When the crowd is gone, and it’s just me and a couple of pastors (usually the senior pastor and the missions pastor) standing around talking after a meeting or service I often get asked, ‘The Question.’ I was just asked ‘The Question’ about three weeks while I was in Minnesota (to be fair, it wasn’t pastors this time).
They don’t like asking ‘The Question,’ in group settings because they know it’s not very polite. ‘The Question’ is this: “Why aren’t missionaries more effective?” What bugs me about ‘The Question’ is that it shows the deep ignorance of North American church leadership.
While we in North America write books about leadership, impact, and effectiveness, hold conferences, and preach sermons we are being outdone by the 3rd Church and the missionary force.
Check this factoid out, that I just got from reading Missions Catalyst:
“Less than 2 percent of all missions giving is directed toward the 10/40 Window. Yet dollar for dollar and hour for hour, the harvest coming from the 10/40 Window nations outstrips that from the rest of the world 100 to 1.”
I realize that not all (in fact, not most) of this harvest is directly traced to missionaries – but a good chunk of it is. Why, then, does the myth of missionary effectiveness persist?
The ‘Real Question’ needs to be, “Why aren’t WE (in North America) learning from THEM about effectiveness?”