. The answers to mission problems are not formulated by folks sitting around tables stateside and discussing what missionaries ought to do. I had a real problem when my son, a missions major, was in college and was taught by mission professors who had never really been missionaries. Sure, they had read books, taken courses, earned degrees and even gone on mission trips but they never really been there and done that. It's rather like the education professors in the 1940-50's, who had not taught a K-12 class in twenty years, dreaming up "modern math" and "look-say reading" methods, which resulted in a whole generation of students who couldn't count or read. It all sounded wonderful in the halls of academia but it didn't work in the K-12 classroom.

    Rob Fall's picture

    Actually, I'm looking at the works of P.D. Cherian and the late Jacob Chelli in India. Cherian at South India Baptist Bible College and Chelli at Berean BBC. India has been closed to foreign missionaries for at least the last 40+ years. That includes teachers for their colleges and Bible institutes. So, these men raised support here in the States and built these works. There is also the work being done in Ghana for Anglo-phone West Africa. In both locations, Biblical Christianity has been there for over 150 years and in India's case over 200. The thinking goes, it's about time for these areas to train their own leadership instead of looking overseas.

    RPittman wrote:
    Rob Fall wrote:
    the need is to support indigenous workers.
    I'm not sure where you're going with this. It sounds like a really great idea but it has its problems of producing "rice Christians."
    Quote:
    Most of such support would be in the form of educating the pulpit.
    Well, this seems to be the trend in some circles unfortunately. Although natives, your indigenous workers, are an important part of evangelization and mission work, they are not usually able to carry the burden of evangelization alone. It is not academic but economic for the most part.
    Quote:
    There are many fields where in order for the local churches to mature further, they need men in the pulpit with more than a Bible institute education.
    This is based on a false assumption of the role of education in the ministry. Here, I think you are speaking theoretically based on your own American view of ministry and your own presuppositions about ministry. It is possible through education to break the connection to the common people. Education is NOT a prerequisite for Christianity to flourish. Look at the Apostles who were called "ignorant and unlearned" men. Even the learned Paul emphatically argued that his gospel came with persuasive words or the wisdom of men.

    Hoping to shed more light than heat..

    RPittman's picture

    Anne Sokol wrote:
    as a missionary . . .

    I pretty much agree with what Jim Peet wrote.

    We are here with pretty much half the support level of what normal american missionaries have--we can do it b/c Vitaliy is ukrainian and his mom gives us food from her garden, he also keeps some of our spending low, and recently God's helped he and I both to have income-producing work here. no, we dont save for retirement, and i'm not quite sure how we'll ever pay for our kids education (our first child starts school this fall), but . . . God provides. He really does.

    I dont' know if deputation weeds out people. It's a lot about marketing and sales stuff--prayer card, presentation, making calls, etc., I have often struggled with that. It's a little about getting to know pepole; it's more about temporarily adapting yourself (or hiding things) from them that they may not accept about you, so you keep quiet b/c they are all pretty much strangers to you, but they help you financially. Why do you think I post here? b/c no one here supports us Smile

    I dont know, I have more thoughts, but I have to go.

    Anne, I think that I know one of your supporting churches and my besetting sin is gossip! :bigsmile: I can't wait to call the pastor, the chairman of the board, and the missions director in the morning. NO, I just kidding . . . . I won't tell . . . . . Wink

    The problem, IMHO, is that we get star dust in our eyes when we talk about missions. We expect every aspect to be spiritual and other-worldly when it all boils down to a lot of common things and hard work. Don't think that I don't believe there's plenty of room for improvement in what we're doing. However, there are the things that we tolerate because it's simply the way things are. Presentations, prayer cards, etc. don't necessarily rouse the spiritual part of us but we do them because it's expected and they do have a purpose and some benefit. For example, we do keep prayer cards and pray for those missionaries (I'm looking for your card).

