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Disillusioned with mission?

by on October 17, 2012

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people around Sydney who are feeling discouraged about mission. They’ve all run along similar lines:

Para-church groups, they often see people come to faith in Jesus. But in the local church? ‘In ten years of local church experience, I haven’t seen many,’ said one man. ‘So you get kind of disillusioned. People put all this effort into mission programs, and then nothing seems to happen, and they end up thinking, what’s the point?’

These are people who find they can’t keep it up long term, if disappointment is to be the normal experience. They just back off.

We’ve blogged about this recently, but it keeps coming up. Makes me wonder:

1. Are these people the disgruntled minority, or the tip of the iceberg? Are there many in our churches feeling the same way?

2. Our church leaders’ instinct will always be to tell people, ‘Don’t give up. Keep on keeping on.’ But is this the right response? Are these people right to feel the way they do – disappointed and disillusioned? Or should they not let long-term lack of results bother them, and just press on anyway?

From → General

  1. I think part of it is that people don’t actually believe ‘mission’ (as we generally practice it) will bear much fruit. And it’s hard to keep doing something hard when you don’t really believe it’s going to achieve anything.

    Maybe it’s not just hard to keep doing it though. Maybe there’s more to it…

    • I think you’re right, Dan, about people’s scepticism. But what I want to know is, why? Are people just prejudiced and lacking faith, or are they going from actual experience? Because knowing that affects the way we should respond.

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