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(Opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the convictions of the Missions Task Force or the Boards of our Church.)  I just wanted to get that disclaimer out there at the beginning .  I believe in missions because I believe in the mission of God.  Sometimes we use the Latin phrase because it makes us sound smart; “The Missio Dei” is the idea that God has a plan for mankind and that He is active in His mission.  What does He want?  He wants to save people of every tribe, tongue and nation and restore them to His image.  His primary agent in doing that is the church.  We should be very involved in seeing His desire accomplished by investing our time, treasure and talents to that end.  We should care about our neighbors and we should care about people far away.  We join in partnership to reach those who are far away by praying for missionaries and by giving our finances to send missionaries.  I hope you will join us in that endeavor for 2019.  So far you probably wonder why I started with a disclaimer.  Here’s why; I think the “Golden Age” of American Missions is over.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be involved in global outreach.  It means we should be involved in a different way.  The post WW2 model and paradigm worked!  People all over the world came to know Christ as their Savior.  We should rejoice in this!  Now, however, we are in the minority.  Americans are the minority in the church at large.  Should we be ashamed that other countries are sending out more missionaries than the United States?  I don’t think so.  (I could be wrong, see the disclaimer) It seems like we should be happy that the gospel has so permeated the global culture that other nations are taking the initiative to evangelize their neighbors.  We should be asking, “What can we do to help them?”  Many need theological training and leadership skills.  I’ve been told that only about 5% of the pastors in the global south (south of the equator) have any theological training at all.  Nationals are far better at reaching their own people than Americans will ever be.  However, they need the tools to teach well and to serve the church in ways that produce a flourishing life.  I’d like us to think, pray and give to that end.  (Here’s a link if you’d like to make a commitment to missions on-line)