Transcriber's Note: In order to maintain appropriate line length, some tables have been transposed, i.e. rows are columns and vice versa.
MISSIONARY SURVEY AS AN AID TO INTELLIGENT CO-OPERATION IN FOREIGN MISSIONS
ROLAND ALLEN, M.A. SOMETIME S.P.G. MISSIONARY IN NORTH CHINA AUTHOR OF "MISSIONARY METHODS, ST. PAUL'S OR OURS," ETC.
THOMAS COCHRANE, M.B., C.M. LATE PRINCIPAL OF UNION MEDICAL COLLEGE, PEKING, AND HON. SECRETARY OF THE LAYMEN'S MOVEMENT, LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY
This book, written by Mr. Allen, bears both our names because we studied the material together, and settled what should be included and what excluded. We discussed and disputed, and finally found ourselves in complete agreement. We therefore decided to issue the book in our joint names, on the understanding that I should be allowed to disclaim the credit for writing it. But the book would never have been written at all save for the inspiration and help of Mr. S.J.W. Clark, who, in his travels in nearly every mission field, has brought an unusually acute mind, trained by a long business experience, to bear upon mission problems, and has done more hard thinking on the question of survey than any man we know.
Let anyone who doubts the need for survey study the present distribution of missionary forces. He will find little evidence of any plan or method. In one region of the world there are about four hundred and fifty missionaries to a population of three millions, while in another area with more than double the number of people, there are only about twenty missionaries.
After travelling in the latter region I asked one of the senior workers what in his opinion would be a large enough foreign staff, and he indicated quite a moderate addition to the existing force. Suppose I had suggested a total of a hundred missionaries, he would have declared the number far too large. Perhaps he was too modest in his demands. Conditions in one area differ from those in another. But such a wide difference in distribution and in demands makes the need of survey to ascertain facts and conditions absolutely imperative, especially when we remember that to the force of four hundred and fifty in the territory with the smaller population, missionaries will probably continue to be added and unevangelised regions will have to wait.
After surveying one of the better staffed divisions of the mission field, a missionary declared that not more missionaries were needed, but a more effective use of the force at work; and fortunately in that particular field central direction is beginning to secure that end. But usually there is no central direction and no comparison of plans between neighbouring missions on the field, although several missions may be located in the same town or city; and two Mission Houses in London may be almost next door neighbours, and may have missions in the same city in the Far East, and may yet be entirely ignorant of each other's plans for work in that city. They might be rival businesses guarding trade secrets! Hence it is not strange that when late in the day a survey of a city in China is made in which there are about two hundred missionaries, it is found that not one of them is giving full time to evangelistic work! Across the city of Tokyo a line could be drawn west of which all the foreign workers live, while east of it there are nine hundred and sixty thousand people without a single resident missionary!
But not only is intermission planning, based on survey, sadly lacking; few missions have thoroughly surveyed their own fields and their own work, and fewer still have surveyed them in relation to the work of others. The result is that policies are adopted and staffs increased in a way which—for all administrators know to the contrary—may be adding weight where it should be diminished, and may be piling up expenditure in the wrong place.
It should be pointed out, however, that survey is beginning to come into its own. It is being more and more realised that it should be the basis of all co-operative work, and the survey of China now nearing completion places that country in a premier position as far as a foundation for wise building is concerned. Recently in London, neighbouring Mission Houses have been getting into touch with each other, and the Conference of British Missionary Societies and the analogous body in America have made conference between missions frequent and fruitful. But there is a long way yet to travel before we can have that comprehensive planning which the present world situation imperatively and urgently demands.
But just as neighbouring missions should get to know about each other's work and plans in order that funds may be spent most effectively; so a world survey is necessary if the command of Christ is to be adequately obeyed. The unit is the world, and survey in patches may misdirect money which would have been spent differently if the whole need had been before the eyes of those who are charged with the responsibility of administration.
