Thursday, March 25, 2010

Debunking The Hydraulic Theory of Missions...

Several years ago a friend shared a concept that's stuck with me: the hydraulic theory of missions. According to this theory, and apparently widely accepted by many people and churches, is that the only meaningful mission fields are found when one travels great distances... usually across some great body of water (that puts the "hydraulic" in the theory).

I'm fairly certain my friend did not endorse this theory. I believe he was simply pointing to its existence based on his observing many people
and churches practicing the principle behind the theory.

Having just returned from a mission experience in New Orleans, which indeed was of some distance from Abilene... and which did cause me to pass over a great body of water (the mighty Mississippi River), I'd like to add my voice to the debunking of the hydraulic theory of missions. Here's what I consider the most sinister, yea verily the most satanic, underlying principle in the theory:

1) Mission is always far away from you live (wherever that might be),
2) Few people have the wherewithal to get to those places (but God bless them for going) and

3) For those who do make it to those faraway places: plan to leave your passion/purpose for reaching people behind when you return home.

I'm thinking the insidiously evil message that lurks behind the hydraulic theory of missions is this: "Go, Christian soldier, if you must. But be deceived into thinking those same opportunities, people, needs you find in that faraway place you're visiting are NOT found where you live."

So... I'm standing up and shouting (if a blog post indeed has volume) that the hydraulic theory of missions is a bunch of bunk. Please don't misunderstand... I praise God for those who go to faraway places to serve and teach others in the name of Jesus. But for those of us who don't go to those places, or who visit them for a short time, we have
powerful opportunities for serving and teaching others in the name of Jesus right where we live.

Join me in living as a debunker of the hydraulic theory of missions.