How should a biblical understanding of conversion impact our evangelism?

9Marks

How should a biblical understanding of conversion impact our evangelism? A biblical understanding of conversion should lead us to:

What are some relevant factors in thinking about a church missions budget?

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The Bible teaches that our love for the gospel is verified in part by our love for supporting gospel work beyond the sphere of our own church (see 3 John). Therefore, we should discipline ourselves to give faithfully to advance gospel work beyond our local church. With that in mind, here are a few ideas that might be worth considering.

How should churches get involved with and think about short-term mission trips?

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Churches should view short-term mission trips as an opportunity to serve workers they support. This means that churches should begin by asking whether or not the missionaries want them to come on a short-term trip. Next, churches should ask the missionaries how they can best serve them, and then be willing to do whatever they ask, even if it’s a week of childcare so that the workers can train or plan together.

Should a church equally support all church members who desire to do foreign missions?

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Churches have limited resources. This means that churches will have to make tough decisions about who to support, and how much. To help think through those tough decisions, here are some factors to consider:

What are some recommended resources on missions? And not recommended?

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 Here are three of our favorite introductions to the topic of missions:

How can foreign missionaries best serve countries that already have an established Christian church?

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Learn the local culture. The apostle Paul adapted his lifestyle to non-Jews (and Jews!) he evangelized (see 1 Cor. 9:21). This means that he paid enough attention to notice how their culture differed from his. So, rather than hopping off the airplane and beginning to correct everything, a missionary should ask questions about the worldview, presuppositions, and customs of the people to whom they are trying to minister.

What are some ways businesspeople can get into missions?

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Businesspeople can be consultants for a business project that is serving as a missions platform. Many church planters in restricted areas use business as a means of gaining and maintaining access to such countries. Businesspeople can be consultants for such projects without ever having to leave their homes. And, with the relationships and knowledge they develop through consulting, businesspeople can engage in the mission work in a variety of other, more direct ways, such as short-term trips that combine evangelism and consulting.

How should individual Christians partner with their local churches for missions?

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Become a member of a local church. Get to know the leaders of that local church. Make your desires known to those leaders. Invite them to evaluate your fitness for the work you desire to do based on your existing track record in ministry. Get to know the church’s overall vision for missions. Find out if there is any way for you to be directly involved with mission work the church is already supporting or is planning to begin.

What are some tips for churches to best support overseas missionaries?

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Communicate often and openly. Expect misunderstandings, and try to ward them off by communicating freely and frequently. Seek to build a close, trusting relationship with every worker you support. Invest in the missionaries, not just in their work. Agree upon goals for the relationship as well as for the ministry. Be explicit about your side’s goals. No hidden agendas. Talk openly about money and hold one another accountable as stewards of God’s resources.

How much theological agreement is necessary in a partnership between a local church and a foreign missionary?

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It depends. The answer to that question depends on what a church and a missionary are partnering to do. For instance, partnering together to distribute copies of the Bible or to make an audio recording of the Scriptures in another language requires less theological like-mindedness than partnering together to plant churches.

What’s important for establishing a good partnership between a church and a foreign missionary?

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Theological agreement. A local church and a foreign missionary must share a rock-solid foundation of theological agreement.

Is it a lie to tell a government hostile to Christianity some but not all of your reasons for entering their country?

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An increasing number of missionaries use legitimate secular employment to gain access to restricted access countries. Some Christians may wonder if it’s a lie to include only their secular employment in official paperwork, even though their primary motivation for going to the country is to share the gospel.

We believe that it’s morally legitimate—it’s not lying—to list only one’s secular employment. Here are three reasons:

Why is pragmatism in missions particularly harmful?

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Pragmatism is the attitude that “results”—specifically, numbers of conversions—matters most in ministry. This attitude is particularly harmful in missions because

What are some common mistakes Christians make when thinking about missions strategy?

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How should Christians evaluate different missionary methods?

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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?