What happened to our missionary vision?

Have we lost our missionary vision? In the Evangelical world, it can sometimes feel that we have lost the same heart and passion for seeing ‘souls saved’ in order that we can see ‘communities transformed’. It is true that one can lead to the other but the reversal of priority order is problematic for the evangelical movement.
It is exciting to see the people fed, sanitation restored, lifestyles improved, the poor cared for and these things should be mightily applauded but if the cost is an eternity in hell rather than heaven, are we selling ourselves and our faith short? Are we becoming satisfied with 2nd best?
In Numbers 32, we see the Reubenites and the Gadites seeking land that was not a part of the promise. Yes, they helped the promised land to be taken but they settled in an area on the wrong side of the Jordan – they forsook the promise for 2nd best.
As evangelicals it is my contention that we get the order right in our mission – souls saved and communities transformed. The former must take priority and the consequences will benefit all of society, otherwise we may fail to take hold of all that God has promised….that would be a shame.

transformation or production

Having worked for a number of charities, it is interesting to observe the changes as a fledgling charity grows to maturity.  Often, a new charity is focussed on people and the transformation/s  that occur in peoples lives, it brings life, encourages others to participate and there is a real sense of ownership.  However, in time, it is possible that significant shifts may occur, shifts that seem insignificant but in time will move the charity from a focus on transformation to one of production.

For example, a youth charity may begin by impacting the lives of young people and with success there may be dreams of meeting more young people, in order to help and support them.  It makes sense to meet them in a place where they spend most time, school.  This approach is good, makes sense and is fruitful.  However, it does not take too long before the measure of success becomes, how many lessons have been taken, how many assemblies, how many lunch clubs.  Whilst these things are not wrong, it does show a shift from transformation to production.  A slight move from the centre will impact the place of destination – the measure has moved from how many lives are transformed to the place of how many activities we do, so that we may transform lives.  This is a subtle but significant difference.

The same change can be seen in any labour of love as it grows and develops, as others join the cause and as funders seek to make ‘a bigger bang for their buck’  – the question we need to concentrate on is, which is most important, transformation or production?