A “Grandparenting” View of Missions

This Monday I will begin teaching a three-week class at Baptist Bible College of the Caribbean called “Introduction to Missions.” I’m incredibly excited about this class, because it allows me to explain the most important lesson God taught me during my ministry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Doing Too Much

God in his sovereignty has made me someone who loves fixing problems. This of course is helpful in missions because there are always issues or challenges that need to be conquered, unfortunately this also meant doing almost all of the work myself. To be perfectly honest it was easier [and faster] to do things on my own instead of equipping others to do them.

The Lord thankfully broke that incredibly selfish view of ministry, but it took a lot longer than necessary because I was too stubborn to listen 🙂

Part of this “doing too much” ministry philosophy was found in my understanding of what a missionary is. Sometimes we have idealic or romanticized pictures of missionaries that don’t actually fit with reality.

  1. Like Missionaries are always out there on their own
  2. They never show any kind of weakness
  3. They don’t need community or relationships
  4. They refuse to ask for any help
  5. And they never get discouraged

While the Lord does give an added measure of Grace, Missionaries are actually quite different:

  1. We desire to work with others in teams
  2. We struggle with sin and weakness on a daily basis
  3. We desperately need Godly friends who will stand with us
  4. We see the wisdom of asking for help
  5. And we fight discouragement like everyone else

In other words…missionaries are just human

You Don’t have to do it all

Slowly the Lord has been teaching me the last few years it’s not my job to live up to the super-hero idea of what a missionary should be. Instead missions is best done when I confess my inability to do the work on my own, and invite others to do the work with me.

Which brings me to the idea of “Grandparenting Missions”

In early days of missions when great men of God like Hudson Taylor, and Adoniram Judson served, they had to do the work on their own because there were few other Believers there to help. Today missionaries are surrounded by Bible preaching Churches filled with strong Believers who want to help.

The Grandparenting view of missions basically means stepping back and becoming someone who encourages, equips, and gives sound advice while others do the work.

Just like we had a Grandma or Grandpa who gave us what we needed…grandparenting missions provides whatever tools are necessary

Just like Grandma and Grandpa always offered a listening ear…grandparenting missions gives someone who will listen, and not try to fix the problem.

Just like you could find a huge smile on Grandma and Grandpas face at every sporting event or recital…grandparenting missions takes its greatest joy in seeing someone else do the work.

Taking a step back

Being a “doer” means that I sometimes even without meaning to go out and start doing the work myself, leaving others far behind. But by God’s grace I’m learning that taking a step back and letting others serve not only multiplies ministry, but brings great Glory to God.

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