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More formally trained pastors at Together for the Gospel than 10/40 Window

Discussion in 'Evangelism, Missions and the Persecuted Church' started by Pergamum, Apr 15, 2017.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    A shocking statistic to remember when you go to those big-name conferences - "There are more formally trained pastors at Together for the Gospel than in the entire 10-40 window."

    This has huge implications for wiser stewardship in the allocation of ministry resources. Are we hoarding the gold of the Gospel or sending it abroad to the nations?

    --------- (Info from Training Leaders International).

    http://t4g.org/resources/photos/
     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Churches have a mission field in their own locality. An increasing number of missionaries (ministers) in Australia preach the gospel and work with their own hands to support themselves and their families. And that is while both they and their churches continue to give to overseas missions.
     
  3. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    Both are important insights. What struck me about the quote wasn't the financial resources involved in a conference like that, but the desperate need for "people" resources on the field in the 10/40 window. I live and work in the 10/40 window; we are in Bangladesh. It is a country the size of iowa but well surpasses the population of Russia. And it claims the largest unreached people group in the world. We live in a city the size of NY city; it is the second largest city here; and there are zero reformed churches in our city (let alone reformed and covenantal, which is our conviction as Presbyterians). We desperately need more people.
     
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    You are failing to see the big picture. Due to policies over the last few decades in the US, Australia and Europe, there are plenty of 'the nations' to evangelize without going half way around the world. Indeed, the whole 19th century mindset of foreign missions and the White Man's Burden may well be outdated.

    Since you have raised the stewardship question, is it better stewardship to to send missionaries to Richardson, Texas, and Dearborn, Michigan to reach 10s of thousands, or to set up the support infrastructure to send them half way around the world to reach dozens?

    On a more direct level, how does the cost of a pastor going to "Together for the Gospel" compare to a missionary flying to the US and itenerating for 3 months?
     
  5. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    Edward,

    I don't see it as either/or, but as both/and. There may be 500,000 Bengalis living in the US, but there are 160 million living here. Even if you reach a few in the US, the vast majority of them stay in the US; so you're not really having much of an impact on the whole of the nation residing here in Asia. No one should feel guilt for a calling to be in America or anywhere else in the west. But it seems we should be sending more people where there is greater need. Forgive the bad illustration, but if there were no doctors or hospitals in Texas, but there were Texans living elsewhere in the States where there was hospitals, you'd still be left asking: "Wait--why is it that there aren't any hospitals in Texas? Shouldn't we have hospitals in Texas too?"
     
  6. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    The original post presents an either/or situation. " hoarding the gold ... or sending it abroad"

    Rather than picking either of those, I chose "None of the above".

    The only unqualified success for traditional foreign missions has been Korea. China looks pretty good now, but most of the success seems to have come after the Westerners largely went away. Some portions of Africa also were successfully reached. So depending on how you want to draw geographic divisions, I'll cede you a significant portion of Africa, as well. The Mayan peninsula is a qualified success.
     
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Read Ralph Winter's article, "A Re-consecration to a War-time Lifestyle" here: https://joshuaproject.net/assets/media/articles/a-wartime-lifestyle.pdf

    Also see this article, "
    Who gives two cents for missions?
    We do, to our shame"

    https://world.wng.org/2005/10/who_gives_two_cents_for_missions

    And also see this::




     
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    If you saw ten people trying to lift a huge log and wanted to help them, and nine of the people were lifting at one end and one on the other, which end would you go to?
     
  9. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    If the ends of the logs were thousands of miles apart, I'd probably try to lift the end that was in the place where God had providentially placed me. As far as the statistics you posted, most churches are rather small and so these type of breakdowns cannot be avoided. In my church for example, our yearly income is around 90,000. Once we pay for our building, utilities, expenses, and my salary, how much do you suppose is left? Should we forego our building or pay me only a part time salary so that we can spend more on overseas missions? Or maybe we are doing exactly what we are called to do in reaching the unreached people group in our own backyard.
     
  10. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Bill,
    Foregoing a building or engaging in purposeful simplicity is a real possibility. I am supported by several groups that do just that (meet in homes, or rent a venue once a week, or double-up with another church to share the building, or use a very old and cheap wooden building).

    Because the needs in many unreached regions of the world are harder to reach, the intentionality and effort ought to be greater instead of lesser to reach them. We plan harder for a trip far away than we do a simple drive to the local store, after all. Therefore, missions ought to be more intentionally focused on unreached areas of the world so that these groups will, in fact, be reached.

    Out of sight, out of mind is a poor excuse when ignoring that part of Christ's commands about the uttermost part of the earth.

    If we were an army and knew that part of our job was to strike a blow faraway many thousands of miles, and that this would be a difficult task, wouldn't we budget and train our soldiers for it. If we know that our marching orders included all nations and the uttermost parts of the earth, then we wouldn't spend 90% of our budget on the bases back home or the peacetime housing.
     
  11. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Junior

    Of course, there are qualifiers and asterisks to a lot of the details, but the essence of the research in studies like those cited is valid.

