I work in Papua New Guinea with a Bible translation group. I am not a Bible translator, and I am not a literacy worker. I work in the publications office typesetting Scripture and printing literacy material for the group. I also share in the general office work, the same as everyone else in the office—tasks such as answering doors and phone calls, buying supplies for the bush teams, and filling in where needed. Not very exciting, but everyone here knows that our specific and general jobs are just as necessary and important as any of the ‘exciting’ ministries. The goal is Bible translation, accomplished through many ministries.
God brought us all over here to get a job done, and as members of the Body of Christ, we all have a part—big and small—and Scripture says each part of Christ’s body is equally important. I wonder, however, if the stateside churches realize this equality of ministries. I wonder whether Christians at home are getting a realistic picture of missions when churches go overseas for short mission trips and accomplish only the flashy special projects. Yes, the team members come away excited because they were part of building an orphanage, or a bush house, or a school room. Yes, the global workers and people who benefit are thrilled and grateful for fellow Christians willing to give of their time and money—but what about the small jobs that are not being accomplished because the mission does not have the workers?
Should the church’s leaders not be helping its members realize that the small boring jobs are as equally important as the big exciting jobs? Could they not teach this lesson: God needs evangelists overseas and He needs plumbers; He needs church planters and secretaries? Otherwise, I am concerned that if mission-trip organizers continue to have the mindset that people won’t want to take a trip just for general handyman work, then the Church will believe that I am ‘just’ a support worker.
If that happens, missions will continue to have a huge need for support workers. Taking it a step further, the church may begin to believe that stateside church workers are of higher importance than overseas workers, which will mean missions will continue to have unmet needs for Bible translators and global workers in all fields.
The trend would continue: Pastors are more important than church secretaries. Sunday school teachers are more important than mid-week volunteers. God did not intend that at home, and He does not intend it overseas. God values every individual and the role every individual plays in the Kingdom. I am a little toe, and God needs me!