This is an article from the May-June 2012 issue: Celebrating 200 Years of Mission Society Sending

Learn from Our Mistakes

Learn from Our Mistakes

In 1973, a third of a century ago, David Cho, Ph.D., invited several of us from the West to a meeting in Seoul, Korea, which preceded the formation of the Asia Missions Association. On that occasion I presented a paper urging Asian mission leaders not to make the same mistake as Western leaders had made when the Foreign Mission Conference of North America shortly after 1900 had insisted that in God’s Kingdom only denominational mission boards were legitimate. My paper was entitled, “The Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission,” which spoke favorably of both “modalities” and “sodalities.” By now, of course, there are many American as well as Asian structures that are interdenominational.

Later, I often pointed out in my classroom teaching the shocking failure of the Western missions to understand the possibility and importance of non-Western believers to form their own mission agencies. By now, of course, non-Western agencies are very numerous and enthusiastic.

It would seem clear that Asian mission leaders (and others) have potentially a great advantage in being able to learn from the mistakes of Western agencies. If not, Asian mission leaders face the danger of making some of the same mistakes. One problem is that Western leaders may not know what their mistakes are, and thus cannot warn Asian leaders of what Western leaders did wrong. 
It is also true that not all Westerners agree about the various issues in missiology. Thus, the twelve “mistakes” of Western churches and agencies, as described below, must be understood to be merely my own best understanding. Note that they are not problems of the distant past. They are all contemporary problems. In any case, Asians (and others) will have to judge their validity.

The Mistake of Starting Bible Schools, Not Universities

The Student Volunteer Movement, in which John Mott was a leader, is noted for the number of universities that it established around the world. The missionaries who went to China made sure there was a university in every province of China. However, in later years Evangelicals, who had never been to college, went out across the world and established Bible schools, Bible institutes or theological schools that either replaced or ignored the university tradition. In the last 50 years the majority of American mission agencies have not founded a single university.

The curious thing is that, even though Western missionaries cannot be given credit (except in the earlier period) for establishing universities, the hundreds of thousands of national leaders who have been a product of Western mission agencies have been able to see what the missionaries could not see. They have recognized the great influence of the university pattern. As a result they have taken the initiative to found over 40 universities in the last 40 years. I myself was, somewhat accidentally, part of the founding of an evangelical university in Guatemala, which now after 40 years has 37,000 students. No missionary can be given any credit for the founding of this university. In my case I merely stood up for a photograph of the founding board of directors two weeks before leaving the country to be a professor at Fuller Seminary.

Why is it that missionaries have not realized that Bible schools, no matter how high the quality of instruction and curricula, simply do not represent the global mainstream of the university pattern? In the last 100 years in the United States 157 Bible institutes eventually, after sixty or seventy years, have converted over to colleges and universities. Why haven’t missionaries applied the same practical wisdom in their work overseas? This has been a serious strategic mistake. We can at least be glad that national leaders have taken the initiative to found universities without the help of Western missionaries.

The Mistake of Only “Salvation in Heaven,” not “Kingdom on Earth”

Earlier missionaries again were wiser than those in recent times. They realized that (as we see in the Lord’s Prayer), Jesus told us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth. Yet we have mainly helped people escape this world. Unlike the 19th century, many missionaries in the 20th century, who have not been influential in the upper levels of society, have been content to talk about getting people into heaven but have no longer been concerned for transformation in this life. They have done many good things on the micro level of society—hospitals, clinics, schools, vocational training, agricultural developments—they even pioneered insights into leprosy and essentially conquered that malady. But there were many things on the macro level of society they couldn’t do without greater social influence, such as stamping out Guinea Worm or malaria. Today, however, when Evangelicals have far greater influence than ever before, they are often asleep to the opportunities for transformation on the macro levels of society.

The Mistake of Congregations Sending Missionaries, Not Using Mission Agencies

Today many congregations are large enough and strong enough to feel that they don’t need a mission agency through which to send their missionaries. This is a new and widespread phenomenon which ignores the great value of the veteran mission agencies which can draw upon the insights of missiology and the vast field experience which are lacking in the average congregation. It may be true that some mission agencies are more experienced and wiser than others, but to my knowledge there is no example of a local congregation bypassing mission agencies with any great success.

