“We must do it now because soon the doors will close again.” This has become one of the main motivating statements for fund-raising in Euroamerica. Missions establish a sense of urgency and push their programs through while getting bigger and faster. Whole armies of missionaries have been motivated in this way, in most cases poorly equipped for their task. A case in point is the CoMission Project. Promising the Russian people to teach their children sound Judeo-Christian ethics, CoMission workers were granted permission to enter the former Soviet Union to an unimaginable extent. And what came of it? We created a very superficial 11-lesson course, taught this in a couple of weeks to thousands of mostly young people ready to teach the Russians, and sent them over. One leader told me, “Time is short; they will not allow us to stay for more than five years anyway. We can’t spend our time on training real ethics teachers.”
CoMission cheated a whole nation by promising ethics and actually doing simple evangelism. What kind of Christian ethics is this? Yes, there should always be an urgency in missions, but the speed and method we use cannot be determined by our sponsors or boards. Is it not the Lord and only Him who should set our timetables? And didn’t He teach us differently? The myth of ungodly urgency must be destroyed.
Edited excerpt reprinted with permission from Johannes Reimer, “Mission in Post-Perestroika Russia,” Missionalia 24 (April 1996), 16-38.
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