The Problem of Missionary Volunteer Drop-Outs -- By: J. Paul Dowdy
GJ 7:2 (Spr 66) p. 22
The Problem of Missionary Volunteer Drop-Outs
[Rev J. Paul Dowdy, served as a missionary to Argentine for twenty-five years under the Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church. He is presently Instructor in Missions at Grace Theological Seminary.]
In recent years the high school drop-out problem has become a matter of some concern, and is receiving serious attention in some quarters. In view of the serious consequences for both the drop-out and the community, parents and civic leaders as well as educators must work together in seeking a solution.
There is another kind of drop-out who deserves some serious consideration. This is the missionary volunteer drop-out. Obviously the whole community will not become concerned with this problem. It is a problem for the church, and every church member should help to solve it. Unfortunately not all are even aware that there is a problem. Worse yet, it appears that no organized, concentrated effort to cope with the situation is under way on a denominational or missionary society scale. The Brethren Youth Council is now developing a registry or file card system for the purpose of maintaining vital contact with volunteers for full-time Christian service. This is commendable and should prove to be very useful. Most Christians who attend church regularly will be aware of the fact that in youth rallies, camps, and evangelistic meetings a goodly number of young people offer their lives for service. Then from time to time they also hear of how few there are who actually become candidates for the mission field.
By way of comparison it can be seen that this kind of drop-out is a more serious matter than the high school drop-out. The student who fails to finish high school or college will find it difficult to secure profitable employment. The results of such a situation are largely personal and mainly in the economic realm, though frequently also producing moral problems. The missionary volunteer drop-out does not escape the personal consequences which, in this case, are mainly spiritual. In addition, the failure to go on to the mission field will affect the eternal well-being of perhaps hundreds of other people. His failure to go with the gospel to the lost of the world results in irreparable consequences.
For several years the shortage of candidates has been causing concern among mission leaders. In a special missions issue of Moody Monthly magazine last year it is said that the director of TEAM “asserts that evangelical missionary societies need no less than 7,500 new
GJ 7:2 (Spr 66) p. 23
missionaries to meet present demands.”1 To recognize such a need raises the ...
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