Not Enough Evangelist
When I decided that If Only Even One was going to be more than a YouTube channel I also committed to not going the route of “fulltime missions”. The landscape in my region is bleak. I mean that without any sense of drama. When it comes to an active Gospel presence in Southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa, it is a barren wasteland. There are places in the United States where solid evangelists are tripping over one another. A dear brother recently moved to southern California. When he got there, he decided to start going out and hitting the streets with the Gospel. His first excursion led to him meeting a like-minded evangelist.
That isn’t the case in my region. There is Ryan in Lacrosse Wisconsin, ninety miles away, who I’ve yet to meet face-to-face. Then there is my dear brother Kevin, in Davenport Iowa, almost four hours away. The next closest is Kris, five hours away in Fargo. Are you starting to see the picture I am painting?
More Than Enough Work To Do
When I converted If Only Even One into a missions ministry I could have begun to solicit funding. I could have justified a fulltime missions schedule. There are hundreds of target rich environments in my neck of the woods. The opportunities are endless and the work daunting. Yet, I couldn’t move myself to even start looking in the direction of fulltime missions work.
It isn’t a lack of desire. To be frank, most days, all I want to do is be out on the streets preaching. I love the time I spend with my family and friends, I would never give that up. Yet, when it comes to my work, I would much rather be using those hours to advance the Gospel. Nothing would be more satisfying than to be involved in fulltime missions work.
Why I Think It Is Selfish
However, fulltime missions work requires fulltime pay. Fulltime pay requires a massive number of supporters. Therefore, those supporters by necessity send their money to fulltime missions. Those monies go to support a missionary and often an entire household. Most missions supporters (Evangelical Protestants)are themselves paycheck to paycheck families. These families give sacrificially to their own local churches and then pour out even more to support countless other ministries. Furthermore, from a personal perspective, I would find it incredibly selfish to ask people that already scrimp to live; to support me. Imagine the way supporters would feel if they are giving hard earned money and then see a post from me about an expensive vet bill for my dog…
I am not questioning the heart motivation of any person who is engaged in fulltime missions work in the USA. That isn’t my place. However, I do want us to think about the example of Scripture. Do we see a clear example in Scripture of men who are completely dependent on others for their support as they advance the Gospel into the world? I would suggest no. Certainly elders are worthy of their hire and double honor where the case warrants. That being said, elders aren’t called to fulltime missions. They are called to shepherd the local flock. This means that they should be training up men and women, to proclaim the Gospel in their day-to-day lives. Ya know, that whole Great Commission thing.
Whose Job Is It
Even Paul, as an apostle of Christ, did not claim the right to make demands on people for support. He labored among the people earning his own keep. Furthermore, he did this while proclaiming the Gospel to the world around him. Furthermore, Paul was more concerned for raising money for struggling churches than he was for himself. Paul was the very model of fulltime missions.
This does not preclude pastors/elders from being evangelists. A good pastor will model this behavior to the people God has placed under his care. However, what I am saying, is that the responsibility to go out into the world, does not rest solely on the shoulders of the pastor. Therefore, the concept of fulltime missions being supported by the local church; especially in the USA, seems utterly foreign to Scripture.
Is Fulltime Missions Work Even Biblical The Way We Do It Today
Let’s consider if fulltime missions in foreign countries is biblical. My favorite of all missions groups is Heart Cry Missionary Society, think Paul Washer. One of my reasons for this is their philosophy of missions work. They believe in sending out qualified men to areas devoid of sound doctrine. Once in those areas those men preach the Gospel faithfully. They then labor to train up men from the indigenous population to take over the work of fulltime missions. By training up indigenous men to be sound preachers the missionary is freed to move on. This is thoroughly biblical. Masters Seminary does the same thing through their ministry called TMAI.
Why I Won’t Do “Fulltime Missions”
Therefore, I couldn’t build If Only Even One as a fulltime missions ministry. I personally don’t see the support for it in the bible. I have a family, God has called me to work to support them. God has called me to work to provide. He has called every man with a family to work to provide for them. Will I turn down any offers of support for the missions work I do? Not on your life. However, rest assured, any support that comes in to the ministry will go to missions work( the board will see to that), not to support my family.
There is yet another reason that I am not going to ask for fulltime missions support. My overriding concern is that missions support has become an
excuse for the broader evangelical church to wash their hands of obeying the Great Commission.
For many, sending money to a missionary alleviates the imperative of the command contained in the Great Commission. The view is such that any effort put towards spreading the Gospel into the world meets the command. Therefore, there is no need for them to be obedient to the command itself. It becomes a mere suggestion in their personal lives and not the deeply personal imperative that our Great Lord and Savior intended.
I Don’t Want To Contribute To A Problem
Seemingly the attitude becomes one of either disdain or sloth. Fulltime missions work is perceived as something that is done in other countries. Downtrodden countries, struck with wars and violence and financial blight, need the Gospel far more than the USA ever could. Missionaries need to spend their time in China and Africa and India or someplace that isn’t the USA.
Consequently, this tends to lead to an attitude that the missions work isn’t conducted in the USA and that we don’t need the Gospel the way those other countries do. Frankly, it smacks of the same attitude that the Pharisee had when he prayed in the temple alongside the publican. The evangelical church tends to get a bit of the “I am so thankful that you didn’t make me a foreigner” attitude going on.
Certainly, some do go on “missions trips”. Sadly, a majority of those are to countries that keep us in our comfort zone. Even more rarely is the Gospel actually proclaimed. Instead, we dig wells and build toilets. Even worse, very few ever enter missions work inside the bounds of the USA. Fewer still ever actually preach the Gospel.
Two Growing Spiritual Epidemics
Several things are taking place in the United States now. For the first time in the history of the Western Church, we are sending less missionaries to foreign nations than are being sent to the West. South Korea, by itself is on fire for missions. This is huge when you consider the size of South Korea and the history of Christianity in that nation.
The second is that aberrant groups are on the rise and working overtime to proselytize Americans. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the worst offenders. Apostate groups such as Time to Revive (these folks are dangerous) and the Black Hebrew Israelites are out in droves. Time to Revive professes to be Christian but they are a dangerous NAR linked cult that uses manipulation and tricks to “preach the Gospel”. The BHI are recruiting thousands all over urban centers in the USA and they are radically racists and dangerous on a physical level.
Furthermore, as these two things happen, American Christians shrink back from the duty to evangelize. This shrinking back isn’t happening because of the prior two issues, the prior two issues are happening because the American Church is failing to do the good it knows to do, and it is in sin.
What Is The Answer
We don’t solve the problem by pulling even more Christians out of the work place to be on mission. The answer is for churches to get back to the assignment of sending ambassadors out into the communities around them. Only the Gospel will stop the cults and their influence. This has to take place on several levels.
My End Goal
This is why I consider If Only Even One a missions ministry, but not a fulltime missions work. My desire is not only to reach my region of southeast Minnesota and Northeast Iowa. My desire is to reach out to local churches and help them rediscover the joy of Christ in the work of spreading the Gospel. I want to train up evangelists in every town and city and burg. I want stateside fulltime missions work made obsolete.
My end goal, is for If Only Even One to become a relic of a Facebook page and a YouTube channel that is so far out of date that it won’t be relevant anymore. Contact the ministry if you are interested in helping out. I will direct you to my board. If you have a desire to see your local church equipped to advance the Gospel into the world around your community, contact me, I will gladly speak with you.
Soli Deo Gloria!