“Church, stop sending people who don’t know their God, don’t know their message, and don’t know what it is like to submit to authority. Please, for the sake of God’s glory, stop.”
Steve Jennings, pastor of Immanuel Church of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, in his impassioned plea to the church, describes one of the foundation issues that has lead to our biggest problems in missions today i.e. we are sending people to minister to people abroad who do not have the spiritual maturity or theological training needed to be successful. And rather than helping the ministries of the church abroad, far too often these missionaries are damaging those ministries. Steve asks us (the churches that are sending missionaries) some very good questions, questions that we really need to grapple with before we send another missionary abroad or spend another dollar on missions.
Why would you send someone to plant churches abroad who you would never hire as a pastor or nominate as a lay elder?
Why does it seem that “passion” rather than proven faithfulness is the main criterion for sending men and women to support those church planters?
Why on earth is the bar set lower for the frontlines than it is for the local church?
These are questions we really need to begin asking before we send another missionary or invest another dollar in foreign missions. If we fail to ask these kinds of questions, they may never get answered because too many of our sending organizations stopped asking these kinds of questions long, long, ago, and the resulting damage done by missionaries and bible “translators” is heart breaking. While the concerns raised in this article are concerns I have heard echoed many times by leaders of churches abroad, these are seldom concerns I hear from the organizations that are sending missionaries. This is not the first time I have heard those in church abroad plead with those sending missionaries to STOP what they are doing and work with the local churches rather than against them. In Bangladesh the local church has tried for decades to stop our western missionaries from undermining their work with unbiblical practices, but to no avail. This video describes the same dilemma that has been described by Steve, in this video a couple of Bangladeshi pastors tell us as they describe the problems they are facing because of missionaries sent from the west that:
“I must say that, yes, this is coming from outside from western countries…”
“It is a shame actually, we don’t know how to stop it. The Isai group (converts from a Muslim Background) they are also against that (practices of our western missionaries), and the traditional people (those from a Christian background), they are also against that, but we don’t know who to stop it.”
Please read and consider Steve’s plea to the church, and this video from our Bangladeshi brothers in Christ, and so many other brothers and sisters in Christ that have found themselves powerless to stop the damage being done by the missionaries we are sending.