Following the last two days’ teaching on mission a certain clergyman who could be on vacation has written seeking advice on identifying potential mission fields.
This is an important question, since it addresses both the very heart of ministry – church finances – as well as the minor issue of proclaiming the Gospel to those who will be spending eternity in Hell because they probably won’t listen anyway.
I believe there are three simple steps which if followed make selecting a profitable location for mission easy:
1. Identify the purpose of your mission.
Is it revenue generation or asset protection? Your answer will define where you choose to go, since those places most favourable to creating parish revenue are normally also the least safe countries in which to sojourn: we’re talking about places like Columbia, Northern Thailand, Afghanistan and certain public lavatories on the Moscow underground.
2. Be certain of your mission’s Biblical Theology.
If travelling to protect your assets have a clear understand of the Bible’s teaching on paying tax: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" Mark 12:17). In obedience to this binding revelatory Word of Scripture one must always be careful to not give Caesar anything which he isn’t owed, and since he’s been dead for almost two thousand years it’s highly unlikely Caesar is entitled to a single cent of your hard-earned assets. As a GAFCON Christian your book-keeping has been justified and washed whiter than snow: don’t let Satan’s accusing demons from the world’s taxation departments falsely accuse you.
3. Determine the climate you find most conducive to Bible study.
If your tastes run to swimwear and bare flesh (i.e. you have been called to teach on Song of Solomon and certain verses from Genesis) then you shouldn’t consider ministry to the opium farmers of Nepal, while if you instead feel drawn to the turmoil of Judges or the Babylonian conquest of Israel your leather/PVC cowboy suit will leave you feeling most uncomfortable while laying on a beach in Belize. In that case you’re better off forgetting about launching a mission to topless super-models on the Côte d'Azur.
Once any Bible-believer has systematically worked their way through these steps the rest is easy. Just draw up a list of places which meet your criteria and consult with a good accountant (I’ve always a great respect for Arthur Andersen), an attorney experienced in matters involving customs fraud and extradition (just in case things go wrong), and a discrete travel agent. Let them decide the best destination on your list and the mission will be run more smoothly than an evening’s jelly-wrestling at Archbishop Akinola’s house.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.