IS THERE REALLY STILL A NEED TO SEND MISSIONARIES?
Never before has the UK church sent so few missionaries abroad – our top mission priority is to urgently address this imbalance – Discuss!
There is danger for some that bad experiences of sending missionaries can subtly influence the whole question of whether or not to send missionaries in future. There are also thoughts that there is greater need at home and the world is coming to us anyway.
The most important questions we can answer are: “Is there a need? Are there people who have yet to hear the Gospel? Does the local church, if any, need help?” If the answer to all these questions is yes then there is a need for missionaries.
Joshua 1:12-15 “But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: ‘The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.’ Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”
As the American baseball player Yogi Berra put it “It ain’t over until it’s over!” Our inheritance is secure; we must contend alongside our brothers and sisters until the battle is over.
Why Central Asia?
Central Asia is that bit of the map that nobody can quite name. They consider themselves neither European nor Asian. Broadly Islamic states often run by neo-community regimes is a complicated part of the world.
The headline figures of half a billion people, less than half of one percent of whom are Bible-believing Christians speaks for itself. This is among the least reached regions of the world. In fact it is considered unreached, meaning that humanly speaking the church is too small to have a significant impact on reaching its own people. Turkey in the West of the region is the least reached country in the world!
Whilst the politicians try in vain to solve the problems in this region, we know that only the gospel will make a lasting difference.
Surely it’s more (cost) effective to sponsor local workers?
We’re not about to pick a fight with the people for whom this is major part of their work, but…
In the nearly forty years that we have worked in this Central Asia we haven’t seen that sponsoring local workers works very well. It can work where there is local independent accountability and support but even that can cause problems. We and others have made mistakes in this area over the years and seen the long-lasting impact this can have on the church that we’re reluctant to repeat.
Of course the elephant in the room is that it costs a lot of money to send missionaries overseas. It does. The cost of sending a family of four overseas is roughly the same as the total cost of having a pastor on the church payroll. Both are an investment in the gospel.
Who is People International?
People International has been about for nearly 40 years and one of the ‘better kept secrets’ in the missions community. We’re an international, non-denominational organisation, founded in the UK, working out of eight countries across the world who exist to: “Unveil God’s Glory to Central Asian Muslims by Establishing and Enabling His Church.”
We work in some of the world’s more challenging countries so we don’t publish a list of the churches that send workers with us or talk about our workers in public. If it’s helpful we can tell you who else trusts us with their people and part of their missions budget.