The Mistake of Whole Congregations in Direct Involvement, Not Professional Missions

A more recent phenomenon (which is characteristic of whole congregations which are highly excited about missions) is the idea of every family in a congregation briefly becoming a missionary family. In this plan, during, say, a four-year period, the intention is for every family in the church to go overseas to work on some sort of two-week project. This is a marvelous idea for the education of people in the church about foreign lands. Yet, it is incredibly expensive and it is a very questionable contribution to the cause of missions.

The Mistake of Insisting that Devout Followers of Jesus Call Themselves “Christians” and Identify with the Western Church

Congregations may find it easy to believe that their people can win converts to Christianity in a ten-day short-term mission. But what very few congregations in America are prepared to understand is that dragging people out of their culture and converting them to what they think a “Christian” should look like is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible talks of our conveying a treasure in earthen vessels. The earthen vessels are not the important thing, but the treasure is. The new vessel will be another very different earthen vessel. This is what happened when the faith of the Bible was first conveyed to Greeks. In that case the treasure of biblical faith in an earthen Jewish vessel became contained in a Greek earthen vessel. Later it went to Latin vessels and to Germanic vessels and to English vessels, and is now contained in Muslim vessels, Hindu vessels and Buddhist vessels.

It is just as unreasonable for a Hindu to be dragged completely out of his culture in the process of becoming a follower of Christ as it would have been if Paul the Apostle had insisted that a Greek become a Jew in the process of following Christ. Amazingly, there may be more Muslims who are true, Bible-believing followers of Christ, than there are Muslims who have abandoned their cultural tradition in the process of becoming Christian. There are already more Hindus who are predominantly Hindu in their culture but who are Bible-reading believers in Jesus Christ, than there are Hindus who have abandoned their culture and become “Christian.” In the New Testament there was no law against a Greek becoming a Jew. However, Paul was very insistent that that kind of a cultural conversion was not necessary in becoming a follower of Christ.

The Mistake of Sending Only Money, Not Missionaries

This has been a problem for many years. It can rarely be a good thing to send money to a mission field with little accountability for its use. There are many examples where foreign funds are used to “buy” national leaders away from their churches or away from their denominations rather than strengthening the existing churches. Money can be very helpful, but there is no example of harm to the cause of missions that is more extensive than the careless use of money. Money is more easily corrupted than missionaries. This is the reason that wise national leaders talk about trade, not aid. What poor people need is the ability to earn money. With earnings they can buy food and medicines and not have to rely upon uncertain gifts from a foreign country. Missionaries are often ill-trained to establish businesses.

The Mistake of Sending Short-Termers, Not Long-Termers

This is not a case where one of these things is good and the other is bad. Neither should take the place of the other. However, there are now almost two million short-termers leaving the United States each year compared to 35,000 long-term missionaries. Note that the overall cost of short-termers is at least five times as much as the overall cost of long-term missionaries. This means that instead of doubling or tripling the number of long-term missionaries, we’re investing at least five times as much money in short-termers. Short-term trips are a wonderful education, but a very small accomplishment in missions. Worse still, a short term is often scary enough or useless enough to turn a young person away from being a missionary at all.

The Mistake of Not Understanding Business in Mission and Mission in Business

One of the latest explosions of interest in missions is the result of Christian businessmen in the United States recognizing the value of thoroughly Christian businesses in a foreign land. There is no question that one of the greatest needs of churches across the world is for their members to earn a living. It is pathetic when we think of sending food around the world instead of sending businesses that would enable believers to earn the money necessary to buy their own food. Businesses can often do things that are very essential. They can enable local people to sell their products in foreign lands. They can produce goods of great value to the people. Unfortunately, it is true that few missionaries have business experience and often ignore opportunities to establish businesses that would employ large numbers of needy people.

