Missionaries need to quit boring us with technicolor travelogues and plunge us into an understanding of the theology of missions, the sociology of people movements, and the anthropology of cross-cultural evangelism.
What Richard Foster is describing is the role the professional missionary should play. As it stands, it is very easy for missionaries to give us exactly what we expect. Few of us want to dig deep into the theology of missions, sociology of other peoples, and anthropology of cross-cultural evangelism. We just want some pretty pictures and an avenue through which we can feel as if we are involved in missions, though missionary and Church alike are only scratching the surface of the need.
The great call of Christ to share the good news requires much more from both the missionary and the church behind the missionary. For our part, we need to take a better look at our responsibility. What are we to do for Christ? What responsibility do we as partnering/supporting churches have for our missionaries?
Richard Foster continues:
Nothing could motivate us to simplify our lifestyles more than a clear understanding of our responsibilities to the many "hidden cultures" of the earth that have no Christian witness.
Now, he is speaking specifically to simplicity—a call to us all, but not the specific topic here—but as Christians praying for the Dong people, what do we need to fulfill our call to pray?
Let us all encourage the missionaries for which we pray to share with us more of the theology of missions from a first hand perspective, to describe the lessons they learn the hard way. Let us ask them to explain how a movement of people for Christ can take place among the Dong. Let us strive to understand with them more about how the Dong work and what it will take to evangelize in a completely different cultural context.
This will strengthen the work among the Dong. This mutual edification will sharpen the iron of both sides and better enable both the missionary and the Church to see the name of Christ glorified among the Dong people.