We make bold to affirm that no Society can be sure that it is spending the money entrusted to it wisely unless it has a satisfactory system of survey in operation, a system which takes account not only of its own work but also of the work of others. We go further and say that the chances are the money is not bringing the maximum return. When world need is so vast it is time to challenge a reasoned contradiction of this assertion. If each Society did what in justice to its constituency it ought to do, a survey of an area such as a province or a country would be an easy task, and a survey of the world would be neither difficult nor expensive, and after all, until we know the whole, we cannot intelligently administer the part.
The missionary enterprise waits for the men who will take the comprehensive view and become leaders in the greatest and most fundamental task of all time. Until these leaders appear, mission work, for those who seek to understand it as a world enterprise, will, as a layman said recently, remain worse than a jigsaw puzzle!
ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A DOMINANT PURPOSE.
The modern demand for intelligent co-operation The same demand in relation to Foreign Missions The need for a definition of purpose The failure of our present reports in this respect Is definition of purpose desirable? It is necessary for formulation of policy Societies with limited incomes cannot afford to pursue every good object The admission of diverse purposes has blurred the purpose of Medical Missions The admission of diverse purposes has confused the administration of Educational Missions The admission of diverse purposes has distracted Evangelistic Missions Hence the absence of unity in the work Hence the tendency to support details rather than the whole The need for a dominant purpose and expression of relations The need for a statement of factors which govern action The need for a missionary survey which expresses the facts in relation This demand is not unreasonable
1. All survey is properly governed by the purpose for which it is made The purpose decides what is to be included, what excluded A scientific survey is a survey of selected factors This is not to be confused with the collection of facts to prove a theory The collection of facts is independent of the conclusions which may be drawn 2. The survey proposed is a missionary survey The difference between medical and educational surveys and missionary survey 3. The survey proposed is designed to embrace the work of all Societies 4. Definition of aim necessarily suggests a policy We have not hesitated to set out that policy We make criticism easy 5. Survey should provide facts in relation to an aim, so as to guide action 6. Twofold aspect of survey—survey of state, survey of position Survey is therefore a continual process 7. Possible objections to method proposed— (i) The information asked for statistical All business and organised effort is based on statistics Every Society publishes statistics (ii) The admission of estimates The value of estimates (iii) The difficulty of many small tables Why burden the missionary with the working out of proportions? The tables should assist the missionary in charge (iv) The objection that we cannot obtain all the information Partial knowledge the guide of all human action (v) The tables contain items at present unknown
SURVEY OF THE STATION AND ITS DISTRICT.
The Work to be Done, and the Force to Do it.
We begin with survey of the station and its district If the station exists to establish the Church in a definite area then we can survey on a territorial basis The definition of the area involves a policy I. When the area is defined we can distinguish work done and work to be done, in terms of cities, towns, and villages; in terms of population The meaning of "Christian constituency" The reasons for adopting it Example of table, and of the impression produced by it Example of value of proportions Tables of proportions The difficulty of procuring this information The value of the labour expended in procuring it II. The force at work The permanent and transitory elements (a) The foreign force The use of merely quantitative expressions Such tables essential for deciding questions of reinforcement (b) The native force Reasons for putting total Christian constituency in the first place The Communicants. The paid workers. The unpaid workers The difficulty in this classification The interest of these tables lies in the proportions Summary But we need to know something of capacity of the native force (1) Proportion of Communicants The importance of this proportion in itself In relation to the work to be done (2) Proportion of paid workers to Christian constituency and to Communicants The difficulty of appreciating the meaning of this proportion It must be checked by (a) the proportion of unpaid voluntary workers (b) The standard of wealth (3) The contribution to missionary work in labour and money (4) The literacy of the Christian constituency The importance of widespread knowledge of the Bible The importance of Christians having a wider knowledge than their heathen neighbours
THE EMPHASIS LAID UPON DIFFERENT TYPES OF WORK.
I. Work amongst men and women respectively We first distinguish men, wives, and single women among the Foreign Missionaries The reasons for applying the distinction between men and women to the Native Force II. The different classes in the population chiefly reached by the mission III The different races and religions Emphasis upon one class or race or religion is no proper basis for adverse criticism of the mission IV. The emphasis laid on evangelistic, medical, and educational work respectively The difficulty of distinguishing medical, educational, and evangelistic missionaries The reason why grades need not here be distinguished V. Sunday Schools— The diverse character of Sunday Schools The table proposed
THE MEDICAL WORK IN THE STATION DISTRICT.
