<a href="https://biblicalmissiology.org/author/mstephan/" target="_self">Mark Stephan</a>

Mark Stephan

Mark has lived and worked in missions for all of his adult life, living and ministering in the Middle East for 7 years. Currently Mark lives and resides in the USA mobilizing for the field, and working hard to bring modern missions back to the heart of God, His glory. His goal is to build missional communities focused on Christ, that live out Christ incarnately, giving Him glory, and transporting those communities to the Middle East to continue glorifying Christ.

6 Comments

  1. Foibled

    Great post. I believe that the focus on unsaved man in missions is resulting in the next logical shift – one you treat partially – a focus on the missionary. Some of that is seeking applause, but I think that the most devastating manifestation of the focus on the missionary is found in missions as a means to the self-fulfillment of the missionary.

    http://foibled.org/2011/09/18/translation-is-my-life/
    http://foibled.org/2011/10/26/the-carla-controversy/

    Where I work, missionaries unabashedly raise the issue of how this or that structure, program or change will affect them with hardly a word about whether it will be more effective and not a whiff of a discussion about whether it will glorify God.

  2. roger dixon

    Biblical missiology mentioned by Mark in the 9th paragraph is missiology based in the Bible. The Bible explains all the points Mark makes. The way we stay on message about the glory of God is to remind one another of what the Bible says. We need to read and study both the O.T. and the N.T.
    The mistakes being made by people such as those following Insider Movement, Common Ground, and C1-C6 thinking are being made because they won’t interact on the biblical injunctions that direct us to seek God’s glory. Where does the Bible teach us to glorify or affirm or follow non-biblical religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others? Without a biblical worldview/theology, it is impossible to glorify God because that is where he describes the way we see and recognize and praise his glory.

  3. Nick Crown

    Nice article. I would love to see some good examples of Biblical Missiologists who have lived first to glorify God in spite of the desire to promote the inventions of men.

  4. Mark S.

    Excellent points Chuck and I’ll address these. Being in a blog format, the goal is to focus on one point, and drive the point home in as short of space as possible. What I didn’t cover in my article is how to carry out this in practical terms. I’ll probably write something on that later.

    The point of this article is drawing the attention to the current strategies we are doing, and the need to analyze all of them in the light of the glory it gives God, and its God-centric/Man-centric viewpoint.

    I do believe God wants us to strategize, but only doing so rooted from His perspective of giving Him the most glory. Not from the perspective of creating a man-focused strategy, and then trying to think of how it glorifies God. God has a strategy that is clearly marked out in the gospel, that spreads the gospel giving Him glory. He calls us to undertake that strategy of glorifying Him. The result will always be impacting. Yet we need to realize it’s not us doing the impacting, it’s God. Every God-centric strategy will always impact men. Not every impactful man-centric strategy will glorify God. Just look at the world of cults and false religions that have impacted man.

    I am not saying all missions strategies are not God-centric and giving Him the utmost glory. In fact I hope all would! I do know not all are focused on Him, and are frankly unbiblical. This website addresses some of those strategies they have adopted. Again, the goal of this article is to get everyone to look at themselves and their own ministries and to ask the fundamental question. “Does my ministry bring about the utmost glory that God demands from me and He deserves?” If not, then does it need to be scrapped and re-started at the root of God’s glory, or can it be transplanted and rerooted in God’s glory.

    More to come later…

  5. Chuck W.

    I agree that our ultimate goal is to glorify God, and this should be true in all we do, including missions. All that we do is tainted by the fact that we are all sinners. Non of us do anything with completely pure motives. But this does not mean that all current missions are out to lunch, or that to plan or strategize is not glorifying to God. To say we need to glorify God in missions is wonderful. To march out the door without a plan seems foolish. And maybe that is not what you are saying. There are numerous places in scripture where the Lord gave men a plan of attack – a strategy for accomplishing the task at hand. God does want to be glorified, but I don’t believe He is down on plans or strategies.
    Is it wrong to count the results? That seems to be your inference. When Jesus fed the hungry people on the hillside he asked how many fish the disciples had. When they were finished we are told how much was left. Jesus could have done this miracle without any reference to numbers, but for some reason he thought that was important.
    I agree that an over emphasis on numbers without giving glory to God and seeing how he worked is not good. However, since many times we are the ones to take the precious money of God’s saints and use it to reach a people group, shouldn’t we use this money wisely? How will we know if the money is used wisely if we don’t keep track of what happened? If a strategy is not working and very few lives are being changed, do we keep doing it as long as we are doing it to glorify God? No, we should not.
    My point is that all we do should be to the glory of God. And in the doing we should know what we are doing and have a plan or strategy for wisely using our time and resources.

  6. Kenny H

    A very insightful article. Coming from a church that is big on “missions” this gives me alot to think about in why and how we do what we do. “Mission exists not because worship doesn’t, it exists because God loves to glorify Himself through the telling and sharing of Himself.” I would also say that missions exists because we are obedient to “go forth….” But…I agree that glorifying God as the basis of all we do is critical to us as frail men keeping our perspective about missions. Numbers are not a indicator of success or failure in missions and when I see a person, group, organization say that this many souls were saved last year I often question whether they are doing it for God or their own glory. I have known tremendously Godly people who lived abroad that could not count success in numbers, but if you return to where they lived their legacy of loving God still continues to this day. It was about them glorifying God whether they knew it or not.
    Very good article.

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