One thing is true, however, that businesses cannot be relied on as a source of profit for missionary work. In the long run, businesses that divert profits to other things will lose out to competitors who don’t divert profits to other things. There is no great future in a plan to “milk” profits from a business to support ministry. It is equally true that micro loans may have a temporary value, but will also fall prey to competitors with larger capital resources employing inherently more efficient processes. In the early history of missions, Moravian missionaries started businesses and so did some Swiss and German missionaries. Sadly, American missionaries have not been as creative. However, the business process will never take the place of the mission process in situations where the people in need cannot pay for what is needed. Businesses have to recover their own expenses. The mission process is still essential in all situations where there is no realistic possibility of remuneration.

The Mistake of Healing the Sick, Not Eradicating Disease Germs

The activity of healing the sick is one of the most genuine means of portraying God’s love and His concern for hurting people. It is a perfect example of the importance of the essential relationship of word and deed. On the other hand, with our increased scientific knowledge of microbiology God can expect us to go beyond healing the sick to the eradication of the germs that make millions sick. Missionaries have done well in establishing a thousand hospitals, but very few of them are big enough or are properly structured to be able to drive out of existence the evil pathogens that cause millions of people to be sick.

Malaria is an example of a tiny parasite that drags 45 million Africans out of the workplace every day of the year. It is imperative that the malarial parasite be eradicated. Malaria is virtually as large a threat in Africa as the AIDS epidemic. We don’t yet know how to eradicate the AIDS virus, but we do know how to rid this planet of malaria. That would be a significant transformation. Why then is there no Christian mission agency that is involved in the eradication of malaria rather than merely the healing of those who are attacked by malaria? It is very embarrassing to have to admit that the Church of Jesus Christ is expecting billionaires like Bill Gates to do that job for them. Worse still, Christians are misrepresenting the love of God in Christ if they do not become noted for their relentless efforts in such a cause.

The Mistake of Thinking “Peace,” Not “War”

Missionaries have for centuries moved out across the world with the idea that the gospel is merely a message to be communicated rather than a “call to arms.” I grew up with the idea that the main problem the Bible talked about was how human beings can become reconciled to God. That is certainly a glorious part of the story! But the main problem the Bible is really talking about goes beyond man’s reconciliation to God and is more precisely a war in which God-plus-man is fighting against Satan and his evil works. As a result, our God is being blamed widely for rampant disease, poverty, injustice and corruption—since we, as Christians, are not fighting these works of Satan. People are asking, “What kind of a God would sponsor a world like this?” They say this because they are unaware of the existence of Satan and his intelligent opposition to God. Thus, instead of God being glorified, He is being blamed for the work of Satan.

When things go wrong Evangelicals commonly say, “Why would God do that?” instead of blaming Satan. They do not realize that we are in a war and that casualties are to be expected because of the hideous strength of our opponent. We are lulled into inaction by the widespread belief that Satan was “defeated” at the Cross. In fact, the Cross was the turning point beyond which there have been centuries of ongoing conflict with a Satan yet to be completely defeated. Long after the Cross, Paul told Agrippa his mission was delivering people from “the dominion of Satan.” Satan was still around. Peter talked about Satan seeking to destroy. Christians today, with modern understanding of microbiology, for example, as well as the endemic corruption in business and government, now possess far greater responsibility than we have ever had before. Are mission agencies part of that war against Satan? Is it necessary for Christ’s followers to be counted at the front lines of that war, whether it be the eradication of disease or the conquest of corruption in business and government? Do we misrepresent God if we are missing in action? I feel sure we do.

The Mistake of Assuming Science Is a Foe, Not a Friend

When I was a young person, missionaries were showing science films 2,000 times per day in the non-Western world. The Moody Institute of Science films were shown even more widely in America. Many times in history Christian scholars have recognized that God has revealed Himself in “Two Books,” the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture. As Psalm 19 indicates, the Book of Nature does not even need to be translated into the world’s languages. Every missionary must take with him to the mission field both a microscope and a telescope if we are to properly glorify God. Even more important is the need to take to the field a true reverence for the glory of God in Creation. This requires a substantial knowledge of nature. Science is the study of God’s creativity. Art is the study of man’s creativity. We cannot truly expect educated people to accept Christ if our hymns in church reflect no awareness of anything discovered in nature in the last 400 years, or if our young people are being led astray by recent and superficial theories that the world is only 6,000 years old. That is an improper reading of Genesis 1:1, as well as a reckless ignoring of thousands of honest Evangelicals who are outstanding scientists.