    However, you do have a point. It's not the marketing, slick presentations, and prayer cards that make the difference. It's about relationships and getting to know people--involving them in your life and ministry. And we've brought too much of our Wall Street and Madison Avenue thinking into missions. Whereas we ought to adhere to sound business principles, we've neglected balancing this with the ministry aspect and the calling of God. Also, American missionaries try to live in third world countries as they did in America, which is much more expensive. The missionary should live among the people as they do. It may mean giving up Cokes and pizza to eat rice three meals a day; trading their van for a bicycle, and living in a four-room cinder block house. Then, some boards require a minimal support level, insurance, and retirement plans. The flip of this is that churches cease support when missionaries come home because of sickness or age. I don't think missionaries are unspiritual when they have a retirement plan or insurance. After all, many of those pious pew-warmers, who tithe a mite and believe that missionaries should make huge financial sacrifices for the Lord, are very diligent and concerned about their own portfolio and retirement program.

    RPittman's picture

    Rob Fall wrote:
    Actually, I'm looking at the works of P.D. Cherian and the late Jacob Chelli in India. Cherian at South India Baptist Bible College and Chelli at Berean BBC. India has been closed to foreign missionaries for at least the last 40+ years. That includes teachers for their colleges and Bible institutes. So, these men raised support here in the States and built these works. There is also the work being done in Ghana for Anglo-phone West Africa. In both locations, Biblical Christianity has been there for over 150 years and in India's case over 200. The thinking goes, it's about time for these areas to train their own leadership instead of looking overseas.
    These are good works. I been associated with organizations that support such works including those mentioned. Also, I have a good friend, Eric Franks, who has done a similar thing in Bangalore, India. His burden is to train pastors to go into the hills where the people still live in poverty and ignorance. His boys have established a good number of churches in the rural areas. Then, there was Hosea Lara, now deceased, of Mount Horeb Bible Institute in Mexico. So, I'm not opposed to this type of mission work. However, I do know of such efforts that have gone awry. For example, some programs brought nationals to America for training and they stayed on to enjoy the good life. Others have taken American support to live the good life in their own country. So, we must be discerning. I don't think this is the panacea for all mission difficulties. Our efforts must be on a variety of fronts.

    Stephen Enjaian's picture

    This post is a needed wake up call. The next step is to put content into how churches should respond to the trends. Yes, one generation is waning, the next is waxing and new technology is changing the way they live. This is not new. What outlook are we giving them on missions?

    Western culture is losing dominance. What role does that suggest for American churches in evangelism? Reformed theology is rising. Are we using Sunday "School" time to truly train? Is it enough to advocate feeding people more religious information? Are we training ourselves to give effective answers to common challenges to the Gospel?

    Are we using God-given opportunities in the most fruitful way possible? Why is it that about 90% of our missions spending goes to the places and peoples who already have the greatest access to the Gospel, while less than 10% goes to those with the least access? Is this Biblical missions? Do we really want to continue enabling a process that forces missions candidates to spend months or even years raising support from 30 or 40 widely scattered churches, the majority of whose members can't even remember what country those missionaries minister in?

    Do we know why we carry out missions the way we do? The answers to these and other questions can be effectively answered if churches took the time and effort to think and pray through a Biblically-driven missions philosophy. I am involved in such an effort at my church. We are asking respected, effective veteran missionaries to tell us what they have learned. It has been a healthy process.

    I encourage other churches to do the same. When we do, perhaps we will be better prepared to meet the challenges in the future of missions.

    Rob Fall's picture

    I agree such operations must be carefully planned and overseen. However, in many cases, they are viable alternatives to sending a church planting American missionary overseas. There are many ways contrary to popular belief to skin a cat.

    RPittman wrote:
    Rob Fall wrote:
    Actually, I'm looking at the works of P.D. Cherian and the late Jacob Chelli in India. Cherian at South India Baptist Bible College and Chelli at Berean BBC. India has been closed to foreign missionaries for at least the last 40+ years. That includes teachers for their colleges and Bible institutes. So, these men raised support here in the States and built these works. There is also the work being done in Ghana for Anglo-phone West Africa. In both locations, Biblical Christianity has been there for over 150 years and in India's case over 200. The thinking goes, it's about time for these areas to train their own leadership instead of looking overseas.
    These are good works. I been associated with organizations that support such works including those mentioned. Also, I have a good friend, Eric Franks, who has done a similar thing in Bangalore, India. His burden is to train pastors to go into the hills where the people still live in poverty and ignorance. His boys have established a good number of churches in the rural areas. Then, there was Hosea Lara, now deceased, of Mount Horeb Bible Institute in Mexico. So, I'm not opposed to this type of mission work. However, I do know of such efforts that have gone awry. For example, some programs brought nationals to America for training and they stayed on to enjoy the good life. Others have taken American support to live the good life in their own country. So, we must be discerning. I don't think this is the panacea for all mission difficulties. Our efforts must be on a variety of fronts.

    Hoping to shed more light than heat..

    DJung's picture

    Why should missionaries be fund raisers in churches in which they have never served or will never serve? Is this Scriptural? One message one presentation is not much commitment to that local church and the local church does not hold these missionaries very accountable if they do support them during their future ministry.

    The deputation system is not biblical. It should not be a proving ground unless selling yourself and your field is the ultimate goal. Are we training salesmen through this process?

    Promotion of tent-making, BIVO missions model is more biblical for church planting. All men should be exposed to this model rather than default to the deputation mess. BIVO is scriptural. Most missionaries don't really have a good handle on faith and finances. They have been taught a pragmatic model not a biblical one.

    Anne Sokol's picture

    that the argument that deputation is a weeding-out process is perhaps a false claim, or a superfluous claim. . . . It could be said of going to university or seminary, for example. Did the missionary go through a bachelors and masters program? In accomplishing that, he certainly did a lot that shows us he has the gumption to stick it through . . .

    And I've known not only one missionary who's done deputation, then headed back in a few months. It doesn't follow.

    RPittman's picture

    Anne Sokol wrote:
    that the argument that deputation is a weeding-out process is perhaps a false claim, or a superfluous claim. . . . It could be said of going to university or seminary, for example. Did the missionary go through a bachelors and masters program? In accomplishing that, he certainly did a lot that shows us he has the gumption to stick it through . . .

    And I've known not only one missionary who's done deputation, then headed back in a few months. It doesn't follow.

    Anne, your argument also applies to college, university, and seminary graduates. There are many, many graduates with degrees in Bible, religious studies, Christian education, missions, church ministries, church administration, etc. who work secular jobs. Furthermore, pastors quit the pulpit after 30 years of ministry. So what does that prove? Rather than hearing compelling arguments against deputation, I'm hearing weak and specious reasoning to support one's own preference. Whereas deputation is not a Biblical mandate, it is NOT un-Biblical. If churches, missionaries, and mission agencies find this to be a practical means of carrying out their ministries, then more power to them. What gives us the right to tell them how to carry out their ministries? If you don't like it, then use your own means if they are not un-Biblical.

    JG's picture

    RPittman wrote:
    What gives us the right to tell them how to carry out their ministries?

    I didn't actually notice anyone claiming any authority to dictate how to carry out their ministries.

    It is entirely appropriate for people to discuss whether current models best reflect Biblical principles. It is entirely appropriate for people to discuss whether current models are the best way to do things as society changes, since as you acknowledge, the current deputation model is extra-Biblical.

    Several people on this thread do have some pretty extensive missions-related experience. This is not just a pooling of ignorance.

    I've heard several missionaries say they use a limited number of sermons on deputation and furlough. They sometimes have to, because they spend so much time in travel or as guests in people's homes, when there is no opportunity to study and prepare. I experienced that, though only for a few months at a time, thankfully. I used the same sermons more than once, and never pretended I didn't.

    A lot of the "boot camp" of deputation has nothing to do with what a missionary will face on the field. I do see value in the process, but I'm not sure why you are so determined to defend it. Just because there is value in it does not even begin to suggest it is the best way to go about things. There are more and more missionaries who think it isn't, that something needs to change. The problem is coming up with a better way, and then getting enough people to agree to adopt it. Inertia is powerful.

