. . . posts on faith and life
This topic is a little sticky for several reasons. One of those is the fact that I am a missionary with COGWM. It’s not that I fear reprisal. I have never seen anything there that has led me to believe that that would happen. It’s just that the whole department has been a little on edge ever since the last General Assembly, and understandably so. Thus, suggestions at this point are probably a little hard to swallow. I understand that. Nonetheless, the whole point of this blog is to encourage CoG ministers and members to be able to talk openly and honestly about our future, and so far I have heard little (in the open anyway) from the missionaries themselves on the topic of the future of COGWM.
It is also a bit of a complex topic. It involves a variety of issues including the internationalization of the church, our centralized form of church government, the appointment of church officials (and the politics that it fosters), to name a few. So, I think this will be a topic that I will hit on in bits and pieces. For now I want to only raise one fundamental point about the defense of our system in its current form.
I am feeling bearish on the current structure of COGWM. I don’t know if we will enter a full blown depression, but a recession has definitely begun. The primary defense of our current structure that I have heard is that it has increased the number of missionaries that we are able to put on the field today compared to the number of missionaries we were able to put on the field under the previous structure (see comments for explanation of the two structures). The problem is this, bigger is not always better.
If a person does not assume that more missionaries means a better missions program then there seems to be little defense of the current system. Could it be that we could actually have more global impact by focusing our energy and resources on our most effective missions projects and missionaries? My pastor is constantly bombarded with requests for donations to missions work and other non-profit organizations. Many churches are involved in supporting a lot of great ministries that are not affiliated with their particular denomination or association. Is it possible that we have “over taxed” the church with requests for their time and money? And how is the current structure taxing the missionaries themselves. A wise administrator once told me this very good bit of wisdom: “We have 3 times the number of missionaries that we had before. But does it really matter if they are only on the field 1/3 of the time?”