The tendency to treat medical and educational work as distinct from evangelistic Medical and educational boards and their surveys The difficulty of determining the aim of the medical mission First of medical missions as designed to meet a distinct medical need Two tables designed to present the medical force in relation to area and population The necessity of considering non-missionary medical work in this connection The extent of the work done in the year Then of the medical mission as designed to assist evangelistic work (i) The extent to which evangelists work with the medicals Caution as regards the use of this table (ii) The extent to which medicals assist the evangelists outside the institutions (iii) The extent to which the evangelistic influence of the hospital can be traced
EDUCATIONAL WORK IN THE STATION DISTRICT.
The difficulty of determining the aim of educational missions The difficulty presented by different grades and standards The reason for excluding Colleges and Normal Schools at this stage First of the educational mission as designed to meet a distinct educational need Two tables designed to present the educational work in relation to area and population The necessity of considering non-missionary educational work The existence of non-missionary schools may either increase the need for missionary schools or decrease it The extent to which education is provided for the better educated and the more illiterate The extent to which education is provided for boys and girls, for Christian and non-Christian scholars The extent to which mission schools receive Government grants throws light on their character and purpose The extent to which education is provided for illiterate adults The importance of this The importance of the distinction between Christians and non-Christians in this table Then of the educational mission as designed to assist evangelistic work (i) The extent to which evangelists work with the educationalists in schools Caution needed in the use of this table (ii) The extent to which educationalists work with evangelists outside schools The importance of the work done by educationalists outside the schools (iii) The immediate evangelistic results of education given The difficulty The table proposed The support given by the Natives to medical and educational work
The importance of the relation between the different parts of the mission The relations already expressed in earlier tables The chief difficulty lies in the relationship between medicals and educationalists The importance of medical work in schools The table showing the work of medicals in connection with schools The importance of educational work in hospitals The table showing the work of educationalists in hospitals Summary of co-operation between evangelists, medicals, and educationalists
THE NATIVE CHURCH.
The end of the station, a Native Church This end a condition into which the Church must be growing Survey must therefore deal with the Native Church The reason for beginning with self-support The meaning of self-supporting Churches In rare cases it means independence of external support In most cases it means attainment of an arbitrary standard In most cases it does not represent the power of the people to supply their own needs In most cases it is not sure evidence of growing liberality Nevertheless we must begin by considering the self-supporting Churches We ask for proportion of self-supporting Churches This will not reveal the power of the Churches to stand alone We inquire then the proportion of inquirers in self-supporting Churches We inquire then the proportion of unpaid workers in self-supporting Churches Where self-supporting Churches are not recognised we inquire—
(i) Power of Christians to conduct their own services (ii) Power to order Church government (iii) Power to provide expenses of Church organisation
SURVEY OF DISTRICTS WHERE TWO OR MORE SOCIETIES ARE AT WORK. SURVEY OF MISSIONS WITH NO DEFINED DISTRICTS.
I. The possibility of united survey by missionaries of two or more Societies The evil of ignoring the work of others Survey is concerned with facts not with ecclesiastical prejudices The difficulty of obtaining the facts The use of estimates II. The mission which has no defined district—A general expression of the purpose of such a mission In its widest terms survey of the work of such a mission would involve survey of the whole state of society In its narrower terms it is survey of a mission establishing a Church In this case most of the preceding tables could be used, omitting proportions to area and population Then we could see force at work Then we could see forms of work Then we could place the mission in a survey of the Country
SURVEY OF THE WORK IN A PROVINCE.
