“There’s no work here”

In missions research, I often hear this phrase, especially when I’m talking with someone who’s passionate about their people group: “There’s nothing happening here.”

It can be a difficult phrase. What does it mean? What do we mean by “nothing” and “happening” and “here”?

When we say “nothing” do we mean:

  • there’s no movement
  • there’s no response
  • there’s no engagement or team with a strategy
  • there’s no missionary influence here at all
  • there’s no plan to do so

When we say “happening” do we mean:

  • there’s no comprehensive strategy with ongoing results
  • there’s no fruit being borne
  • there’s not even any ongoing trips or visits into the area

When we say “here” do we mean

  • amongst the whole of my people group
  • in the particular area where I am working
  • amongst the people I have heard from

I have found I often know of things “happening” – but perhaps they don’t fit the criteria of “things” the person has, or perhaps they aren’t aware of it. Sometimes person A isn’t told things that persons B, C, and D are doing, even if person A is a well known mission leader or person of influence. Sometimes, what person B, C and D are doing is discounted as either unverified or invalid.

But I am finding that, often deep under the radar, “something” is happening in many “heres” – and although I still don’t think we are on track (yet) to reach all the peoples or even engage all the peoples and places, this gives me much hope that we might be on a path toward an exponential increase in engagements.

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