MR #8: Missions: The Salvage Operation
Picture a salvage ship sent to retrieve items lost at sea. To accomplish this task the captain and first mate diligently assemble the most qualified divers and technicians. Knowing that they will be accused of negligence and irresponsibility if anything goes wrong, the captain and first mate search for divers with expertise and technicians who are knowledgeable and capable.
Divers, technicians, and the crew are equally important to the task. The divers, working hundreds of feet below the surface, carry out the actual retrieval. Technicians meticulously care for the divers by monitoring their oxygen and detecting by sonar danger that surrounds them. The crew knows the purpose of the voyage and sensitively responds to the needs of both the technicians and the divers.
All participants in the salvage operation must be diligent. The divers must not become so distracted by the beauty of the sea and the pleasure of gliding through the water that they forget their task. The technicians must not become engrossed in a game of chess while the divers frantically signal for assistance. The crew should never be guilty of concentrating on reeling in a big fish and allow the ship to glide away from the divers.
The missionary church is like the crew of this salvage ship. Like the captain and first mate overseeing the salvage operation, the missions leaders in this church facilitate the selection and care for their missionaries. Working with the missions committee, they are diligent in selecting missionaries with training and expertise in taking the Good News to those of another culture. The missions committee, like the technicians on a salvage ship, is meticulous in providing for the needs of the missionaries. They are in constant contact and are aware of both struggles and triumphs that their missionaries experience. Missionaries, like divers carrying out the actual retrieval, work hundreds or thousands of miles away in a different culture bringing the lost into God’s sanctuary. The local church is the crew, who recognizes and supports the missionary task of the church. The local church, their missions leaders, members of the missions committee, and the missionaries on the field are all significant—and indispensable—working together to accomplish the mission of God (Adapted and expanded from Leydon 1986).