The Mistake of an Evangelism That is Not Validated and Empowered by Social Transformation

Several times in the points I have already made above I have contrasted the 19th-century Western missionaries and 20th-century Western missionaries. This is because a radical change in the perspective of American Evangelicals took place between the 1800s and the 1900s. In the 19th century we were singing about the glorification of God as His will is fulfilled “on earth.” Here is the final stanza and chorus of “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years.

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.

In the 20th century we have been singing mainly about heaven:

This world is not my home,

 I’m just a passin’ through.

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door.

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

In the 1800s great revivals swept the country, and Evangelicals in high places conceived and promoted equally sweeping reforms. Then, immigration of non-Evangelical people quadrupled the population, and Evangelicals lost influence. Millions of non-college people were converted by D. L. Moody and others, but their 157 Bible institutes did not feed the professions or Congress. Only recently, as Evangelicals have more and more been going to universities, are there sufficient numbers of American Evangelicals to begin to think seriously about social transformation either in the USA or elsewhere in the world.


I hope it is clear that I have not wanted to do more than point out what in my estimation are failings and shortcomings in the history of Western mission thinkers. My perspectives may be faulty. At least I have raised certain issues that Asian missiologists may also confront in their work. Furthermore, this must not be a one-way street. I hope that we in the West can learn from members of the Asian Society of Missiology as they share with us their own perspectives.

We of the West have already learned a great deal from you. We expect to learn a great deal more in the future. Thank you for this invitation to greet you in Christ’s name!  f



Regarding “The Mistake of Whole Congregations in Direct Involvement, Not Professional Missions”...

I know Dr. Winter is not able to send a response, but am curious if anyone would be able to provide additional information to my following question/situation?

The church I attend, and am a member of, has long felt itself to be a missions-oriented church.  Within the last 6-7 years, it seemed as though there was not as much excitement about missions; many people did not understand why missions was still necessary today.  Many others were, and are still, fearful about reaching out to others for Christ for various reasons.  It was 4 years ago that our church sponsored a Perspectives class, whereby afterwards a number of us were commissioned with the task of revamping how our church understands and pursues missions.  Part of what we felt was necessary was for individuals and families to experience the mission field firsthand in order to see why the work is so important to spreading the Gospel.  It has been 3 years now since we really got started, and we are seeing some spectacular growth with several people taking steps (particularly high school and college students) who are in active pursuit of potentially becoming long-term missionaries.

Was Dr. Winter speaking of this particular situation that we (speaking of my church) are currently involved in, or was it more to address churches who are “doing” missions for the sake of “doing” missions without working to get people into the field long-term?  I think I understand what he is getting at; it’s not very productive for this constant sending of families to occur.  But isn’t it somewhat necessary for people to understand the concepts involved, as well as to potentially conquer their fears they may have?

Hi Sean,

I can’t speak for Ralph Winter, of course, but I would think that he is referring to a short-term mentality to missions from the local church.  Understandably, when short-termers go out, they experience something wonderful and new, as the Spirit of God interacts with them as they sacrifice something to Him for the sake of spreading and doing the Good News.  This, in turn, can spark some people to pursue missions on a long-term scale as a result of their short-term experience.  I had a similar personal experience after living overseas for two years.  When a local church only sees short-term missions as the goal of the congregation at large, and encourages families to take turns going out in order to fulfill the role of the Great Commission, a big piece is missing—that of learning to understand the other before communicating the Gospel message to them in language they can understand. 

I think what your church has done is commendable.  They have gotten involved in missions directly, they have commissioned people to be responsible in leading the congregation forward in this endeavor, and they are encouraging those with whom it resounds to consider taking missions to the next step up—a longer term commitment to the masses who don’t know.  One of the things that is so wonderful about doing mission is how it transforms your own life, and not just sends a message to those who have not yet heard or experienced.  Missions is transforming for those involved.  But I believe it was the longer-term vision that Winter was trying to promote.  Until we have people who are committed to a lifetime of missions life in specific areas where the Gospel has not yet penetrated, transformation will not take place to the extent we want to see it.

