This title comes from an article by Paul Fleming. It makes us laugh but should make us cry. In practice, a lot of men are saying, “Send my sister.” Fleming goes on to write:
We men! We are the stronger sex; it has always been so! We send our gifts to mission fields, to which the women go. While up the steepest jungle paths, a woman bravely treads, We men, who are the stronger sex, do pray beside our beds. When women leave to go abroad, the heathen souls to reach, We men, who are the stronger sex, do stay at home to preach. While women, in some far-off shack, do brave the flies and heat, We men, who are the stronger sex, in cool and comfort eat. Fatigued and weary, needing rest, the women battle on. We men, who are the stronger sex, do write to cheer them on! O valiant men! Come let us sleep and rest our weary heads. We shall not be the stronger sex if we neglect our beds!
We do not deny the important role that women play in God’s work. Women from Galilee followed and ministered to Jesus and his disciples. Paul named several faithful women who served in the early churches. Over the centuries, thousands of women, both single and married, have left their homes to work in heathen lands. Some, no doubt, preached a little more than we think they should have, but probably because no man was there to proclaim the Gospel. Whether on the foreign field or at home in our churches, women are often the spiritual leaders because men have abdicated the position. Many times, women have a heart for God and a compassion for others that is lacking in men. This naturally attracts them to the mission field.
Women oftentimes have a desire to serve the Lord full-time just like men. At home, their full-time opportunities may be limited to church secretary or Christian school teacher, but on the foreign field, they can serve as missionaries. Missionary women understand what they should and should not do. They should work under the leadership of a male missionary or national pastor. They should teach ladies and children but not men. They may teach men to read and write or to speak English but may not teach Bible doctrine. They should not attempt to work in dangerous places where they risk being violated. Of course, single men have limitations on the foreign field as well. A well-prepared Aquila and Priscilla team is perfect.
Over the last twenty-one years at BBTI, the single female students have outnumbered the single male students by two to one. Some single graduates get involved in short-term missionary work, but as a rule, if they remain unmarried, they will not be career missionaries, especially the single men. Unmarried ladies are much more likely to go to the field as full-time missionaries than single men.
The great need is for men, single or married, who will go to the foreign field and stay. Thank God for the ladies who have this desire, but where are the men? Why are they avoiding missionary service? Could it be that they are not being confronted and challenged? Spurgeon said, “Not all men should be missionaries, but all men should struggle with it.” Pastor, make the men struggle with it. When they say, “I’m not called,” pressure them to tell you how they came to that conclusion. How much did they pray about it and study God’s Word on the subject? How did God reveal to them that they are called to stay? Do not let them off the hook so easily. Most of our churches are not producing missionaries; we should find out why! We support missionaries, but are we producing them?
Military experts tell us that seventy-five percent of our military age men are unfit for service: 25% lack a high school education, 30% are too ignorant to pass the entrance exam, 10% are disqualified due to criminal convictions, 27% are obese, and 32% of the age group have other disqualifying health problems. And since we have an all-volunteer military, a man can simply not volunteer. The same is true in God’s army. God may impress a man that he should go to the mission field, but that man has a will and can refuse; men do it all the time!
Disqualifying factors for missionaries are different, but they are numerous: LifeWay Research reports that 66% of young people drop out of church after high school. Others are addicted to pornography, video games, social media, texting, pleasure, money, and tattoo ink. Most want to simply be comfortable and live the good life. For those who are even somewhat interested in missions, there are many pitfalls and detours that lead anywhere but to the mission field. We as a church must protect potential missionaries from the wiles of Satan. We must nurture and encourage them by keeping the mission challenge before them.
Nothing short of real revival is going to produce male missionaries. We must fall in love with our Lord Jesus Christ and get interested in what is on his heart. He said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). He said to preach the Gospel to every creature; yet billions have never heard a clear Gospel message. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). His commandment to go and teach all nations is ignored; there are still thousands of unreached nations (people groups). He said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). We are unfriendly toward Jesus because we are not evangelizing the world as He commanded.
Yes, we need a real revival, one that would result in men saying, “Here am I, send me” instead of saying, “Here’s my sister, Lord, send her.”