Are cross-cultural goers out of date?

Paul in Thess.jpg

I hear it too often: “Missionaries aren’t needed in our era …there is no reason to send people to cross cultural, economic, linguistic or geographic barriers as kingdom representatives …it costs too much so let’s just support nationals …sending people to live , immerse, and identify in a culture is an ‘old paradigm of missions’ ...the future is flooding the world with short-termers,” etc ….

Not so. Never has been. Never will be.

“Many years ago a little Chinese girl fearfully stepped into the house of some newly-arrived missionaries 100 miles north of Beijing. Her parents had insisted that she listen to nothing these “foreign devils” would say to her; she was only to help with the children, for her family desperately needed the extra income.

She didn’t listen. But she saw the husband open doors for his wife and treat her lovingly in other ways. She was totally astonished. Christianity was for her!

Her grandson, Thomas Wang, is one of the most widely-known Chinese believers in the world today.

Only foreign missionaries physically present can make such an impact. In many countries the mistreatment of women, even by pastors, continues precisely because something else has not been modeled for them by redeemed believers from afar. Sending money to such pastors won’t make those changes. Sending money cannot take the place of sending godly people, godly families.

This is what it means to respond to Jesus’ call for us “to be my witnesses,” not just send words. Sending money is not sending witnesses. In all of the remaining untouched people groups there are, by definition, not yet any local pastors to pay to evangelize. Actions speak louder than words – or checks. The sheer example of a Christian family is the most often under-rated factor in missions!”

Ralph Winter’s editorial in Mission Frontiers, Nov-Dec, 2005

(Painting is “St. Paul Preaching to the Thessalonians” by French artist, Gustave Dore, 1832-1883)

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