The murky world of missions

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The American missionaries that I work with are the best; I wouldn't swap any of them. They've served us so well and helped us, strengthened our congregation and enabled us to reach people we wouldn't have been able to reach without them. The needs are enormous and millions are without the gospel; we need all the help we can get.

However I do want to say to American churches and particularly Presbyterian ones don't believe all you hear particularly from mission agencies and church planting networks. I was recently with a number of European brothers, all of whom are reformed, all of whom subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith. They are the Pastors of very small churches and many struggle to make ends meet, working other jobs, their wives having to take different jobs in order for the family to keep afloat. It was incredibly humbling to hear them and their stories of ministry.

What has led me to write this post is that in at least 3 of these countries there are Missionaries from Reformed churches in America but they don't work with the Presbyterian churches in Europe. They are working in an Anglican cathedral in one major city, a Charismatic church in another, one congregation that would publicly be sympathetic to gay marriage and then the usual fundy Baptists (I threw that one in for you Walker). All these missionaries are sent by Reformed churches in the US and I suspect their supporting churches would have a fit if they really knew.

So for the very few readers we have left on this blog who are from Presbyterian churches in the US let me ask you: ''Would you support people to do such work in your city or town?''. Of course you wouldn't and so why do you think you can fund these vast numbers of Presbyterian missionaries in Europe to do the same. Here is what I would propose. It is a revolutionary concept admittedly but........ Reformed Churches support Reformed Churches. How about supporting Presbyteries? I recently read of a denominational mission agency that was determined to support and facilitate (whatever that means)  'Spirit-led movements' - whoever got paid for writing that should be fired. The Church of Jesus Christ is the Spirit led movement!

I know this is the language of revolution but how about Reformed Churches in the US saying to missionaries who come over here: ''We want to see indigenous Reformed churches in Europe''. Imagine a world where missionary agencies are held accountable and middle management is got rid of. Admittedly most of us think that will have to wait till the new creation but I promise you this isn't over realised eschatology. No one pays attention to a blog but if a Pastor rings his denominational mission agency and says: ''Enough is enough, you have to sort this out or Presbytery is getting involved'', watch the change.

I have a dream, a dream where churches support churches.

This post was sponsored by the peace and reconciliation committee for Presbyterian churches worldwide.
Posted March 10, 2015 @ 6:55 AM by Paul Levy
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