Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Doohickey Missions

My friend, Neal, likes to say, “There IS a difference between being a visionary leader and a day dreamer.” This cartoon brought to mind the many people I see on the field who may have a philosophy (people group focus, saturation church planting – SCP, business as mission – BAM) but really don’t have a clue on how to make the vision a reality.

I appreciate vision. I think it’s wonderful that people are in the business of motivating others to be a part of the Great Commission. When I attend conferences in the U.S. most of it is about the global need in missions and casting the vision. Now, if we could just come up with a doohickey strategy for missions to achieve the goal!

The 90 – 10 Rule goes something like this – “The first ninety percent of the task takes ten percent of the time, and the last ten percent takes ninety percent.” I’m not sure, maybe I have it backwards, but sometimes I think creating an idea on how to do missions is the easy part, it’s the actual doing of missions that seems to bog everyone down.

I belonged to an organization that is built on a mission dream called SCP that propose that missionaries “Draw a circle around an area and saturate it with churches.” The visionary president even stated boldly, “Church planting is easy, we just need to do it.” My conclusion is that SCP, though an interesting idea, is missiologically flawed. Most people who bought into the vision have never planted a church, and wander around the country trying to figure out what they should be doing to make SCP work. SCP works fine in countries like Kenya and the Philippines, where there is already a strong Christian presence, but it’s another matter in counties that are Gospel resistant, like Senegal or Cambodia. If churches are planted in those countries it’s because someone is spending ninety percent of their time doing the work, not just dreaming about it.

The same could be said of BAM. There are a ton books now written on doing business as mission. Apart from the ethics of BAM, like church planting, if you’ve never actually done it, is it really a good mission strategy? Those who succeed know how to do business, those who are not business minded end up with a doohickey idea and call it missions.

As I write this post I do it with concern. I feel sorry for so many of my friends who have good hearts, love Christ and really want to serve Him. Their passion for others is not in question – they long to see people come to know the Savior. What they need is not more vision and they deserve more than a doohickey program. Their need is to learn what it means to use ninety percent of their time making the ten percent vision a reality.