I wasn’t surprised as I heard the young woman’s story last week. As she was finishing up college, she had responded to an offer to go overseas and do ministry for 2 years working with foreign college students.
Statistics on overall attrition cover some of this, but many missionaries who remain within a mission agency do not finish their primary mission (planting a church). Of course the question “What does it mean to finish?” can be defined a lot of ways.
With all the potential for good, the reality is that improper use of these technologies is hurting us in a few critical ways. Missionaries may live overseas, even learn some language and gather much data about a culture… and still not be there as a real part of the community. The loneliness, that historically drove missionaries into the social fabric in the areas they worked in, slowly disappeared.
The short answer is… because healthy New Testament churches do not organically “spring up” among new converts on their own. [New converts need] believers to walk them through this new identity of being a Christ follower and the implications it has on their previous religious, clan, tribal and family relationships.
And it’s more than just lost opportunities… at times they face real animosity for their foreignness. Government or religious persecution, or the political instability their folks are dealing with, often times bleeds over onto the kids.
About the Author Bob is currently serving in North Africa learning his 3rd language and preparing to do church planting in a refugee context. He has his master’s degree in Public Health and has served with Frontiers International for 7 years on the continent of...