Back in February, The Reporter ran a story headlined “World Mission seeks 200-plus missionaries.”
There is a major confusion in the church today over the difference between serving others and mission work. Both are very important. One deals with temporal concerns and one deals with Word and Sacrament ministry. For some reason, the LCMS is pulling almost all of our Word and Sacrament missionaries from the field and replacing them with laymen who can serve as teachers, nurses and computer technicians.
Anyway, apart from that confusion, there’s something else I’ve noticed in how we talk about this service. From that most recent story:
If you have a “heart for service” and you can speak English, LCMS World Mission would love to talk to you about missionary service. …
“Anyone can serve,” says Jennifer Mustard, placement counselor for short-term service with LCMS World Mission. Having “a heart for service” and “a heart for people” is “the main thing,” she says.
Or note this Reporter story from a few years ago:
LCMS World Mission staff say they can place more than 250 people as missionaries right now — all they need are the people.
“People who have a love for people, people who love adventure, who have a love for other cultures and a willingess to be uncomfortable, an openness to change, and a heart for the lost, a heart for the Lord” are ideal candidates for missionary missionaries – classroomservice, according to Erin Alter, placement counselor with the Synod’s mission board.
The phrase “a heart for . . .” is repeated several times. Again, this is a horrible confusion. These hundreds of people sought for short-term service work are not doing Word and Sacrament ministry. They’re doing important service work. But if people abroad need the Word preached and the Sacraments administered properly, recent college grads with a “heart” for teaching English are not going to be providing that, obviously.
Anyway, I bring all this up to note how FCD Wyneken, one of the first presidents of the LCMS, described in 1842 the “heart” he had for coming to America to do actual mission work:
“Sadly, I have to confess to you, that, as far as I know, neither love for the Lord, nor love for the orphaned brothers drove me to America. I didn’t even want to go. I went there against my will, fighting it. I went because my conscience compelled me, because it was my duty. It grieved me then — and still grieves me, that I didn’t — still don’t love the Lord more and that He had to drive me out to work like a slave.”
From H.C. Wyneken, LEBENSLAUF VON A. F. C. BIEWEND (St. Louis: CPH, 1896), p. 28.
I wonder what The Reporter would have done with a quote like that!