Mission Agencies Send No One

Darren Carlson | October 26, 2015

Mission agencies send no one. 

There is a great passage in the often-neglected letter of 3 John that gives us a glimpse into early missionary life. It also teaches us something about a missionary-sending church.

Apparently missionaries had come to visit Gaius (the letter’s addressee) and had been treated well by the receiving church. When John hears of this, he writes with commendation and instruction, telling Gaius to “send them” out (v. 6). This phrase occurs nine times in the New Testament, mainly in missionary contexts. John doesn’t just tell Gaius to send these missionaries out but to do so “in a manner worthy of God” (v. 6).

Send, Not Have

There is a big difference between a church that “has” missionaries (like a budget item) and a church that sends missionaries. Sending is purposeful and should be done with care. “Having” seems to indicate the missionaries owe you something for being part of your church.

A 1997 study by William Taylor revealed that of all missionaries leaving the field each year, 71 percent do so for preventable reasons. A key reason was a lack of training and equipping. Taylor concluded:

Theological institutions [and agencies] address primarily knowledge components, not character nor even skills needed to survive and thrive in cross-cultural missions. . . . Unquestionably, the best entity to…

To read the rest of this article, visit http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/mission-agencies-send-no-one.