Now Tell Us How You Really Feel

I’d like to thank everyone who’s sent emails and comments in support of our move. I’m not sure what it means when people seem to be glad you’re leaving, but I’m going to take it as an encouragement.

One thing that many people are asking is whether I’m going to really let someone have it in a blog post now that I’m leaving the organization. One friend wrote, “So are you going to let loose on your blog now that you’re free?”

I think I know what they mean. When I’m out from under the Board’s authority, I shouldn’t have any inhibitions about writing a negative post about my former employer. The thing is, I have boldly expressed myself about the things that have bothered me about the organization and about missions in general. I don’t have to “let loose” now, because I’ve used this blog as an outlet for years now. Maybe I’ve tried to be diplomatic about it, but I’ve freely expressed my thoughts, questions, and ideas regarding my organization, co-workers, and denomination. My conscience is clear.

The longer I’ve been on the field, the more uncomfortable we’ve become with our missionary system. I’ve written about that at every turn along the way.

In I posted my concerns about narrowing parameters in the Southern Baptist Convention, and questioned whether or not there was still room for me here:

Some bloggers are asking whether we’ve gone too far in restricting the parameters of who is “in” and who is “out.” Others are insisting that we haven’t gone far enough. Through all of the discussion, the boundaries are drawn and redrawn, and I get the feeling that I’m no longer welcome. I can’t help but wonder, “Is there still room for me?”   -Is There Room For Me? 2 October, 2006

Way back in December of 2005, about finances in the organization, I wrote:

People are tired of sacrificially giving their hard-earned money to a faceless corporate institution that both defines “the Task” and measures its own progress in fulfilling that task. “It’s going to cost us $800 million for us to finish the task,” the organization might say. But beyond that, there is no real accountability as to how the money is spent or even as to where the financial figures come from.    -Financing the Machine, 21 December, 2005 

I’ve regularly addressed my missiological concerns, but rarely as concisely as I did here:

I cannot accept a missiology that essentially puts us on “auto-pilot” in terms of to whom we should go. The second we assume where and in whom God is going to work, we get ahead of Him and disqualify ourselves from full participation in what He’s doing. This missiology is essentially either/or; missions is either relating to those people that God leads us to, or it is targeting the next “lostest” people group according to our statistics and research. It cannot be both, because the second assumes a monopoly on the first. How else can we explain so many of our workers feeling called to work among “reached” peoples?   -Messed Up Missiology, 3 December, 2006

I haven’t pulled any punches when voicing my concerns with Church Planting Movements as Strategy, either:

I refuse to believe that the reason we aren’t seeing Church Planting Movements is that we just haven’t gotten it right yet. I’m tired of seeing good, faithful people feel pressure to produce something that is totally out of their control. We have people on the field that feel like complete failures because they haven’t seen God re-create what He did in Asia, and it weighs heavily on them. It’s time to re-evaluate our strategy and goals.   -Where Are The CPMs?  25 January, 2007

I have tried to be honest about my questions and concerns along the way. I believe that the process has helped me grow and learn. Even though my thoughts here haven’t always been well formulated, I appreciate the outlet for discussion. Many of my readers (if “many” can be applied to so few) are still with the IMB, and I would like to continue to dialog with them about ways to be even better about doing missions.

So no, don’t hold your breath for some scorching exposé about my organization as I leave. For all my questions and concerns, I really like the IMB, and I’m thankful for the opportunity they’ve given me to serve.

5 thoughts on “Now Tell Us How You Really Feel

  1. I think what people are wanting to see from you is what they are probably unable to do in their own life; and that is to simply be honest. Trouble is, most folk don’t know how to be honest without being an asshole. Honesty doesn’t come without certain relational considerations like deference, kindness, and discretion. Me, I’d rather not leave a smoldering trail behind me and turn around several years later and wonder what that awful burning smell was.

  2. well, it’s been an interesting ride, h’aint it?

    my mind wanders now over a few small details, and i’d love to hear your thoughts on them …

    now that you are leaving the organization, and leaving the country where you serve, what will happen to the people whom you have worked with (the nationals) and what are you leaving them to go on with (the big ‘reproducibility question)?

    who is going to continue your work once you leave? is your team strong enough to keep the momentum going? have you all picked a new team-leader?

    do you feel that God has led you from point A to point B to point C, but may eventually lead you back to point B (at some point)? that asks a lot of you with regards to the will of God, but i’m just curious.

    i hope and pray that this all works out for you.

    ewinwe

  3. Watchman,
    As my mother used to say, “Honesty is the best policy.”
    It’s strange to have had so many comments deriding my “openness,” and then to have others begging for me to write “how I really feel.”

    ewinwe,
    Great questions. Those are the practical things that I rarely have discussed on this blog. I think I’m going to make my answer a new post.

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