Guest / Limited Access /

The official representative from Saddleback Church had just finished his powerful presentation of Rick Warren's P.E.A.C.E. plan. Afterwards, I told him that I use The Purpose-Driven Church in a doctoral-level course, and also how much I appreciate Warren's impact on the church. But when I mentioned the critical omission of missions in the book, this rep grinned in agreement. That's why he and I welcomed the P.E.A.C.E. plan (CT, October 2005, p. 32), which outlines a holistic approach to the church's responsibility to the world, conquering the "giants" of poverty, illness, and ignorance. The plan is marketed as a wholly new paradigm for doing missions.

Warren's well intended, helpful, and increasingly popular approach, however, is not fundamentally new. It tackles the Great Commission with methods that have been wending their way through the evangelical missionary movement for at least two decades: using (1) short-term teams and money via (2) church-to-church ministry (the local church "here" partnering with a local church "there"). Let's look at them before we examine an equally troubling theological shift.

Strategy Problems

1. Short-term teams and money. This "new" approach to doing the evangelistic part of missions began to emerge in the 1970s, especially with Calvary Chapel and other megachurches. And it has been wildly successful, at least in terms of raw statistics. While the number of long-term missionaries from North America has stayed basically static, the number of American laity involved in short-term projects grew from 22,000 in 1979 to more than a million today.

Of course, the appeal is irresistible for a generation wanting personal involvement now in something significant, but which does not require a long-term ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Summer
Quotations to stir heart and mind.
RecommendedAmericans Warm Up to Every Religious Group Except Evangelicals
Americans Warm Up to Every Religious Group Except Evangelicals
Pew finds fewer people personally know an evangelical anymore.
TrendingAll 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
All 240 Family Christian Stores Are Closing
More than 3,000 employees in 36 states will be laid off in the liquidation of one of the world’s largest Christian retailers.
Editor's PickMy Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
My Missionary Great-Grandfather Led Me to Christ
But only after I went to Japan in search of his life story.
Christianity Today
Lost Missions
hide thisJuly July

In the Magazine

July 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.