    Brother Jung, you suggested tentmaking. As a tentmaker, I'll just say that it is very, very difficult to make that happen. We had much difficulty even though I was taking my job with me. If the authorities think you might actually be taking a job that one of their citizens could have had, they simply won't let you in the country. They want to know where the money is coming from to support you before they will let you in, and if you say you are going to look for a job, they will tell you to go back home and look for one.

    RPittman's picture

    DJung wrote:
    Why should missionaries be fund raisers in churches in which they have never served or will never serve? Is this Scriptural? One message one presentation is not much commitment to that local church and the local church does not hold these missionaries very accountable if they do support them during their future ministry.
    Oh? Why shouldn't they? I think you will find it hard to prove from Scripture that Paul, Silas, Barnabas, etc. ONLY received support, aid, or help from churches where they served. I'm certain that you will NOT find definite Scripture teaching this principle. It is only your inference which depends on your own human reasoning from limited information. I do NOT see any validity to these questions.
    Quote:

    The deputation system is not biblical. It should not be a proving ground unless selling yourself and your field is the ultimate goal. Are we training salesmen through this process?
    You've stated your opinion but opinions are human and cheap. Now back it up. Simply because it is NOT specified in Scripture does NOT mean that it is un-Biblical or wrong. God has left many things to our own application. The presupposition that something is not Biblical (i.e. un-Bliblical) unless it is specifically outlined or mentioned in Scripture is of itself a human presupposition that lacks Biblical authority.
    Quote:

    Promotion of tent-making, BIVO missions model is more biblical for church planting. All men should be exposed to this model rather than default to the deputation mess. BIVO is scriptural.
    Admittedly, this model does appeals to all of us, including myself. However, I think it appeals because of the admirable qualities of dedication, sacrifice, and commitment on the part of the missionary more than a Biblical mandate or model. Whereas the tent-making model of support was practiced by Paul, he makes it plain that others legitimately depend upon the support of the church. As in Paul's case and the modern tent-maker missionary, it is going beyond the call of duty demonstrating an admirable commitment to the cause of Christ. The shame is on our part who sit comfortably in America enjoying the good life without a greater burden to send more missionaries to spread the gospel. And we find all kinds of excuses to cover our lack.
    Quote:
    Most missionaries don't really have a good handle on faith and finances. They have been taught a pragmatic model not a biblical one.
    Well, how many missionaries do you know. The ones I know, and I know many, have a better handle than most pastors, Christian workers, people in the pew, etc.

    Now, I am interested in one question. Are you presently serving as a tent-making missionary? If so, your post carries a ring of sincerity and commitment. You are to be commended--my hat's off to you. Otherwise, you are judging and imposing your own prejudices upon the ones serving. Your opinion carries little weight.

    RPittman's picture

    JG wrote:
    I didn't actually notice anyone claiming any authority to dictate how to carry out their ministries.
    Well, I didn't say anything about "authority to dictate." Did I? I think it was more in the vein of telling other folks how they ought to run their ministries. This sidetracks the discussion. Of course, churches, missionaries, and mission agencies are not under the authority of the posters on this board. However, there are implied criticisms based on opinions, inferences and shaky interpretations that the posters claim to be Biblical. When one calls a thing Biblical, they are claiming Biblical authority. Too many people try to clinch their arguments by calling it Biblical without attending support.
    Quote:

    It is entirely appropriate for people to discuss whether current models best reflect Biblical principles. It is entirely appropriate for people to discuss whether current models are the best way to do things as society changes, since as you acknowledge, the current deputation model is extra-Biblical.
    Yes, but there are precious few Biblical principles expounded and supported. Furthermore, the arguments are one-sided without recognition of the other side. Weaknesses of deputation were decried without any recognition of its benefits. Every method has both its strengths and weaknesses. Folks are simply airing their inferences and opinion masquerading under a Biblical label. The criticisms are human opinions, nothing more. So, let's not call a system arising out of human practicality un-Biblical when the criticisms of the said system are nothing more than a difference of human opinions. It's not really fair, kosher, or honest to claim higher authority for one's argument than what one really has.

