have used this with a sense
of accomplishment. The
word missionary has been
redefined to include the
concept of witness as in the
Book of Acts. But as one
missionary in Africa says,
“We seem to be saying that
because baby boomers are
different, missions should
be different. However, the
cost of discipleship has
not changed.” One thing is
certain, short-termers are most effective as they work with process missionaries.
II. Long-term or Process Missionaries
These people see missions as an ongoing process of evangelism, church plant-
ing and training national leadership for these churches. They focus on fulfilling the
Great Commission in every country until Jesus comes. Missions is seen as a con-
tinuing process rather than a project. Process missionaries learn the language and
culture. They live among the people and identify with them. Such people accept
struggle and long-term investment of life and talent.
III. Defining Missions Biblically (Matthew 28:18–20)
The main verb of this great passage on missions is to make disciples. This is
the basic meaning of the first teach in verse 19. The other actions of going, baptizing
and teaching are participles that must lean on the main verb of making disciples.
Since the going to unreached areas must be seen in the light of its illustration in Acts
13:1–4, baptizing is the ministry of the local church and is the first step of disciple-
ship. And teaching all things Jesus commanded is the matter of teaching the content
of faith. This also is the ministry of the local church. Then disciples are made in the
context of local churches. So, establishing churches is the goal of missions.
Short-term missions does have a place in missions. However, it must augment
process missionaries in organizing churches. Short-term missions cannot supplant
the process missionary in planting churches nor in the budget of the sending
church. To do so is to exchange a substitute for biblical missions.
Short-term missions effort is most effective when it is led by an experienced
missionary. This can be constructive and brings the short-termer into direct
contact with missionaries in action to challenge them as to the essence and
importance of missions.
What percentage of a local church's mission budget should be invested in
short-term missions? Only that local church can decide. But the overall goal must
be kept in focus. Any mission endeavor should be constructive and not simply a
BIMI WORLD – Number 3, 2010 23