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Where are tomorrow’s missionaries?

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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
3701524828 ce518e7a87 1The  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?

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