Missiological Exploration | Missionary Cooperation
Plenteous Redemption Podcast
Ephesians 4:1-3 (KJV) I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Many of life’s endeavors require cooperation. The American mindset once looked to the lone rangers among us as heroic. There was something intrepid about a man with an individualist and nonconformist approach to life. In the modern era, this has taken a turn in an odd direction. American society is infested with millennial rebels leading the charge as social media influencers. They blaze digital trails that surely shame the explorers of old. Don’t mistake their softness for weakness; upon exiting their bean-bag-adorned safe spaces, they are ready to take on the world. Well, they are at least prepared to take on Twitter, Facebook, Tik-Tok, you know - the digital world. These models of perpetual immaturity will someday lead our country; a few are now entering into public office of varying levels. Once there, they will apply their social media influencing experience to garner support for socialism, gender confusion, and sexual perversion.
With feeble psyches, this generation has been tossed to and fro by every wind of secular doctrine. Their tossings seem endless; somehow, they have entered a cyclone of perpetual madness. But how have the members of society who once looked at rugged individualism handled the outrageous ramblings of millennial maniacs? Well, primarily through inventive appeasement. It appears clear that prior generations have defaulted to waving the white flag; they essentially advertise their propensity for weakness. This amounts to willful neglect over many years, leading to amoral gender neutral creatures who demand not rights but luxuries such as Starbucks coffee, Apple Computers, and free College. This has produced the dreadful ingredients for a perfect storm, a weak society intermingled with nihilistic brats.
So what does this have to do with partnerships in missions? A Missionary is undoubtedly that rugged individualist who sets out to preach the gospel in the regions beyond. To be successful in this endeavor, the missionary must forsake all and leave for this foreign land. A land where people talk differently, think differently, eat differently, smell differently, and worship differently. The millennial aptitude for expressing unfounded opinions from a Macbook Air with anti-capitalist stickers on the front will struggle in this setting. An excellent way to cope with the culture shock and the immediate onset of confusion caused by the corrupt bureaucratic processes of a third-world nation is to have an experienced partner in the ministry.
No doubt some will complain the idea of missionary cooperation means the loss of that rugged individualism and pioneering spirit of prior missionary generations. You should have thought about that before giving your child an X-box and flooding their minds with television. But regardless of the presence of a pioneering spirit or no, the willingness of a missionary to leave their home country and labor to establish Bible-believing Christianity in a foreign land is admirable. American society and even American Christianity caused the problem of weak young people. We allowed the influx of collectivist ideologies to flood the minds of our children through the internet, television, contemporary music of varying sorts, and through the school systems. The existence of weakness is an unfortunate fact; the question going forward is how do we fix this without allowing the spread of the gospel to suffer?
I submit that missionary partnerships are a great way to accomplish this task. But, as in any area of cooperation, partnerships come with ups and downs - pros and cons. What are the limits of collaboration? How do the areas of responsibility get defined? What happens if the two cannot agree on some issue? These ideas will need to be addressed at some point and in some reasonable way. But the pros of starting a ministry under the guidance of an experienced missionary are tremendous. Navigating the visa process alone could require a degree in indigenous corruption. But one may assume they can hire a lawyer, not understanding the role of third-world lawyers in adding to the corruption. They will happily receive your money and leave you just as confused as you were when the process started. And what of cultural norms and taboos? What will happen in this new country of yours if you wave in a friendly American manner? What if you show someone the bottom of your feet? Have you considered what might happen if you extend your left hand for any purpose? Simple details we would never think to be problematic could stir up a large-scale riot.
Missionary partnerships are invaluable; the help gained through either short-term or long-term cooperation is worth the time and effort. In this broadcast, missionary Keith Stensaas and I will try and work out some details to consider in this area of missions.
Missionary Keith Stensaas:
Always Abounding Podcast: https://anchor.fm/keith-stensaas/episodes/Fighting-Giants-at-85-e12g9rb
Uganda Baptist Radio: https://ugandabaptistradio.com/
Plenteous Redemption Podcast:
Plenteous Redemption Podcast: https://www.plenteousredemption.media/
Plenteous Redemption YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/PlenteousRedemption/featured
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Missionary Thomas Irvin
Plenteous Redemption Podcast