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Where are tomorrow’s missionaries?

The  study I referenced in yesterday’s blog showing a 40% drop in empathy among young people should be an alarm bell for all American Christians who care about missions.   Empathy is one of the driving motivations for those pursuing a call to missions. So, if young people no longer …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
The  study I referenced in yesterday’s blog showing a 40% drop in empathy among young people should be an alarm bell for all American Christians who care about missions.
 
Empathy is one of the driving motivations for those pursuing a call to missions. So, if young people no longer feel the empathy that would cause them to want to make the necessary sacrifice to leave home, what are we to conclude? And if we look at the numbers of young people going as long-term missionaries, we have to ask, what does it mean for America as a missions-sending nation?
 
As a lifelong missionary now in my 50’s, I’m beginning to ask the question, “Where are my replacements?”  Where are those who care about discipling as Jesus discipled? Where are those who will plant churches that make disciples?

 

As I wrestle with this issue, the good news is that some are going. This week we are sending a team of four young women
as missionaries to Cambodian bar girls. The sex trade in Phnom Penh
appalls them and they are putting their lives on the line to help stop
it.
 
But, the bad news is that this is the only team of young people we’re
sending out as long-term missionaries this year.
 
Signs of hope

Where do we look as we seek to build a strategy to raise up the next generation of missionaries? I see hopeful signs around the world:

  • Nick Hindes’ team
    in Kenya has been giving up its food in order to feed 250 families who would otherwise go hungry.
  • Africans like Uche from Nigeria are going to places like Sudan with the Gospel.
  • As we travel to Spain in a few days to Andrew Shearman’s leadership school, we’ll be with a group of young people there who get all this and are prepared to make a difference.
This trend can be reversed as young people choose a
different route than their peers. Together we need to commit to raising up and sending out missionaries. Many young people are beginning to wrestle with this issue at a visceral level. I believe that a generation is  rising up that will go to the nations and bring the hope of Jesus to dark places.
 
What do you think, where will tomorrow’s missionaries come from?

Comments (5)

  • Thanks Seth, for caring and communicating what God is revealing to you. I am believing with you Seth, that a generation is rising up that will go to the nations and bring the hope of Jesus to dark places. I was thinking all day about what you shared yesterday in your post. I also see a lack of empathy with our own kids and the younger generations and it does concern me. So I am praying about how we can be part of a change with teaching empathy. I am working with a small group of girls now and I hope and pray that by doing that, it will make a small difference in the world. I am thinking I need to do more “empathy training” with my own kids and my 10 small group girls, so am going to try to do more of it in the future. If we just read God’s word and allow these kids to think and respond, that is empathy training. I am trusting God to provide tomorrow’s missionaries! I believe He will raise them up!

  • please do any help to 35 blind pastors and 150 poor pastors and church construction and gospel of poor
    orphans
    may god bless you

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Maybe we need to “re-think” our own “wineskins” of how & where to “missionize?” I am a missionary right here in America to the youth… I travel all over the USA, starting in my village, the neighboring villages, throughout Ohio, then other parts of USA…preaching the gospel of repentance for the remission of sins by a Father in heaven who is so in love with them, that his kindness leads to repentance, and then introducing them to the real Jesus… This is setting the fire of evangelism & mission zeal. They inside want to do it, they just have few “leaders” whether it is in their church, home, or media… These missionary-to-be youth are waiting, but how can they believe unless one is sent to tell them? It starts in the home…parents, church…pastors.

  • Ditto with St. Mark. We need to start sending missionaries out into America. Those of us who are going out need to also be an example to those around us. Often times, it is the people you are close to who can touch your heart and push you to change.

    Look at the bright side, about 200 young people are launching in January to go and serve the world. 🙂 I am sure that plenty of them will continue what they will be starting next year, I know I most certainly will, and the group is a rowdy bunch who care about expanding the Kingdom of God. We are all like torches… all you need to do is light one to light them all.

  • Emy,

    it was good to see you at camp. You’re right – you are like torches! Thanks for being one of those who goes.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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