Sunday, September 27, 2009

Challenging Response Regard Mission

On Saturday July 25th I posted a blog on Mission to the third world.
The opening paragraph was....
"A question to ponder: In the light of the growth of Christianity in the ‘Third World’ or ‘Majority World,’ how should Australian churches seek to partner or collaborate with third world churches?"

I recently received a wonderful response to this blog from Peter Simmons of Graceworks is a challenging read that I thought would be a blessing for others to is Peter's response.

I was interested in this blog.
My comments are greatly influenced through a somewhat narrow window of Burma.
This will be reflected by issues related to that Nation which are not generic to other fields.
The title is interesting “Mission to The Third World”

Your comments relate only to partnering with third world Churches.
True missionaries open new fields and bring the Gospel to the Unchurched.
Adoniriam Judson pioneered the Gospel in Burma.
I am not sure how Mission work relates to partnering with Churches.
Currently we are reaching into an area in Northern Burma to a group of people called the Lasoo tribe.
They have no language, no land and have never seen white people. They are an unreached people group.
That is what I understand true Mission work to be.

When “mission teams” come to Burma and visit Churches and Bible schools they do great work and supplement
the teaching etc.
But that is not Mission work.
You have listed three specific ways Australian Christians can partner.

Firstly finance.
Finance is the last consideration. They need your finance.
However the great deception among many Christians is that if they give money it will resolve them of their responsibility to do anything else. Particularly the sacrificial aspect of giving of time to GO.
I have challenged many to not give me money but rather invest it in a trip.
The fruit of going cannot be measured. The testimonies are incredible.
I have people who have now been 5 and up to 10 times.
The poorest of our people in Burma have told me many times that the relationships they have now with our people
is the greatest gift we could ever give them.
The western culture is so shaped by the thinking that we need money to fix the problems we encounter.
Sadly I have seen first hand Churches going into Burma with thousands of dollars and then watched as it has been wasted, lost and caused terrible problems.

When Jesus saw the lost he was “moved with compassion”.
His heart broke over the poor. The references of Jesus and the poor are numerous.

The point I make is this: when the culture of our Christianity meets the heart of Jesus people will give financially.
Our greatest givers are the ones who have seen and heard the cry of their poor brothers and sisters.
When we move from observation to relationship there is a spiritual anointing that falls.
The most significant change is what happens to us – not what we think we can achieve with our money.

Secondly: we can provide training etc.

It is a subjective argument as to what a “successful church” means.
For example how many miracles did we see this week?
Have you ever seen prison doors opened because of a Church praying?
Have you ever been in praise and worship for 5 hours and no-one leave ?
The HS so powerful that you are paralyzed and cannot move?
There are no multiple services in Burma because the anointing is so powerful that people refuse to leave and will stay all day.
I have never seen it in Melb but I have in Burma.
I truly believe that the third world Churches can teach us as much as we can teach them particularly about the HS.
There is much in the practical Church life that we are much better equipped such as life skills.
One of the traps Western Churches fall into is to think they have what the Third world needs to grow in God.

Mother Teresa said “only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them”.

Thirdly: we can provide manpower.

Totally agree with your comments here. This is where we can provide the practical aspect of the Gospel.
We now have computer trainers, builders, sewing ladies, teachers, farmers all serving in Burma on short term trips.
Its not just the Churches that can provide manpower.
What about non Christians – why can’t they go?
Mission trips are the greatest tool of Evangelism I have ever seen. We now have 5 people, born again and walking with Jesus who would have never gone to church in Australia but got saved on our trips.
They now attend Church regularly back in their home towns. They are also our best fundraisers.

It is interesting to check how many Churches open their trips to non Christians.

So here are my three points:
First – a heart of compassion
Second – a heart of compassion
Third – a heart of compassion

Only when our hearts break over the same things that Jesus wept over will we be effective in Missions.

“Poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness” - Mother Teresa

1 comment:

  1. Peter. Just finished reading your post. V good thoughts. As a missionary in Asia (Burma) for 5+ years and also all my travels to most other nations in Asia over the last 6 years, I have seen my share of the starving and destitute. As you well know the heart of Christ is beating with an intense love for the weak and the poor. Not just materially, but an even greater poverty afflicts the planet. That of spiritual poverty. The unique mission of the missionary is that of spiritual and where possible physical reformation. Conditions must change spiritually and physically for the poor.

    The Gospel does not merely focus on "saying a sinners prayer", but on total life transformation. It starts with the God relationship and it must spill over into all our earthly existance. As I will be in Nepal next week for minisitry I realise that again, it is one of the poorest nations in Asia - spiritually and materially. Lord allow the Gospel to change lives all over the nation.

    I am also reminded of the heart of Judson and his wife. When Judson was courting Anne he wrote a letter to her father. In it he asked if she would be willing to give her life for the sake of mission and lost souls in Asia. She was willing and did give her life in Burma. Reformation and authentic revival will always require a price. Unless a grain falls to the ground and dies it will produce no lasting fruit. It does not mean we will all die for our faith. But it does mean we shall all be willing to suffer for the cause of the gospel among the nations.

    I think that is the paradoxical joy of our faith. This is the heart of the amazing grace that has rescued us and reaches out to the poor (and rich) across the nations. Our message is indeed revolutionary, reformational, yet full of compassionate love on fire.

    So to us all involved in the Kingdom: go into the world and preach...

    Bless ya