The mission station is not an isolated unit The relationship of station with station is recognised So the relationship of all missions in a country is recognised We can then consider the work of a mission station in relation to all mission work done in the Province or Country Considered in relation to the larger area, impressions produced by the earlier tables may have to be revised The first necessity is to gain a view of the whole work in the Country The difficulty presented by capitals and other large cities I. The items proposed as necessary for such a general view— (1) The work to be done; a bare quantitative expression in terms of population, perhaps also in terms of cities, towns, and villages unoccupied This expression ought not to suggest that the work to be done is to be done by the foreigners (2) The Foreign Force at work in relation to the work to be done is larger than that presented by returns from all mission stations The Native Force also is more than the sum of the station district returns (3) Different forms of work; one table revealing proportion of Missionaries, Native Workers, Foreign Funds, and Native Contributions employed in different forms of work One table of results A serious flaw in this table (4) The extent to which different classes, etc., are reached. One table including the station returns with the addition of special missions which work among special classes in the whole Province or Country (5) Self-support. One table showing the relation of the native contribution to the total salaries of all paid native evangelistic workers II. To this must be added tables of students in training for different forms of mission work First the relative proportion of students in training for different types of work Then of each more particularly— (1) Evangelistic Confusion of nomenclature prevents more than a rough classification (2) Educational: divided roughly into four classes (3) Medical: divided into three classes These tables are prophetic of line of advance in the near future The question of perseverance III. Then the Educational Institutions excluded from the district survey must be added to the sum of the station returns to show the relation of the educational work to the population of the larger area The importance of the relation of the higher to the lower grade institutions The educational work of non-missionary agencies must also be considered IV. Medical work needs only the addition of provincial hospitals and non-missionary medical work V. Two other subjects claim attention here, literature and industrial work The difficulty of dealing with literature. It needs special treatment Two brief tables suggested The difficulty of dealing with industrial work still greater For industrial missions, other than those which are really educational, we suggest three tables VI. Union work
THE RELATION OF THE STATION TO THE WORLD.
A world-wide work can only be conducted on world-wide principles These world-wide principles must govern the work in every part, however small No country, however large, can be an isolated unit from missionary point of view How shall we gain a view of this large whole? We suggest that four tables would suffice for our purpose:— (1) A table showing the force at work in relation to population (2) A table designed to reveal something of the character and power of the force (3) A table showing the relative strength expended in evangelistic, medical, and educational work (4) A table showing the extent to which the native Christians support existing work This is only a tentative suggestion proposed to invite criticism
THE IMPORTANCE OF A DOMINANT PURPOSE.
It is a marked characteristic of our age that every appeal for an expression of energy should be an intellectual appeal. Emotional appeals are of course made, and made with tremendous force, but, with the emotional appeal, an emphasis is laid to-day upon the intellectual apprehension of the meaning of the effort demanded which is something quite new to us. Soldiers in the ranks have the objective of their attack explained to them, and this explanation has a great influence over the character and quality of the effort which they put forth. Labourers demand and expect every day a larger and fuller understanding of the meaning of the work which they are asked to perform. They need to enjoy the intellectual apprehension of the larger aspects of the work, and the relation of their own detailed operations to those larger aspects; and it is commonly recognised that the understanding of the meaning and purpose of the detail upon which each operative may be engaged is a most powerful incentive to good work. In the past leaders relied more upon implicit, unreasoning obedience, supported often by affection for the leader's own character, and profound trust in his wisdom, and a general hope of advantage for each individual who carried out orders unhesitatingly and exactly; but they did not think it necessary, or even desirable, that the common workers should understand their plans and act in intelligent co-operation with them: to-day, intelligent co-operation is prized as it has never been prized before, and its value is realised as it has never been realised before.
If this is true in the world of arms, of labour, of commerce, it is equally true in the world of foreign missions. The common worker, the subscriber, the daily labourer, is beginning to demand that he shall be allowed to take an intelligent part in the work, and missionary leaders are beginning to see the importance of securing intelligent co-operation. In the past the appeal has been rather to blind obedience, and immense stress has been laid upon the "command"; the appeal has been to the emotions, and love for Christ, love for the souls of men, hope of eternal blessings, hope of the coming of the Kingdom, and (for direction of the work) trust in the wisdom of great missionary leaders or committees, have been thought sufficient to inspire all to put forth their best efforts; but to-day, as in the labour world, as in commerce, as in the army, so in the world of missions, the intellect is taking a new place. Men want to understand why and how their work assists towards the attainment of the goal, they want to know what they are doing, they want to understand the plan and to see their work influencing the accomplishment of the plan.