Sean—What I hear Dr. Winter saying in this article is that we are too parochial in our view of missions, not in the geographic sense, but in apprehending the extent to which evil pervades our world—even to the microbiological level. He says that missions includes providing the eradication of disease in addition to the healing of disease. Based on several of his articles I have read (in fact, every one I could get my hands on), I think he would say that our view of missions is way too shallow—because our view of evil is way too shallow. Our mission exists on a much broader spectrum that most of us acknowledge or are even aware of! For example, I came across Dr. Winter’s writings doing research for The Cancer Cure Experiment (, an approach to battling cancer from the spiritual dimension in cooperation with medical regimens. It is, I think, an example of what Dr. Winter is advocating. You can encourage your church members to expand their thinking about, and view of, the world. One great resource for this is Greg Boyd’s work God at War. Many blessings to you and your church as you seek to serve the Lord in this place and time!

The section in this article that begins with “The Mistake of Insisting that Devout Followers of Jesus Call Themselves “Christians” and Identify with the Western Church” promotes ideas that I believe reflect one of the biggest mistakes being made in missions today. This is not a “correction” to mistakes made by past generations, it is a very serious mistake being made by our current generation. While I would agree that devout followers of Jesus do not need to call themselves “Christians,” I can’t agree that using names that identify one with idolatrous false religions should ever be considered acceptable. And while there are many cultural vessels i.e. Greek, Latin, German, Japanese, Indian, Arabic, etc… through which God’s kingdom comes, it is a serious mistake to confuse cultural vessels with religious vessels like Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc… The Asian, African, and Eastern churches may look very different when compared with the Western churches, but the Asian, African, Eastern, and Western churches should all identify themselves with each other i.e. as part of one body in Christ. The doctrinal compromises being made by some promoting the “insider movement” has led to new syncretistic religions that do not see themselves as part of the global body of Christ; they see their new syncretistic faith as the only “truth” and they believe that those in the church, whether it be the Eastern, Western, African, or Arabic church, are “apostate.” To promote these new movements as authentic expressions of faith in God is wrong. We need to recognize that syncretistic expressions of faith today are no more valid than were those historical expressions of syncretistic faith that were so clearly condemned in Scripture. Putting the name “Yahweh” on the calf idol or the alter did not make Ba’al worship an authentic faith in God and using the name “Isa,” “Jesus,” etc… does not change Islam, Hinduism, etc… into an authentic faith in God.

“The Mistake of Sending Only Money, 
Not Missionaries”
Sending only money, with no personal connection and follow up must be very rare. Usually Americans want far more strings attached to their giving than should be. A much bigger mistake is the one mentioned of using money to buy leaders away from other organizations that did the work of discipleship and training. This is dishonest missions. Also using money to build church buildings far above the normal sustainable cultural level to “attract” or lure in people, many of whom are only seeking status and not a Savior. My brother in law emailed me a picture of a huge cathedral and gymnasium complexion the Philippines funded by Koreans giving the mega church appearance. At best this will merely suck believers from smaller more locally sustainable congregations so the Koreans can write home about how many converts they have because they gave big money for a cathedral. Very sad. Just like church in America.

I would say the biggest mistake is exporting the clergy-laity split dynamic. America as a rich country must consume 75 - 85% of it’s giving to buy clergy and crowd oriented facilities for platform and expert driven gatherings called “worship”. Participation / priest driven gatherings is what the Bible instructs over and over again. Heb. 10:24,25; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14, etc. In poorer countries the clergyman system will consume 99.9% of the “giving” to buy the weekly Bible lecture for the saints. Now almost nothing is left over for them to send missionaries.

It is tragic for Americans to think that it is 4 times more important for them to get a weekly Bible lecture every week of their life, than to get the gospel to those who have never heard and have no one to tell them within a days journey.  Men, who have heard 500 - 1000 professionally prepared “teaching” sermons are still considered incapably of teaching the saints. Luke 6:40 is rendered meaningless for American believers by American “Bible teachers” and “preachers”. In one ear and out the other. Everyone loves it this way and will bark at me for confronting this gross error here and on the mission field. The fact that God’s grace has produced some fruit from this system does not justify continuing or claiming it is a legitimate “model” or that godly men in the past did it. Let us move past the sins of our forefathers, not perpetuate and justify them. Let Jesus be the head, not traditions of men.

