You should have gone before we left

It has been striking me more and more recently that I am, at this point in my ministry, doing pretty much everything I said I would never do on the mission field before I got here. I am teaching English for ministry. I am using - and creating - systematized programmes for evangelism and discipleship rather than responding flexibly to individual situations. And, as we plan what happens to my various preaching and teaching slots from January, I realise that I have taken on more work than is sustainable and reproducible.

How can churches support missionaries?

So I do read the comments here, even if I don't always respond to them. And if there are good and interesting questions I do try to answer them. (Gervase, I am not ignoring your question about doctrine; I have half an answer in my head, and I'll post it in a bit, but it's a good and interesting question so I want to spend some more time thinking about it.)

On someone else's dime

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The missionary life is, let's face it, luxurious, unreal and a little bit scary. Now I don't doubt that for some missionaries, the word “luxurious” may raise a few hackles. I know many of my brothers and sisters out there are having a really hard time. But at the same time, I imagine that most of them still have the freedom to decide their own schedules, to determine their own workload, and to prioritize spending time with people - rather than having to get up and do whatever someone else tells them, which is most of how their friends back home live.

Mission in the Middle

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I'm a visionary, big-picture kind of bloke. I like knowing where we're going and not caring about the details. In that sense, the missionary job is ideal for me - there's a very definite big picture. I know what mission in the large looks like: we want to see everyone in Japan given the opportunity to know about Jesus.