Does the Lord have thoughts on the subject of Aggressive and Passive Ministries? To relate to this, lets examine an army. In an army, there are several activities in which it might find itself engaged, but the two most common are: “attack” and “defend.” You can see this on a football field when you examine the difference between an “offense” and a “defense.” The offense (attacker) brings the battle to the enemy, while the defense (defenders) wait for the battle to come to them.
Aggressive ministries are attackers while passive ministries are passive. Defenders entrench themselves into well fortified emplacements which have little, if any, mobility. They are stuck right where they are and can never alter their strategy. Attackers have good mobility and can alter their strategy when coming up against a well entrenched defense; they can simply go around them, thus cutting them off and leaving them to wither on the vine.
General George S. Patton
General George Patton knew this well and this is why he always pushed his army to attack; it kept them from converting into defenders. When he came up against an enemy in a fixed fortification, he simply bypassed them and left them there with nothing to do (if an attacker doesn’t engage a defender, then the defender has nothing to do). In this way the enemy can be completely removed from the fight by simply not engaging them.
The Lord’s followers have been likened to an army from time to time. This is because the Lord’s last command given to His disciples was to “go into all of the world…” The Lord’s intent is that His disciples would be “attackers”, bringing the gospel to the enemy, but this is not the situation today. Churches are full of people who never even tell one person about the loving salvation our Lord offers to all men. They dance around every subject but that, or they call something else salvation that really isn’t.
The unsaved people of the world are likened to the enemy because they serve Satan, God’s enemy. Christians who remain within the confines of the church and never get out into the fight are like defenders who are dug in waiting for the fight that never comes. Satan is like the enemy who simply bypasses the defended positions, cutting them off and surrounding them, waiting for them to die of starvation.
This is the sad situation we find the church in today: slowly dying of starvation because they are surrounded and cut off. Churches have invested so heavily into fortifying their position that they could not ever go over to the attack; they have no way of being mobile (i.e. bringing the fight to the enemy.). Satan has a heyday with the world because all of his opposition is safely tucked into the fixed fortifications of the church. Christians rarely step out onto his battlefield, so he has nothing to oppose him.
This is the main difference between aggressive and passive ministries. Missionaries most certainly are involved in aggressive ministries. They take the battle to the enemy over the souls of men. Because they are on the battle field, often times alone and outnumbered, they see the need for more aggressive Christians. Many times they have not even one person to watch their back, or stand beside them on the “front lines.” Because of this unique vantage point, they would like for more Christians to see this very important contrast between passive and aggressive ministry. They see that God’s army has fooled them selves into thinking they are aggressive when all the time they are really stuck in a fixed fortification waiting for the enemy to come to them. Many Christians feel like they are just hanging on when they don’t have to feel that way at all. Once they pick up a weapon (the gospel) and join their comrades on the battle field, there is little time for feeling like you are just hanging on.
If missionaries could get more people to see this, then more people would get involved. The more people get involved, the more the gospel is taken into the world. The more the gospel is taken into the world, the more people have an opportunity to get saved. The more people get saved, the more God likes it and Satan doesn’t.
So, one of the most important things any missionary would like for “missions minded” Christians to see is the difference between aggressive and passive ministries. One goes out and does something. The other sits and waits for something to happen. Then Christians could see they are not really doing as much as they thought they were doing.
I know that any army has more people involved in logistics than they do warriors. But before you rely on that as an excuse to stay inside of the fort, you need to consider this. Jesus didn’t tell anyone to go and build a fort and provide the logistics. He promised to take care of the logistics. He expects us to be the soldiers. So you must be very careful you don’t make any excuse for staying within the confines of the church, while at the same time convincing yourself you are a logistics expert–you are a soldier.