How should Christians evaluate different missionary methods?
- A popular but misguided method of evaluation: evaluate short-term results, such as the number of people making professions of faith in Christ. What’s wrong about this? Jesus teaches that, when we faithfully sow the seed of the word, many will make professions, but not all professions will endure (see Matt. 13:1-23). So why evaluate a method’s “success” by something as ultimately unreliable as professions of faith?
- The only truly reliable method of evaluation: evaluate a method according to its conformity to God’s Word. Ask questions like:
- Does this method faithfully convey the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), or does it round off the sharp edges?
- Does it present the cost of discipleship, or does it rush people into choosing Christ without calling them to take up their cross and follow him?
- Does it aim to establish local churches that practice the ordinances and have biblical leadership, or does it ignore the Bible’s teaching about the church?
- Does it clearly differentiate between the gospel and every other religion and worldview, or does it minimize those differences in order to appeal to common ground?