    The longer we live in the Majority World, the more disturbed we are when we return to the US and see many (of course, not all) professing Christians living such comfortable - even lavish - lives. The same is true with many (again, not all) churches: I am not even comparing the expense of reaching the community vs. foreign missions, but I am comparing the new "coffee shop" or the new sound system or the new stadium seating (because the pews weren't comfy enough) or the new carpet, etc., etc. vs. fulfilling Christ's Commission to reach the nations with the gospel. Has the widow's mite simply become a cliche - or should that mindset govern our financial/stewardship perspective?

    While it may be less true of (some) Reformed congregations than of broadly evangelical ones, neither are immune to the appeal of seeking their "best life now" rather than living as strangers and pilgrims in this world with their vision fixated on the prize of eternal life. The purchase of every luxury sedan, every big screen TV, and even every trendy (but costly!) gift for a child needs to be weighed in light of eternity.

    This is not a call for monastic minimalism, but simply for an honest, biblical assessment of how and why we (as individuals and/or churches) allocate the monies with which God has blessed us. If you honestly, absolutely must spend 98 cents out of every dollar before looking to the Great Commission, so be it. Perhaps, though, a sincere, prayerful evaluation of priorities would reveal a way to spend two pennies per dollar less on other things, which would double your contribution!

    The need for gospel proclamation is great, to be sure, in many cities in the West. However, there are still vast spaces in the Majority World where the people have no idea about who Jesus really is, because they have never even heard of Him - or have never heard sound, biblical preaching about His person and work because it isn't available to them (unlike in the West, where the truth can be easily attained if the search is earnest and sincere). However much we give to meet that need, it is never enough.

    Even though there may be a Christian presence in these places, the men leading the church know little about the Bible - they preach, instead, a syncretistic, hybrid "message" that confuses more than it liberates. I have "pastors" in dozens of nations crying out to learn more about God's Word, but lack of funding forces me to tell them, "Not yet." Where should that be on the Western church's priority list? Where should it be relative to that new sound system? Are we really content with what we allocate - as individuals and as churches - to reaching these people?
     
  12. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm sympathetic to some of your frustrations and I have the same, but I think you are, to some extent, missing your own point. When you correctly describe much of "evangelicalism" as engaging in a "best life now" style of living, you are implying that most of Christianity in the West also is dominated by a "syncretistic, hybrid message that confuses more than it liberates." In other words, if you look beyond the self-reporting surveys and gaudy conferences and crystal cathedrals, America is little better off than the third world--it's just that its dominant syncretism is of a different sort.

    As confessionally Reformed Christians, our duty is to our own church and to the faith once delivered to the saints as summarized in our churchly confessions. Most confessional churches I know have a single "staff" member (the pastor), many don't have a building of their own unless they inherited it from decades past, and many struggle just to meet those meager financial responsibilities. My previous church was in the 4th largest city in the country and often required denominational support to meet its budget despite renting a facility under a very favorable lease and having a single pastor. I now live in a city of over a million with only two or three churches that would identify as being "Reformed" and yet are all far towards the "missional" end of the spectrum of confessional fidelity. Reformed church plants in the US fail frequently for lack of funding. Confessional seminaries are often underfunded. I'm moving in a year or so and as I've looked at potential locations I've been shocked with how much of the country I have to rule out for lack of a confessionally Reformed church for my family. And while we often focus on that 10/40 window for missions, it can be harder to find a confessional church in Europe than it is in some parts of that region.

    Generic evangelical megachurches will answer for their financial stewardship, but as a Reformed Christian, America looks to me like Pergamum's 9 person side of the log has one Reformed minister trying to lift it and 8 other people sitting on top of it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  13. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    If the support isn't there for a work, one probably should evaluate whether the Lord is really calling one to that work, or whether it is where the missionary wants to work.

    I dare say that a handful of churches with nice carpet and good sound systems probably give more to world missions than do some entire TR denominations.

    While small may be considered a virtue by many here, the fact is that a healthy, wealthy church is going to have a lot more resources free for foreign missions than will a couple of dozen folks meeting in a living room. I don't begrudge folks that can make a six figure contribution a cup of coffee on Sunday morning.

    I would posit under your model, giving for missions would drop, not increase.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  14. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    At the end of the day, we all need to abide in Jesus, pray for the advance of the gospel, and serve Him in the local place where he calls us. It's easy to forget about missions; but it's just as easy to make an idol of missions. Also, giving isn't the only way to participate. We can pray for the nations too. But we all need to examine our own hearts. Maybe we're becoming puffed up and proud, Pharisee-like in our insistence of living "radical" Christian lives and going to unreached people groups (Not saying anyone is). May God humble us. Or maybe we're becoming apathetic to the "unreached" (Not saying anyone is). May God prick us. Here's one for you: I'm living the "missions dream", serving the Lord among unreached peoples in Asia--and yet--and yet--I still find my own heart cold and apathetic. I think there's plenty of room for repentance for all of us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  15. YRRSBCGuy

    YRRSBCGuy Puritan Board Freshman

    On a side note, I'm pretty sure there were pastors from the 10/40 window present at T4G last year. Matt Chandler introduced a Syrian pastor (associated with A29) during one of the breakout sessions, and encouraged us to pray for his safety. I may be mistaken, but I think there was a special discount for overseas missionaries/pastors.
     
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