It is no doubt true that the demand for intelligent co-operation, both on the part of the subscribers and workers on the one side and of the great leaders and boards of directors on the other, is at present slight, weak, uncertain and hesitating; but it is already beginning to make itself felt, and must increase. Certainly it is true that the support of a very large body of men is lost because they have never yet been able to understand the work of foreign missions. They are accustomed in their daily business to "know what they are driving at," and to relate their action to definite ends; and they have not seen foreign missions directed to the attainment of definite ends. They have not seen in them any clear dominant purpose to which they could relate the manifold activities of the missionaries whom they were asked to support; and they cannot give to the vague and chaotic that support which they might give to work which they saw clearly to be directed to the attainment of a great goal which they desired by a policy which they understood. The attitude of these men is the attitude of those who await an intelligent appeal to their intelligence.
For a true understanding of foreign missions it is necessary first that their aim and object should be clearly defined. Without such a definition intelligent co-operation is impossible. Unless the objective is understood men cannot estimate the value of their work. They cannot trace progress unless they can see clearly the end to be attained; they cannot zealously support action unless they are persuaded that the action is truly designed to attain the defined end. There may indeed be many subordinate objects, and men may be asked to work for the attainment of any one of these, but there ought to be one final end and purpose which governs all, and intelligent co-operation involves the appreciation of the relation between the subordinate and the final end. Consequently if many objects are set before us, as they are in our foreign missions, it is essential that these many purposes and objects should be presented to us not simply as ends to be attained, but in their relation to one another and in their relation to the final end which the directors of our missions have clearly before their eyes.
Now it is just at this point that we fail to attain satisfaction. All societies publish reports and statistics, but the reports and statistics do not provide us with any clear and intelligible account of progress towards any definite end. They seem rather designed to attract and to appeal to our sympathy than to satisfy our intelligence. They set before us all kinds of work unrelated, indefinite, changeable, and changing from year to year, as though the compilers selected from the letters of missionaries any striking statements which they thought would attract support in themselves and by themselves. No goal is set before us, and the progress towards that goal steadily traced from year to year; still less is the relation between the different methods and means employed to attain each subordinate objective expressed so that we can see, not only what progress each is making towards its own immediate end, but what is the effective value of all together towards the attainment of a final end to which they all contribute.
But would not the definition of one great end or purpose hinder us? Are not all the great ends which we set before ourselves indefinite enough to include a host of different and mutually separate and even occasionally incompatible subsidiary objects, aims, and methods? Would not the rigid definition of the aim of our foreign missions, by excluding a great many legitimate aims and methods, weaken and beggar our missions, which are strong in proportion as they admit all sorts of different aims and methods? There are men who speak and act as if they thought so, and in consequence welcome as a proper part of the missionary programme all Christian, social, and political activities. Anything, they think, which makes for the amelioration of life, everything which tends to enlighten and uplift the bodies, the souls, and the minds of men, is a proper object for the missionary to pursue, and the missionary should assist every movement towards a higher life in the heathen community as well as in the Christian, and should introduce every method and plan, industrial, social, or political, literary, or artistic, which tends to ennoble the life of men. It may be so. It may be true that the introduction of everything which tends to uplift and enlighten is a proper object for missionary activity, but we venture to argue not all at once, in the same place, nor even any one of them at the whim of any missionary at any time, anywhere. Nor all in the same order. There is a more and a less important. And we do urge that if we are to take an intelligent part in foreign missions and to give those missions intelligent support, we must know what is the more important and what the less. We are told that the duty of the foreign mission is to bring all nations into the obedience of Christ, and that "all the nations" means all the people of all the nations, and all the capacities, powers, and activities of all the people of all the nations, individually and collectively, and that any work which tends to bring any part of the collective action of any non-Christian people under the direction of Christian principles is, therefore, the proper work of the missionary, and that the most important is the particular social, industrial, or political scheme which the missionary who is addressing us believes to be the pressing need of the moment in his district.
