Are the churches going out of the missionary business?

The Future Of The Missionary

The cause of world missions—the basic mission of the Church—is under terrific pressure today.

Atheistic Communism would destroy the Christian witness. Militant nationalism often opposes or subverts Christianity to her own ends. World uncertainties reduce the number of workers willing to venture into the arena of a global witness.

Within the missionary enterprise itself, moreover, tensions, frustrations and doubts arise as national churches emerge. The problem of the relationship of missions and missionaries induces much heart-searching and actuates new policy decisions. How, in these changing times, can the unchanging Gospel be trumpeted world-wide without unnecessary impediment by wrong attitudes and decisions? This is the issue these Christian leaders address.

This question is prompted by the increasing emphasis many boards are giving to interchurch aid as a substitute for direct and pioneer missionary outreach. While the pattern varies, its main features seem fairly well established. In any given field where an indigenous church body exists, the formal organization known as the “Mission” is to be dissolved. Missionaries are to be incorporated into the national church structure and made subject to its ecclesiastical direction; new missionaries are to come only on invitation of the indigenous church. All funds for the work are to be placed in the hands of the national church and administered through its own appropriate boards and committees. The personal support and expenses of the missionaries are to continue to come from abroad; sponsoring boards are to function primarily as subsidizing agencies that provide needed personnel ...

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