    RPittman's picture

    Anne Sokol wrote:
    that the argument that deputation is a weeding-out process is perhaps a false claim, or a superfluous claim. . . . It could be said of going to university or seminary, for example. Did the missionary go through a bachelors and masters program? In accomplishing that, he certainly did a lot that shows us he has the gumption to stick it through . . .

    And I've known not only one missionary who's done deputation, then headed back in a few months. It doesn't follow.

    Anne, I'm not really sure of the exact thrust of your point on universities and seminaries. I may have repeated the point you made. But, I did want to add that we cannot successfully argue that college or deputation is NOT a weeding out process because there subsequent failures. There will always be failures because of human weakness and people who endure great testing may fail at a later point. Failures are due to many different causes. However, later failures do not necessarily indicate that earlier potential failures were weeded out. The reasoning is that if they quit during deputation, then it is more likely that they would have quit later without deputation under the rigor of the mission field. We don't know this and cannot test it but it is a reasonable inference.

    RPittman's picture

    Rob Fall wrote:
    I agree such operations must be carefully planned and overseen. However, in many cases, they are viable alternatives to sending a church planting American missionary overseas. There are many ways contrary to popular belief to skin a cat.
    Rob, I'm not arguing against other methods. One size doesn't fit all. My points have been directed toward a plurality of means including tent-making, associational support, training and supporting nationals, and DEPUTATION. We agree, I think. All these approaches have strengths and weaknesses. We should recognize the relative strengths and weaknesses of each. Then churches, mission agencies, and missionaries have to make their choices. However, what bothered me is some have tried to assume a superior position by claiming Biblical support that they didn't have. It seemed to me that this thread was on a roll against deputation without recognizing its advantages as well as it shortcomings. So, I pitched into the fray to balance the arguments.

    Anne Sokol's picture

    RPittman wrote:
    Anne, I'm not really sure of the exact thrust of your point on universities and seminaries. I may have repeated the point you made. But, I did want to add that we cannot successfully argue that college or deputation is NOT a weeding out process because there subsequent failures. There will always be failures because of human weakness and people who endure great testing may fail at a later point. Failures are due to many different causes. However, later failures do not necessarily indicate that earlier potential failures were weeded out. The reasoning is that if they quit during deputation, then it is more likely that they would have quit later without deputation under the rigor of the mission field. We don't know this and cannot test it but it is a reasonable inference.
    My point is that viewing deputation as a weeding out process is not necessarily logical. It is quite possible that there are missionaries who quit deputation who would've stayed many yrs on the field if they had gotten there in the first place (without having to do yrs of deputation).

    There are no special, magical elements of deputation that prepare a missionary for living on the field. And if we just do deputation to go through the experience of doing something long, hard, and with many rather meaningless elements, I'm saying that earning a university degree is the same kind of "weeding out test" then.

    RPittman's picture

    Anne Sokol wrote:
    My point is that viewing deputation as a weeding out process is not necessarily logical.
    Now Anne, you playing games with me. I just gave you the logic in my post. By denying it is logical, you are upstaging me. You may disagree with its logic but don't deny it is logical meaning that it is irrational.
    Quote:
    It is quite possible that there are missionaries who quit deputation who would've stayed many yrs on the field if they had gotten there in the first place (without having to do yrs of deputation).
    Admittedly, it is possible. I talked about the system not being perfect. This is to be human. However, it has put thousands of missionaries on the field doing the Lord's work although the system was imperfect. On the other side, think of the weaknesses of the other methods too.
    Quote:

    There are no special, magical elements of deputation that prepare a missionary for living on the field. And if we just do deputation to go through the experience of doing something long, hard, and with many rather meaningless elements, I'm saying that earning a university degree is the same kind of "weeding out test" then.

    No one has claimed "special, magical elements of deputation that prepare a missionary for living on the field." It is simply a proving ground. In any field, there is a higher failure rate at entry level.

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