Missionaries Prevent Movements
Missionaries prevent movements.
What if the thing that most prevents movements from growing are the missionaries that lead them? What if they are keeping the very thing they want to see happen from occurring? Are there beliefs and habits they have that sabotage their work of movement launching from the very beginning? If so, identifying and changing these habits should be one of their biggest prioritities.
That’s the theme of a provocative book written by Roland Allen entitled, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and Causes Which Hinder It. Written as a followup to an earlier book, Missionary Methods: St Paul’s or Ours?, Allen lays out the reasons why movements fail to expand spontaneously. At the end of the day, often it is missionaries who are the problem.
Although this book was originally written in 1927, it has become the most highlighted book I own. His thoughts are eerily prescient for today. Allen was way ahead of his time. It is said he lamented to his grandson that few people would understand his views until 10 years after his death. Many of the trends in mission he noticed 85 years ago still plague our efforts today. For me as a missionary I am humbled to think that I (or more accurately, my fears and desire for control) could be preventing the movements I am shepherding from growing.
I believe this book is so important and relevant to our times that I’ll be blogging on it multiple times over the coming weeks. I encourage you to read along and interact with me over the contents. You can read the entire book online or download a kindle version (both for free). My first post will go live in one week to give you time to start reading.
I can’t wait to see what happens as we read and think critically about or own leadership together. May we see a day where missionaries like ourselves no longer act in ways that prevent movements from expanding.
photo courtesy: uwehermann