Our Missionary Principles and Practices
Every worker must stand unwavering for the great fundamentals of “the Faith” (Jude 1:3) No one in doubt about the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His vicarious death, salvation by faith, the need of regeneration, the inspiration of the Bible, the bodily resurrection of Christ and His pre-millennial coming, etc. To doubt or support any other is nothing short of tragedy. A House divided against itself cannot stand. We must see that our money end efforts are not used to help the enemies of the gospel.
We are to evangelize the world. To Christianize the nations in this dispensation is impossible, since it is not God’s plan. Our business is to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the taking out of “a people for His Name”. We are not to major on hospitals or give ourselves over to medical work. We are not to erect schools and colleges and spend our time educating the heathen. We are not to give ourselves, primarily, to the social, political and industrial betterment of those who have no interest in our Christ.
We are not to introduce our western civilization in an effort to change the manners and customs of the people to a western standard.
We can relieve simple ailments as we go about our work, in clinics but only to get a hearing for the gospel. (Must be taken en done with great care)
We may teach both Christians and seekers to read and write so that they may be able to study the Bible. We will not forget the children, BUT WE WILL NOT PUT THESE THINGS FIRST.
Our work is to preach the gospel and we must not be side tracked. Institutional work put the cart before the horse. The Gospel must go first. Raw savages can be saved. Ignorant heathen can be transformed into saints. The by-products will all follow in due time, as needed.
Let us put our money into the souls of men, and our investment will stand forever.
Think of Africans or a Chinese becoming our pastors. How long before we would rebel? But, how dare we localize our work! The vision of the whole field, the whole world must ever be kept in view. As soon as converts have been won and a church formed, elders should be appointed to act as overseers of the flock, and the missionary must pass on, following the example of Paul, to un-evangelized fields.
We can never send out sufficient numbers of foreign workers to occupy every village, town or city throughout the world. We can with a few missionaries, train enough native workers to evangelize every nation. That was the policy of Jesus. He trained the twelve, then the seventy and sent them forth. Let us follow His example. Let every one of our missionaries choose and train his twelve and his seventy. The best way is by establishing temporary training camps, or by bringing them to a centrally located location for short but intensive terms of study.
The work should be self supporting, self governing and self propagating from the start. No one can be healthy and strong while leaning on another – the habit once started is hard to break. Churches have become weak and slothful rather than aggressive and powerful as a result of foreign support. The vision of evangelism and its responsibility has been lost, and the outcome, in many cases, has been most disastrous.
On the other hand we must recognize “Paul’s company” the group of native evangelists, trained (FAT) men, who need help in opening new territory. So long as they are doing pioneer work in unoccupied areas, and continually moving about, they are entitled to support, at least until the churches founded are strong enough to shoulder the burden.
That was Paul’s method. He seldom went to the village: he went to the city. He never sought the back street; he sought the well known centrally located synagogue. He struck for the market place where everybody congregated. Within a few days or hours at the most, he had everyone talking. He planted the gospel first of all in Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, and Rome, all great world centres. From these large cities it was sounded out to the entire region round about.
If we want to bring the King back, if we want to hasten His coming, we must take the gospel to the last tribe, the last people, the last nation. We must go to “the regions beyond” to the places where Christ has “not been named.” That too was always Paul’s method. He did not enjoy building on another man’s foundation. The place of greatest need is always God’s place of greatest opportunity. Jesus never forgot the “other towns” and the “other sheep.”
Information results in inspiration. To withhold information regarding either work or the needs is to deny God’s people the spiritual blessing that would otherwise be theirs. Moreover, untold thousands will never even hear of the existence of many splendid efforts, unless the work is being made known more widely. To ask a new candidate to secure hundreds of currency for transportation, equipment and support, and then forbid him to make it known, is simply absurd. But besides making the work and the needs known, we must tell God. Prayer and missions go hand in hand. The greatest of all help in missionary work is that of intercession. We must advance on our knees. God has promised to answer prayer, and if He does not, if we are forced to send short allowances, we should check up at once. Unless our policy works, it is useless. If we are going to trust God, we must really trust Him. He is able to move in the hearts of His people in answer to the prayer of faith and cause them to act on the information given, and contribute to the work.
“Owe no man anything,” is His Word. To disobey is to cause disaster. We have no right to go forward until God supplies the funds. Let us get our prayers answered for the amount needed first, instead of forging ahead, and then looking for the money that does not come in. If God can provide for our needs after, He can just as easily do so before unless He specific guides to trust Him to still continue, knowing absolute He guides you so. George Mueller spends only what God gave him. He prayed first for the money needed and waited for god to answer that prayer before going ahead. That is always safe procedure. We have no right to bring upon yourself debts for others to pay. Let us get out and keep out. Debt is a disgrace. It is dishonouring to God.
The best plan is to share and share alike, that is if we have faith enough to keep the pot full; then there will be sufficient for all. It is dangerous to pay big salaries. Most so called faith missions set aside just sufficient to meet the cost of living, and that is a wise plan. It does not put the missionary too high above the native. It does not overburden the church at home. It honours God. Too much equipment is a hindrance rather than a blessing.
One of the greatest criticisms of missionary work today is provoked by the amount used for home expenses. I advise every contributor to find out just what portion of his money actually gets to the field, and how much is used for the overhead. Surely fifteen percent should be sufficient to take care of the needs at home, and even that should be so designated. The work outside need the support, otherwise it will suffer by high overheads. If money is given for the foreign fields or the work, to the field it should go!
These are the principles and practices that should govern any missionary work. To ignore them is to invite disaster. To apply them is to experience the blessing of God.
* There are principles not stated here that must be noticed, guarding this point.
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