Dear Friends, I'm sitting in a motel room here in Harlingen, Texas (way down on the border of Mexico, near Brownsville), typing away to meet a printing deadline in two hours. (Tomorrow I catch a plane which will connect with others to go clear across the Pacific to the Philippines for the great “Lausanne II” Congress.)What am I doing here in Texas? It is the 60th Convention of the International Society of Christian Endeavor. Delegates are here from Mexico, Canada, and many parts of the United States. More on this amazing movement on page 8.
As I talk to these people in my seminar each day (I was the main speaker Tuesday night, July 4th), I am again surprised at how many are unaware of the global scope of the Christian movement today. I want to list for you, too, what I mean. See across the page…
But, it may seem contradictory or even ridiculous that we would be listing some of the positive signs in the world when at the same time our flagship periodical, Mission Frontiers, is faltering in its monthly schedule! (You may feel that the Global Prayer Digest is our flagship periodical. At least we’re not behind on that.)
All I can say is that both the positive and the negative reports are true! Perhaps it is because of all the excitement around the world that nearly 200 of our mainly younger staff members have been irresistibly attracted to the ends of the earth.
We certainly do pray for them and for their work, and we see them off with our enthusiastic blessing, and we try to keep track of them as they go out under many different organizations. But we have to be even more enthusiastic about those who have the vision to stay behind and help us mobilize (both on a national and a world level).
Meanwhile, since “excitement” is always more attractive than the behind-the-scenes work we are doing, the exodus of workers means that we are so short-handed that many of our key ministries are crippled. You will note down below on this page that Mission Frontiers is no longer “published monthly” but “from 6 to 12 times a year.” You can't make bricks without straw!
Say, is your church partly at fault? Many of our young people are getting letters that say, in effect, “We who are supporting you here at XXXX church are getting tired of hearing your excuses for not going overseas. We are going to stop supporting you if you don't get over there and start being a real missionary, reaching the unreached, suffering from the heat and things…”
This is a common mindset. Missions is perceived by many not so much as a CAUSE to die for, and work for, “wherever, whenever and whatever” is required; it is thought of as a CAREER, a stereotyped career, which is supposed to bring back to supporting churches a bit of exotic entertainment from the “mission field.”
I truly feel sorry for churches which do not have “their own missionaries” overseas in all parts of the world. But any one of our staff members in Pasadena, or in a regional office, can get excitement to you from more than one part of the world, and through such “behind-the- scenes missionaries” you can see “the overall picture” as well!
If you would like yourself to come and work here (like the one-day-a-week man who owns two Christian bookstores in Lancaster, California), or to help one of our regular staff members (who is trying to stay with us but is financially pressured to “go to the field” in order to get enough support), drop me a line, or call our 24-hour Prayer Room (818-797-1111) and I'll call you back. I promise. This is serious!