This post from Missionary Confidential is well worth reading and pondering upon. I suspect that it could also be applied to some evangelistic work in the UK, too.
Just over a year ago, I read “Following Up on Your Mission Trip” and was jolted by the honesty of this:
“I first became aware of the hurt we can unwittingly inflict when some co-workers of mine had stones thrown at them in a Mexican neighborhood. The same kids who in years previous had attended our Vacation Bible Schools had become sick of being ‘dissed’ by American youth groups whose leaders, whether out of ignorance or presumption, had no plan beyond four days of ministry, a trip to the beach, and a quick adios to their new friends. The locals had caught on to the shallowness of their commitment and vented their hurt rather eloquently.”
Wow. Can’t imagine this got reported back to the sending churches. When I’ve heard mission reports about difficulty with the nationals, it’s usually chalked up to “resistance to the Gospel”—which, of course, it can be. But would someone honestly tell a congregation, “The locals became annoyed at being seen as a project, not as people”?