Into All The World: Volume 1, Issue 12

Brain Boxes, Mission’s Money & the Increase of Islam

By Terry Childers, African Director

Photo of Terry ChildersRecently I was part of a conversation where the question was raised, “What if the American economy actually collapsed; what might happen to the many foreign mission-works which are heavily dependent upon finances from the U.S.A.?”

Please don’t dismiss the necessity of considering such what-if-scenarios. It is a fact that governments and businesses put serious effort into considering possible what-if-scenarios; their goal is to preempt enemy forces from gaining strategic advantage. Way back in 1831 the first think tank was formed (originally called a brain-box) for the purpose of forecasting the possibility of extreme situations, and/or worst-case scenarios that, should they occur, they would give advantage to the enemy and result in a serious shift in the balance of power.

Missionary Highlight
Shane and Kathy Rice

Shane Rice

Shane and Kathy Rice

Please pray for Shane and Kathy Rice and their work in Cajamarca, Peru. The Rices have just returned to Peru after their furlough.

According to the CIA World Factbook only 12.5% of the more than 29.5 million Peruvians are Evangelical. Over 80% of the population is steeped in Catholicism.

There is a significant evangelical church planting movement taking place in parts of Peru, but not much is taking place in the Andes Mountains.

The Rices are working with the campesinos or country folk that live and work around Cajamarca. Hardly any Gospel preaching or church planting activities are taking place in this region. Brother Shane is planning to begin an evangelistic tent ministry to reach the people and plant churches in these outlying rural mountain areas.

The Rices have just been given a huge tent. Pray that it gets shipped safely to Peru. Pray also for their transition back into the Peruvian culture and into their ministry.

Missionary Humor

Have you heard about the missionary who gave some cannibals their first taste of religion?

Missionary Quote

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time” – Carl F. H. Henry

If there happens to be a Baptist mission brain-box out there, I hereby submit the aforementioned question for your consideration. Prudence suggests that we should give forethought to such an extreme possibility, especially since believers in the United States send multiple millions of dollars to foreign nationals every year. If circumstances would change so dramatically that the life-support systems get unplugged, will the supported be able to survive?

We confidently declare, “Of course! They will survive so long as they are rooted and grounded in the Truth of God’s Word.” To which I personally say, “Amen!” Obviously though, one who is rooted and grounded in truth is much more mature than the one who merely claims the name of Christ. To better understand this issue, imagine a thirty year old church, in Africa for example, that still depends on foreign funding in order to sustain their ministry and / or their pastor’s income is largely from outside donors; can we really be confident that they are rooted and ground in Truth? Does not the presence of the seemingly ever-increasing need for foreign nationals to be supported by American funding actually indicate that our approach is flawed? Is it time to review our ever-rising support of such things? I suppose it is like the man who finally realizes that he is spending $250 every month on car repairs-maybe he should consider a newer vehicle rather than continuing to fund the old problematic one.

The previous paragraph in fact directly relates back to the opening question regarding the what-if-scenario-if the American economy collapsed-how it would affect missions. Certainly, unimaginable hardships would result that could seriously affect the current state of religious affiliation. Here is what I mean:

  • Imagine a time when the vast majority of American support is unplugged from, say, the Christian majority (statistically) of sub-Sahara Africa; the situation becomes so severe that even American missionaries are forced to leave.
  • Imagine then how thousands of churches and their pastors would suddenly have no means of financial sustainability. Hopefully some of them would learn to walk with God and depend fully upon Him. But probably, for many of them, they would begin to look elsewhere for well-moneyed people.
  • Now, imagine a new wave of missionaries arriving among these whom Christianity seems to have forsaken. It is probably not so important that the new missionaries are from the Middle East; what is significant is that they offer access to the multi-billion dollar resources of oil-rich Islamic nations.
  • Would we see mass conversions to Islam? Entire villages? Whole provinces? Does it actually even matter?
  • Is it something for us to consider in our methodology and philosophy? I say, Yes.

In closing, I want it to be clear that my intent is not to be unkind, divisive or accusatory. We say amen to the good reports we hear from some regions of the world of many conversions to Christ, but it is imperative that we lead them systematically to become disciples of Jesus Christ. That is more than just teaching them the cardinal doctrines and buzz-words. It also includes mentoring them into full obedience to the Lordship of Christ, including the precious little material goods they might have. It has nothing to do with the fact of their having so little in the way of their own resources; it has everything to do with this truth: that every believer has Christ and all that Christ has is at our access, I Cor. 3:21-23.

As the current generation of missionary servants, we must allow the Spirit of God to guide us into mentoring people who are rooted and grounded in the True Vine, and will remain true to Him regardless of what does or does not come their way.

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