How come the article never openly talked about the incredible amount of corruption on the missionfield? I understand there are differences approaches, methods, philosophies, but what we need to learn from the mistakes of the past is how to build an authentic, and transparent churches that truly multiple. Let’s be truly honest. For most part Western mission work does not produce christ-centered missionaries unless those missionaries are bi-lingual, and understand the local mindset. Missionaries and their work has long established themselves among the locals as ‘sugar daddys’ and the local know how to take advantage such mentality. Did anyone ever notice the middle man, in this case, the missionary either the local headchief or the missionary or the organization headchief has much living higher living standard, and keeps increasing over time with their family member flauting their wealth. I spent many years as a missionary in India, and when I grew up in the U I read many missionary books. As an adult, having great experience in both cultures and speaking both languages, I am alarmed at the wisdom of missionary work overseas. The reality is Christianity might be shrikiing in India, and not growing. I was involved in a research project where Christianity spread into remote villages of India some 150 years ago, but today, there are few christians but multiple orpganization claim to have churches planted and thriving churches. With so much corruption, and the inability of the part of the westerners to truly understand their field, it is a shame what sort of reports people in the pews here about the missions’s progress. Let’s face it.. truth will come out sooner or later.. I know.. I was raised in an orphanage in India sponsored by Americans, adopted into US,and then worked with few different international missions’s organizations in India. I worked tirelessly among orphans, evangelism, and church planting in unreached places… To some extent, Gospel for Asia is a joke and cacausians missionaries don’t make the same sacrifice as william carrie.. what we need is just ordinary folks with who are willing to make the real sacrifice and it doesn’t matter if it is white/brownn missionary. God expeacts same ethics, principles, and sacrifices made from all so called missionaries.

John Bascom
“To some extent, Gospel for Asia is a joke…” It might be good to be more specific when making this charge. I think Americans supporting local missionaries from other countries is highly strategic, but not on Americanized form of church that GFA perpetuates - clergy driven fellowships lined up to face a pulpit for Bible lecture. Here is my example of how they are corrupt.

They are now pushing to raise money to build church buildings for Indian believers because: 1. The believers are tired of hopping from house to house. 2. Hindu’s criticize the Christians saying “you have no temple, how can your faith be true?” GFA’s solution is to raise $11,000 for each building. The true solution is to teach the Christians to respond with “Our God lives and dwells inside of each one of us. Our bodies are His temple. We have true relationship always with our God”. I have confronted GFA on this and their responses by their marketing people is so shallow. The leaders won’t respond. Anyone who criticizes them is a trouble maker no doubt rather than recognize a prophetic rebuke with the Word of God and change course.

I get the concept that local natives are more effective in spreading the Gospel because it costs more money to send cacausian missionaries. Let’s face it, there is an incredible amount of corruption with the natives. I read Dr.K.P. book, visited their training centers in Hyerabad, met with new applicants that were going to go train with GFA, met those who graduated from GFA, met many GFA pastors, and heard about their concepts of recruiting new native pastors, and the word on the street is ‘GFA’ undoubtely has lots of money and has lots of money to offer. The problem with India is that people don’t come forward to talk openly about the on-going issues, and if one does speaks openly about it, he/she will be haunted. We need a new revolution in missions where people in pews and missons’s directors aware of the reality on the mission field in order that God’s kingdom advances in integrity, in grace, in love, and in servanthood attitude rather than in people fighting for status, images, and power. I have heard numerous times that most of the staff in Hyderabad are all keralites rather than telugu people so that cover up takes place easily. I know of a grudated who andhra who went to kerala to finish his program, and wasn’t at all thrilled. I know the inside scoop because I am bi-lingual, and I observe both cultures. On the other hand, western funding for causian missionaries must be brouht down to the level of the locals in India. What is the entire point of mission? live at their level and if not, ship out because you’re not doing anything for anyone…