So long as foreign missions are presented to us in that way, so long as any mission may serve any purpose, we cannot possibly take any intelligent share in foreign missions as a whole. We are lost. We cannot co-ordinate in thought the activities of the missions, as we see plainly that they are not co-ordinated in action in the field itself. And it is practically impossible for us to imagine that the missions are directed on any thought-out policy, because a policy seems to involve necessarily the sub-ordination of the aim deemed to be less important to another which is deemed to be more important, and the less or the more must depend, not upon personal predilections, but upon closeness of relation to some one dominant idea; and, therefore, the definition of the dominant idea is the first necessity for the establishment of a reasonable missionary policy.
To some minds the idea of a policy in connection with missions seems to be abhorrent; but can a society with an income of something between half and a quarter of a million pounds, or even less, afford to aim at every type and form of missionary activity? Is it not necessary that it should know and express to itself, to its missionaries, and to its supporters what forms of activity it deems essential, what less important, what aims it will pursue with all its strength, and what it will refuse to pursue at all? It cannot afford to pursue every good or desirable object which it may meet in its course. It must have a dominant purpose which really controls its operations, and forces it to set aside some great and noble actions because they are not so closely related to the dominant purpose as some other.
A society with the limited resources which most of us lament cannot do everything. In medicine it cannot afford to aim at a strictly evangelistic use of its medical missions and at a use which is not strictly evangelistic. We hear men talk sometimes as if it were the business of a missionary society to undertake the task of healing the physical afflictions of the people almost in the same sense as it is the business of a missionary society to seek to heal their souls. We hear them talk sometimes as if it was the duty of a missionary society to supplant the native medical practice by western medical science as surely as it is their business to supplant idolatry by the preaching of Christ. And the tolerance of these ideas has certainly influenced the direction of missions. The evangelistic value of medical missions has not been the one dominant directing principle in their administration, and the consequences have been confusion of aim and waste of power. Nor has any other dominant purpose taken control; no other purpose, philanthropic, social, or economic, ever will take control so long as the vast majority of the supporters of foreign missions are people whose one real desire is the salvation of men in Christ. But the admission of another purpose has blurred the aim.
Because they have been pioneers in education, missions earn large praise and not in-considerable support from governors and philanthropists; but they have sometimes paid for these praises and grants dearly in confusion of aim. Many of them started with the intention of relating their educational work very closely to their evangelistic work; but because the evangelistic idea was not dominant, a government grant sometimes led the educational mission far from its first objective. Similarly, the establishment of great educational institutions altered the whole policy of a mission over very large areas, because no dominant purpose controlled the action of the mission authorities. The institutions demanded such large support, financial and personal, that when once they had been founded they tended to draw into themselves a very large proportion of the best men who joined the mission. In this way a great educational institution has often altered the policy of a mission to an extent which its original founders never anticipated, and a mission which was designed primarily to be an evangelistic mission has been compelled not only to check advance, but even to withdraw its evangelistic workers and to close its outstations. But that was not the intention of the founders of the institution. The difficulty arose because there was no dominant purpose which governed the direction of the mission. There was no purpose so strong and clear that it could prevent the foundation of, or close when founded, an institution which was leading it far from its primary object.
Again it is notorious that what we call the work of the evangelistic missionary is so manifold and variegated that it includes every kind of activity, every sort of social and economic reform. Our evangelistic missionaries are busy about everything, from itinerant preaching to the establishment of banks and asylums. Can we afford it? What purpose is dominant, what aim really governs the policy of those who send out evangelistic missionaries? What decides the form of their work and the method by which they pursue it? It is hard to guess, it is hard to discover, it is hard to understand.
Now when our missions are presented to us and we are asked to support them on all sorts of grounds, as though a society with its slight funds could really successfully practise every kind of philanthropic work, we begin to doubt whether it can really be wisely guided. Each mission station, each institution, seems to be an isolated fragment. The missionary in charge often appeals to us as an exceedingly good and able man, and we support him, and we support the society which sends him and others like him. And we call this the support of foreign missions; but foreign missions as a unity we do not support because we can see no unity. The directors of foreign missions appear not to have hitched their wagon to a star, but rather to all the visible stars, and we cannot tell whither they are going. So we fall back on the individual missionary, or the isolated mission which at any rate for the moment seems to have an intelligible objective.
