- Encuentro fallido o que no ha respondido a las expectativas.
Translation: A failed encounter, or one that has not measured up to expectations.
- Discrepancia, no coincidencia de opiniones.
Translation: Discrepancy, divergence of opinions.
One of the main concerns I have related to church planting ministry on the part of foreign missionaries in
I am not exactly sure of the real causes behind this. Some may be tempted to blame it on closed-mindedness, elitism, and lack of missionary vision on the part of local leaders. Others may blame it more on cultural insensitivity and an independent mindset on the part of foreign missionaries. In the case of some missionaries, lack of fluency in the local language, and lack of intentional efforts to provide established channels of meaningful interchange and communication have left them in a virtual default mode of either working alone, or almost exclusively with other foreigners. There have been other factors, such as the withdrawal of the SBC from the Baptist World Alliance, in the specific case of us as Baptists, that have led to misunderstanding and even some degree of disillusionment and distrust on the part of some. Even the war in
When “New Directions” was first introduced to us on the mission field back about eight years ago, one of the main concepts presented was the idea that reaching a “people group” for Christ was a “God-sized task,” requiring both miraculous divine intervention, as well as the unified cooperation of the entire Body of Christ, both in the area in which one is working, as well as around the world. I personally believe this idea was and is 100% on target. However, for some reason, in the ensuing application of this ideal, perhaps in the interest of breaking out of the box in which our traditional working agreement with our national partners had limited us, perhaps in the interest of exploring new horizons and new ways of doing things, in many cases, our relationships with national churches and leaders have languished.
The interesting thing I have observed, however, as alluded to above, is that this phenomenon has not been limited to us as IMB workers, but seems to have permeated, at the same time, the general ethos of many foreign workers of an assortment of different missionary organizations. Of course, there are some notable exceptions, both within the IMB as well as other groups. I cannot speak with any degree of authority regarding the situation in other parts of the world. Even as far as
I have observed, with interest, the news that Bobby Welch has recently been named as “Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee.” Morris Chapman said that Welch is to be “Southern Baptists’ ambassador to those leaders in other countries who are interested in building relationships as likeminded brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
I wish Dr. Welch all the success in the world in this new endeavour. However, I hope both he and those who have entrusted him with this responsibility realize how much he really has his work cut out for him. Also, that if the aim for which this position was created is really going to be accomplished, it will not just be due to the efforts of one man alone. I am convinced that, if we are really going to move forward, in terms of evangelizing the world, and church planting movements, we are all, as representatives of the SBC and of the Lord Jesus Christ, going to have to make some significant progress in our ability to work more closely with national churches and believers in the various countries in which we live and work.