Dr. Winter’s opinions are absolutely true and it has a heavy weight on it. According to today’s economy and political situations in all the countries of the world. The time has come to rethink and re-evaluate for the most effect methods and best use of the resources that God has given to us. Some commentors here had mentioned about the corruptions in GFA which is true. But know that the GFA is not the only national mission agency here in India. Secondly, using the national to reach the nationals should be widely emphasize. I do not meant to say that the Westerns do not have a roll to play in mission fields but the nationals should be trained well for the purpose of reaching the nationals. Thirdly, the Westrners have a very important roles to play in the mission fields in Asia, i.e., to train the nationals. I am sure there are hundreds and millions of well trained theologians in America alone but never realized that he could be greatly used in mission fields as teachers. Finally, in India most of the Theological Institutes or Colleges and Seminaries are providing the courses basing on Christian Church and its issues. They seldom and never get into the need of World Evangelism. Therefore, as a result of that, although we have more than 4000 graudates in a year, we are yet to see a strong missionary movement here in India. I have written an article on “Can we use our theological graduates?” It has become a question mark now since most of them are not committed or train to be in Mission Fields. This is a sad and pathetic situations here in India. We need a strong oversea organization or Agencies to train the people in India to be ready for the paradym shift taking place toward us.

I have written an Article: “Can we use our theological graduates?” Would you like to kindly publish in your website?

Thank you

,  Go and teach all nations, banpizitg them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world” (Mark 16:15). Many of us say we’re believers and followers of Christ, but can we just take a moment and look more closely at our own walk; contemplate the personal journey we have taken and look down the road and ask a simple question is what I do in the church for the grace of God?  Or is it for me?  If there is even an ounce of self reflecting in your response then come out; come out and begin to see God’s mission for you for His church for His world!

I am not at all suprised by these sort of comments and opinions. I’ve often heard people call for self reflection whenever you share the hurdles within the Christian Community. In the case of missions, people would rather continue cause incredible amount of damage to the donors, recepients, orphans, local workers because of the ignorance. Can you imagine an orphan child who is supposed to be loved, cherished, honored, and discipled is actually being mentally abused, physically tortured, taught to live a lie, manipulated, and living under constant threat and fear. Hardly no one knows the reality of how well our good intensions are misused among the recepients. They don’t have a voice. The call for self reflection is needed when you look at God’s mission field through His eyes, confront the reality of pain, deception, greed, and lies that long existed for many years, and ask God what can I do to truly reflect you as you are without beign blinded by what I’ve taught about the mission field. God open my eyes to reality… God help….

“In the case of missions, people would rather continue cause incredible amount of damage to the donors, recepients, orphans, local workers because of the ignorance. Can you imagine an orphan child who is supposed to be loved, cherished, honored, and discipled is actually being mentally abused, physically tortured, taught to live a lie, manipulated, and living under constant threat and fear.”

What specifically do you mean by this? Let us know.

