I’m all for providing clean water and food for the needy. Really, I am. Our team in the Philippines operates daily feeding centers and other humanitarian efforts. But that’s not our mission. Our mission is much more important than that.
The “Great Commission” – our marching orders – was given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
There are two problems with how modern missions approaches the Great Commission:
Confusing Method With Mission
Our mission has been clearly given to us. It’s not open for debate or changes. It is to be obeyed. In accomplishing this mission, we are free to be creative. We can use innovative methods and outreaches for making disciples. What we cannot do is make one of those methods our mission. Digging a well in Jesus’ name is fine, as long as you use it strategically to make disciples. It’s not okay to dig a well, dedicate it, shake hands, and leave. You just donated a hollow method; when it is not connected to the mission, it means very little.
Forgetting Our Rank
A servant is not in the business of creating jobs to do. A servant does the job the master gives him. The problem today is that many missionaries and missions organizations are creating their own mission instead of receiving the one already given. This creates all sorts of problems, the most severe being forgetting the mission altogether.
Just imagine that a servant is given a task to do, but after working on it for a while, he decides he could do something more productive. Maybe what he chooses to do instead is a good thing, but it’s not what he was assigned to do. When the master asks for a report, will he be pleased?
It is our job to accomplish the task, and be creative in doing so. It is not our job to create a new mission.
So, if you are digging a well for a community in need of water, that is a good thing. But it’s only a great commission thing if it is directly used as a tool to make disciples.
Don’t just dig the well; do something with it.