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Stories & Blog

The Challenge of Sending

The Challenge of Sending

Read the series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

It’s not a given that all Bible-believing churches embrace the value and necessity of sending long-term workers cross-culturally to the unreached peoples of the world. Some churches, in reaction to the errors of the past or the present high cost of sending, believe we do better to simply fund non-Western nationals to accomplish Jesus’ mandate. While we dare not minimize the necessity of engaging the 
global church in our missional efforts, I do not believe that means we stop sending our own.
Many churches still believe that sending workers cross-culturally is a biblical imperative for the church everywhere until Jesus comes — which, of course, includes the Western church. Several interrelated issues, however, dominate the church landscape regarding the challenges of sending.
Funding | The issue is not primarily that it costs too much to send. Rather the issue, I believe, is priorities, driven by vision. A compelling vision attracts followers and resources. Where churches are healthy and growing, money is usually not lacking, as evidenced by church building expansion. To what extent do church leaders cast a vision of the global necessity of sending workers (both vocational and marketplace ministry workers), and not just building the fortress at home?
How and where to invest | The older “pay and pray” paradigm usually saw workers supported by many churches at relatively low amounts with little relationship. Churches today typically invest only in those with whom they have cultivated relationship. Consequently, the sending church must have a higher level of investment in those they send, because workers are supported by fewer churches. But this has positive ramifications: Discipleship, care, and accountability are much higher in relationship-based sending, and there is potential for greater financial and personal ownership by the whole church when they send one of their own whom they know and respect.
Where to invest strategically involves the calling of the worker and God’ guidance in the church. Just as Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, so also the church should seek God at work in their midst — in people and relationships — and follow His lead.
Church-wide involvement | The extent to which a church embraces Jesus’ global mandate largely depends upon the vision that is cast by its leaders. It is then the church’s task to leverage their resources, abilities and professional skills to accomplish the church’s vision for praying, sending and going.
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