Friday, June 13, 2008

Selecting the Right Mission Field.

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.


Dennis said...

Father Christian,
Feeling called to minister to the super rich (whom I like to think of as the 'poor in spirit') would it be more faithful for me to consider setting up shop in a major financial center like London or New York OR should I look at building a ministry in a place such as Gstaad or Davos?

The chance to be in a city near my own banker would be helpful, but the opportunity to discuss issues of importance while on the ski lifts with the flock would be invaluable.

Can you offer some advice?
Thank you.

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Lesser Brother,
Truly I must commend your mature exegetical skills; it's using the Scriptures in ways such as yours that has made GAFCON an international movement and success.

My advice is that you aim to have all these places covered, with additional branches in Aspen and St. Tropez. Initially though, you’re on the right track regarding your bankers, and this should lean you towards Switzerland – although for taxation purposes I would still recommend you register and operate out of a Monaco shopfront, since when it comes to watching over one’s shoulder and snooping at the paperwork before the cash is safely hidden in their delightful banks the Swiss are dreadfully precise. Better to just give the Swiss your proceeds in plain brown-paper bags and then let them do the worrying.

KJ said...

Of course, I'm no biblical scholar, but I've always thought that the Spirit's leading toward shepherding a flock can be confirmed when that leading guides one to others who believe every word they're told, thus resulting in speedy God-led funding of ministry with minimal fuss.