THE QUSTION IS:
Are we “asleep in the bottom of the boat” like Jonah, and “is the church failing in our mandate“?
Missions Cost God His Son was the theme for our “Global Impact Celebration” missions’ conference held at Pine Castle United Methodist Church, where Kelly and I are members. (See photos at end of this posting.) Keynote Speaker J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, author, award-winning journalist, and ordained minister delivered a challenging and thought provoking message from Jonah 1: 1-5.
Rev. Grady spoke about Jonah being in a deep sleep in the bottom of a ship, when God sent a violent storm that threatened to break up that ship. He shared that the storm came, because of a disobedient servant (Jonah). Rev. Grady related this to; ‘We are in a storm today, not just because of the politicians & Wall Street, but also because the church is asleep in the bottom of the boat’.
THE CHURCH TODAY:
He explained that the church has been given the Words of Life – life saving equipment – and we are failing in our mandate to take it out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria & the Ends of the Earth. We are keeping it to ourselves. God wants our GPS systems to be reprogrammed so we can be heading in the right direction. If we obey, we will see our ship taken to the shore of Nineveh and we will take life to the people.
YOU DECIDE IF THE QUESTION ABOVE IS TRUE
Rev. Grady’s serman ties in with a webinar Kelly listened to about Significant Facts & Trends in the North American Missions Movement (NAMM). The researcher was Michael Jaffarian, Senior Research Associate for Operation World. Here is just one area that he spoke about:
FACTS:The NAMM is a $6 billion industry with 822 separate organizations; Those 822 divide into 5 major kinds of mission agencies: Denominational Founder Based Task Based Mom & Pop International Expansion of North American Ministries
LENGTH OF SERVICE:
- There are about 43,000 N. American long-term missionaries, numbers growing, modestly. (Length of service-more than 4 years.)
- There are about 8,000 N. American middle-term missionaries, numbers may be declining. (Length of service-less than 4 years.)
- There are about 150,000 N. American short-term missionaries, numbers growing strongly. (length of service-two weeks up to one year.)
The best estimate of the number of American short term mission-trip participants: 1.5 million. (length: 2 weeks or shorter)
The North American churches are sending more than sixty times as many mission-trip participants overseas as long-term missionaries.
Imagine, if an average of $2,000 is spent to send those 1.5 million: that = $300 billion compared to $6 billion given toward long-term workers. Would we consider this a good use of our missions funds?
RESULTS OF TREND?
Strong growth in short-term missions & mission trips has not produced strong growth in long-term missions. (The number of long-term missionaries is not even keeping up with the rate of national growth.)
It was thought short-term trips might give participants a heart to give to the missions’ program. Research shows that those who are giving, are giving to others going on short-term trips. Again, long-term missions has not benefited from this program.
Mr Jaffarian ended on a positive note: “Trend is not destiny.” The direction of God trumps the direction of trends.”
This webinar was sponsored by: The Mission Exchange
Photos below are from our Global Impact Celebration – Missions Conference: