“Can’t we all just get along?” became a popular saying after Rodney King uttered this question during riots in Los Angeles in 1992. Many would think these words are not needed in churches either because we have all already learned it isn’t really possible to get along or because they think that Christians already do get along! As it turns out, this same question needs to be asked about missions. Really? After all, aren’t all missionaries and missions agencies just focused on the Great Commission and the unfinished task to reach all nations? Aren’t they all really the same and working together and getting along and accomplishing so much for the kingdom of God?
Afraid not! As it turns out, the area of missions is just like any other area of the Church. The Church is made of people, people have trouble getting along, and therefore, those involved in missions still struggle in getting along. Different groups have different doctrine. Different groups have different strategies. Different groups are well, uh, different. For some reason we humans don’t work together so well when we are different. Differences very often create divisions.
If we can focus on areas in missions which are not up for debate, then all this getting along stuff can become a reality, sooner rather than later. Here are some thoughts that should keep us getting along and agreeing together.
1) More workers are needed!
Jesus told us in Matthew 9:37 that the laborers are few, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that more workers are needed. The Bible says so! However, there is a perception among some that all missions agencies have all their spots filled. Just contact any agency and any denomination or briefly scan their website, and you will see job description after job description of workers that are needed to go to the fields that are ready for harvest. Can’t we all just get along and pray together that more workers will be sent?
2) There are unreached nations!
Revelation 7:9 gives a preview of something to behold one day, but we all know that all nations are not worshipping together in this very moment. There is no debate, and we can all get along on this fact. Sources like the Joshua Project even back this up with statistics that there are at least 7,000 unreached people groups in this world. Can’t we all just get along and pray together that new people groups will hear the name of Jesus?
3) Workers need sending!
Romans 10:14-15 reminds us that the workers can’t go unless they are sent. If we all get along and pray that more workers will be sent, we better expect that the Lord will answer, and we better be prepared to send them! It takes preparation on the part of the worker and funding that comes from the Church in order that these called ones may go and do the task to which they are called. Differences certainly exist among workers and agencies and denominations when it comes to how they should be sent and what that process will look like, but can’t we all just get along and pray together that when God calls, we will send?
4) God will bring fruit!
James 5:7 reminds us that we must be patient just like a farmer waiting for fruit. The Lord will be the One who determines His coming and His timing for bringing fruit. Although certain Christians think they have the best strategy or the best training programs or the best handle on how to get the unfinished task all finished, we should all be agreeing that this will happen when God chooses it to happen. Rather than debate the right methods, can’t we all just get along and ask the Father to bring the fruit?
It doesn’t take one very long to investigate, even in the area of missions, and find that there are differences and divisions and debates that exist in the world of missions. However, there are some principles that are not up for debate. Perhaps we really could all just get along. Perhaps we really could just focus on the principles that unite us. Perhaps we really could see the Church be a catalyst for change in this world. Perhaps? Pretty please!
Kirsten McClain serves in church missions mobilization for OMF. She has been serving churches and mission agencies for the last 20 years. She has a heart to see the church realize her potential in missions and is driven to be a mobilizer to this end. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three children, and she is ready to direct pastors to the various resources that OMF uses to come alongside churches and individuals so that they can do missions well. firstname.lastname@example.org