We are in the beginnings of the planning phase for this year's short term outreaches and looking forward to taking more people into the harvest field.  We appreciate the opportunities the Lord is giving us around the world and continually keep our eyes fixed on moving forward with what He is doing in the nations.  Our recent monthly article (click here) serves to bring our attention back to the importance of being a blessing in the nations.  All too often as we travel we see the long-term consequences of those who attempted to be a blessing, but did not think through those long-term consequences.  Glenn Schwartz does a wonderful job in helping us to see these things and this is why we appreciate his insight so greatly.  His experiences in Africa for 30+ years have helped us to think clearly about what impact we are having.  Is our impact necessary?  Is it biblical?  Are we doing so in a way in which joins God in what he is doing, rather than asking him to bless our ill thought out plans which produce barriers for men and women coming into the kingdom? 

This of course always brings us back to the mission of the church.  THE mission of the church is to make disciples, baptize them and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded (Mat 28:18).  This is not synonymous with our western view of missions, "When all else fails just throw money to help the poor people."  God has blessed us immensely in the West in comparison to the rest of the world.  We need to step back for a second and think through our actions though rather than spending money like a child in a candy store.  Yes, believe me, candy stores are FUN, but they sometimes cause cavities.  Our God has not called us to an immature faith that causes harm, as Glenn Schwartz puts it.  Our gospel is a gospel of freedom.  Our God is a god of love and compassion, wisdom and blessing. He is endeavouring to lift people up out of despair and give them new life in Christ.  He is also working to bring people into his kingdom, while all too often in missions we are building stumbling blocks for local peoples, at least the ones who are not willing to sell out to their culture to be molded  into another which is extra-biblical. 

Glenn Schwartz gives us very clear examples in this article on how we create barriers.   How would you feel if some organization created in your hometown undermined your ability to provide for your family and then claimed to be the place where you could come know the one true God.  I would definitely question the character and motive of that god.  This is why in missions we need to think very clearly about what it is we should be doing in the nations.  Our model for the church is the book of Acts.  Our mission is strikingly clear, and strikingly simple.  Make disciples and teach them.  Adding money to this equation is adding something we do not see in scripture. 

As we travel we represent God in the nations.  We are walking out the mission (Mathew 28) he has given to us.  We ought to do it well and in a way which draws people to himself rather than creating barriers.  In order to keep ourselves from creating barriers we often need to slow down, think through our actions, and get around people with greater insight into these issues to address holes in our own thinking.  I encourage you to read the article this month and keep coming back for other articles to help shape your view of missions and what God is doing in the nations.  We believe the Lord has positioned us to be a blessing to you as you reach out to the nations.  We'd love to hear from you!

"Oh, that I had a thousand lives, and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals."
- Robert Moffat
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