I spent many years on the mission field, and will continue to do in the future too. I was also adopted from an orphanage, and grew up in the states. My parents are cacausians, and entering missions field straight out of high school was risky for me. I didn’t know the language, or the culture when I entered the mission field. In my case, the mission field was India. Over the years, I learned the language, and made great in-roads into understanding the culture and the mindset of the locals. Besides operating my own organization in India, I have done lot of work in and with other international organization which meant that you’re regularly kept update to on other local missionary events like seminars, conferences, crusades, social events, social services, and orphan visit. I cannot share all of my experiences, but the following story stuck with me. I cannot reveal the name of the organization or the big name personell behind this event because my purpose is not to destroy a particular ministry but to focus on the content and concepts of missions. This ministry held a huge three day conference for believers/pastors in a huge metropolitan city. I was impressed with the messages, and how relevant they were to the society. The depth of the teachings were great, and I heard these teaching many times stateside. When I heard these teachings in local langauge in India, I was really happy because these teachings were addressing the fundamental issues of the indian culture. This particular ministry had partnered with other ministries in the stateside, but they all came together as one entity when ministering in India, and under one umbrella organization. One of the ministry partner started teaching, and the translation was awful. The key concepts of the teachings were grossly misinterpreted time and time again. I felt sick to my stomach.  They were thousands of peole who came all over from India, and the many foreign delegates who came from stateside were in audience, but no one dared to speak up. I was up front trying to get attention from someone, the security was very tight. This is just one example. What a shame! Who can pick up on these sort of staged events? These are common in India. What are the donors were told? How are they presented to the events in India? Another classic example is when foreigne teams visit orphanages. The local director is informed way before the visit ever take place. Besides children are made aware of the routine foreign visitors. Before the foreigners’ visit, the kids are taught to be on their best behavior, rooms clean, bathrooms cleaned, clothes washed and put away, tiny boxes neatly arranged, and sometimes the buildings are painted few days prior to their arrival. Kids will memorize bible verses, narrate biblical stories, and will performs singing songs, dance, skits, and testimonies. Kids are are strictly told to be on their best behavior, always smiling, and look happy to here in the orphanage. The local directors know their best presenation many mean opportunity for more funds. The director, their childre if there are present, the workers, and the older kids will keep an eye on the interactions of the children with the foreigners. Any tiny amount of misbehavior, gossip, or rumor of any sort will mean a strict disciplinary action by the locals, and it is considered a shame. How dare you rock my boat? While foreigner is basking in the new mission field, unfortunately everything is orchastrated to fit his needs, to cater to his spirituality and to his emotions. The garland flowers, food, beiing around children, hearing and worshipping with natives as they worship the same God in their language, is a great experience, but nonetheless it is full of deception, manipulation, and greed. The interpretation foreigner will have their trip to the orphanage and the interpretation of the orphan children will have will be drastically different. Don’t get me wrong, orphans really do enjoy having foreigner arouund but what they don’t know is that they are being used, a show case product. This is very normal in India. Unless you know the spoken language, body language, cultural cues, and the frame of their mindset, you’ll not pick up on these. I can go on and on.. but in the end, my heart just breaks and aches for the people of India and as well as for donors too.. let us create a true win-winn situation for both parties..

Ralph, as always, made some sizzling points in this paper.  He also painted with a broom every so often.  Short term teams have gotten an oft deserved spanking ala “When Helping Hurts” and “Toxic Charity” as well, but let’s not toss the baby.  The reality is, many churches get the Kingdom deficit of the last 200 years in church history but are tired of being silent partners with big agencies doing relief and development work to augment the Gospel message.  Churches want to have personal international partners (indigenous OR ex-pat) for the long haul, and to send teams acting in locally appropriate ways to help with projects and build relationships.  Is it expensive to do that?  Yep.  Did a woman pour a year’s wages all over Jesus feet?  Yep.  Loving on our global neighbors face to face is an act of worship that can’t be quantified in pragmatic financials any easier than lavishing perfume on God…and the potential discipleship of a cross cultural experience overseas are well known.  There will always be motivation issues and stewardship questions to be pondered, however let’s keep the pendulum from swinging too hard in either direction.  Our world needs LTs, STs and all sorts of strategies to make maximum impact.  We’re trying to do our part in this at

We are not cater to the needs of the church, but rather attempt to make every effort to the please the heart of God. The western church seems to be looking for the next big thing, and to keep the church entertained with new images, stories, and strategies. Although we shouldn’t toss the baby with the bath water, the reality of conflicts within the misssion field must be addressed with totally honesty. When we promote a mission over violation or oversight of basic principles, you don’t a mission at all. You never had a mission, but just a lame walk. I was told that if i told the truth about missions to people then people would stop funding missions. What a sad gimmick? We have to manufacture stories or exaggarate reality or keep missions interesting in order to fund missions? No way.. Doesn’t God not see these strategies? In today’s changing world, missions is opeating upside down. Those who are truly hungry to serve God don’t have means to funding, and those who have access to resources have all the funds, but their works really has no results at all. Many organizations are time bombs waiting to explode, but they continue to avoid the elephant in the room in order to pretend to pursue some noble mission when in reality there isn’t anything noble at all. We all know that the devil is a real enemy, but most of the time, devil exists right within our own walls. Why aren’t we doing right here in the USA what we do overseas? We need to witness our home first before we can evangelize unreached villlages where lot of work is highly questionable…

Leave A Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.