The Changing Face of International Missions

I am one of those people who will not and cannot do the bidding of another man unless it is in line with my own bidding. Dr. Roger Stronstad in the Foreword to my autobiography, Fearfully and Wonderfully Mad, aptly wrote: “For example, while he is a good team player he is always fiercely individualistic and independent, and should circumstances bring about a conflict between the two his independence wins out.”

But this is a characteristic common to all missionaries or anybody for that matter, who accomplished things for God; should they not be given the space to follow what they conceive to be the will of God, they will part ways with whatever organization or mission board that tries to control them.

Hudson Tailor founded the China Inland Mission because he needed room to grow, to do what he believed God wanted him to do which — at his death included 205 mission stations with over 800 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians.

William Carey finally quit the mission organization which he founded because he refused to be micro managed by somebody in England.

The biggest obstacle to the progress of missions is a strong missions board that stifles the progress of potentially great men and women and great endeavors by dictating what they can do and cannot do on the field. They would do well to peruse the biographies of missionaries and immerse themselves in the history of Protestant mission and learn from them.

Those missionaries who refused to submit themselves to such pressure and follow the conviction placed upon their heart by the Holy Spirit will thrive; those without courage will not follow the leading of the Spirit against the wishes of the Missions board and, succumbing to the pressure exerted upon them, remain mediocre; their full potential unrealized.

It takes courage and the conviction that you are in God’s will and that regardless of what will happen he is with you. To fail to believe that is to fail; to depend on your own, abilities, wisdom and strength is to fail.

Once a missionary receives his mandate from the sending organization (or directly from God) he does not need supervision; a missionary to be successful must be autonomous, unshackled from the control of others. He should be in control of his own affairs channeling all his energy into the fulfillment of his mandate. He should be able to initiate any project that falls within the purview of his mandate.

It would be outright dishonest to take all the credit for the things I accomplished. The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada’s International Missions Department has helped me in many ways and so has Childcare plus through it sponsorships of many of our children.  It is therefore a just demand to request progress reports from me and so keep the sending organization up to date on his activities.

International Missions is not dead but changing. Therefore, “With malice toward none, with charity for all” … Those missionaries who need control and supervision, reconsider,  stay at home; why waste a lot of money and two men – the missionary and a director – to do the job of one? The mission field is often tough. Remember there is no such thing as a painless sacrifice and frequently despair lives next door to your heart.



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2 responses to “The Changing Face of International Missions

  1. keithallona

    I could not agree with you more. It seems that the most major change in the current practice of missions is to ignore the call of God that is on a potential missionary’s life and to try to force him into a preconceived mold that meets the preconceived expectations of an organization that wants absolute and complete control. Failure to comply usually results in the alienation of the God-called missionary unless there is a perceived advantage to be gained by the organization.

    Keith Higgins

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