Why the Senders & the Sent Need Each Other

October 13, 2023 Brian W

When I went to the mission field, my agency helped my church to send me. In other words, my church defined the mission I was on. Tangibly, I was the extension of the church; our “man on the ground,” so to speak. When I came back to my church for a visit, I was treated like a staff member, and they even went so far as to help me participate in congregational votes, though that was inconsistent. In return, I was able to train those they sent on short-term trips, dramatically increasing the impact of the trip and inspiring many to make missions part of their life.

This was all for the good. I am grateful beyond my ability to express myself to my church and the people who supported me. This does not change the fact that neither I nor the church were prepared for the consequences. Serving the Missio Dei, the Mission of God, is a dangerous business. My church was not prepared to hold the mission in balance with their other ministries, which led us to careen from making my mission the main thrust of the church for short periods to practically forgetting I was on a mission for them. I was sending regular reports to the church about the mission’s progress, all of which went to our church’s mission team and Elders. After I had written my 75th report on my mission, the missions team discovered the Elders had not read any of the reports I had been sending, even though it was the mission they sent me on. This limited the blessing my mission could give my sending church and limited the blessing my sending church could give me.

My church, our national partners in my host culture, and I all missed out on so much that God was doing because all sides were unready, unprepared, and ignorant of what the Missio Dei, faithfully executed and supported, could accomplish for the local church. All of us, to some degree, fell into an ancient trap of the flesh and the Enemy, believing that the Missio Dei is a drain, a sacrifice the local church makes out of obligation toward God. The truth is, the Missio Dei is a river of grace and a source of blessing and power as the Holy Spirit weaves together disciples of Jesus Christ across barriers of culture, language, time, and space.


Brian W
Brian served 14 years in the Republic of Georgia, where he started a youth ministry, discipled new leaders, and planted over 15 new churches before serving in leadership of another missions organization. Brian is married to Maia and they have two children.