Much of the local churches missions’ strategy reflects the shot of a shotgun. It has a wide spread but it isn’t lethal. The strategy is to simply give to the Cooperative Program and go on short term trips to different destinations every year. The quantity is there but the quality of work is lacking. In order to understand the benefits of partnership, along with Cooperative Program support, we must first look at some downsides to a shotgun approach to missions.
· Simply giving money does not cultivate fervor for missions in the church. We must give to the Cooperative Program but it’s only when we sacrificially give of our resources (talents, time, and finances) will zeal for missions grow.
· Yearly, location driven, short term mission trips tend to be glorified vacations. It’s more about the experience than it is about the gospel.
· When the experience of short term trips overshadow long term strategy, effective missions principles are violated and a lot of money is spent with little results to show for it.
If the shotgun represents quantity, a high powered rifle represents quality. Its shot is precise and its force is lethal. An effective mission’s strategy is one that is precise and lethal. Here are some reasons why local churches partnering with IMB missionaries to reach a specific unreached people group through praying, going, and giving is precise and lethal.
· It shows a commitment to effectively participate in what is already happening in a specific part of the world. True participation in a work that is happening in Guatemala is not one weeklong trip. Effective participation in what God is doing in a specific part of the world is investing in that work year in and year out.
· A commitment to go back to the same place over several years produces strong relationships that can develop and support that can target real life needs. We cannot truly grasp the needs of people that we don’t spend time with. Strong relationships with missionaries and effective support of the work produce long term results for the gospel.
· Committing to a work over time helps avoid unnecessary errors. Investing in a specific missionary and trusting in their strategy allows the church to know things are going to be done right. The people who know best what needs to be done are the ones who are giving of themselves daily to reaching a people group. Casting our American ideas onto another culture will not advance the gospel.
· A long term investment will produce long term results. We cannot truly make disciples on a two week mission trip.
Why is this important? First, we should desire for every penny we give to be the most effective it can be in reaching the world with the gospel. What a tragedy it would be to spend thousands of dollars on missions each year and not have any tangible results. Second, we are participating in such a partnership! We give faithfully to the Cooperative Program and to the work in Southeast Asia to reach the Lasa. This is something we should be proud of. Not only are we investing in work to reach people in every country on the earth through the CP, but we are directly connected to seeing that the Lasa are reached with the gospel. Embrace this by continued faithfulness to pray, go, and give.