Hence the common conception of missionary work as small. We look at the parts, and the smallest parts, because our minds instinctively seek a unity, and only in the parts do we find a unity, nor there often, unless we concentrate our attention on one aspect of the work. But by thinking of foreign missions in this small way and speaking of them in this small way, we alienate men who are accustomed to think in large terms of large undertakings designed on large policies.
What we need to-day is to understand foreign missions as a whole. We want to take an intelligent part in them viewed as a unity. We want to know what is the grand objective and how the parts are related to that end. We do not want merely to support this mission because this missionary appeals to us; we want to know what dominant purpose governs the activities of the different societies, directs, and controls them, deciding what work good and excellent in itself the mission cannot afford to undertake, what it can and must do with the means at its disposal in order to attain an end which it has deliberately adopted.
We need more, we need to know on what principles the missionaries are sent here or there. We need to know what facts must be taken into consideration before any mission, evangelistic, educational, or medical, is planted in any place, what facts decide the question whether work is begun, or reinforcements sent, to this place rather than to that. It is not enough to be assured that there is a need. There is need everywhere. We cannot supply all need; but we can have some settled and clear judgment what facts ought to weigh with us, what information we must possess before we can decide properly whether the claim of this place is more urgent than the claim of that. We ought to have same basis of comparison. The mere appeal of an earnest and devoted man, the mere clamour of a body of men, the mere insistence of a persevering man, is not sufficient to guide us aright. The mere offer of some supporter to provide a building ought not to suffice. Acceptance of the offer may alter the whole balance and character of the mission. We ought to know what facts must be considered and how.
We need therefore a reasoned statement of the work of our foreign missions expressed as a unity, which sets forth the work actually done in different departments showing their relation one to another and the relation of all to a dominant object. In other words, what we need is a survey of the missionary situation in the world in terms of these relationships.
It may be said that such a claim is outrageous and impossible; but we are persuaded that with our present enlightenment, with the means of knowledge which we now possess, we could, if we thought it worth while, lay our hands on the necessary information. Our firm conviction is that, if we did that, and set out the results of our examination in a form intelligible to thoughtful laymen, we should obtain the support of a great number of men to whom foreign missions at present appear as nothing but the ill-organised, fragmentary and indefinite efforts of pious people to propagate their peculiar schemes for the betterment of humanity. Without some such statement we do not know how anyone can take an intelligent, though he may take a sentimental, interest in foreign missions.
1. We need a survey of the missionary situation in the world which will express the facts in terms of the relationships between the different missionary activities and between them all in relation to a dominant idea or purpose. Such a survey is strictly scientific. All scientific survey is properly governed by the end or purpose for which it is made.
It is this purpose or end which decides what is to be included and what is to be excluded from the survey. If, for instance, we are making a survey of the acoustic properties of church buildings in England, it is not scientific to introduce questions as to the character of the gospel preached in them. A scientific survey is not necessarily a collection of all possible information about any people or country; that is an encyclopaedia; a scientific survey is a survey of those facts only which throw light on the business in hand. A scientific survey of foreign missions ought not then necessarily to look at the work carried on from "every point of view". The point of view must be defined, the end to be served defined, and then only those factors which throw light upon that end have any place in a scientific survey. We cannot be too clear about this, because in survey of a work so vast and so many sided as foreign missions we might easily include every human activity, unless we defined beforehand the end to be served and selected carefully only the appropriate factors. Carefully defined, missionary survey is not the unwieldy, amorphous thing which people often imagine. There is indeed a dangerous type of survey which starting with a hypothesis proceeds to prove it by collecting any facts which seem to support it to the neglect of all other facts which might disprove it. The procedure advocated here is the adoption of a definite and acknowledged purpose for which the survey is to be made and the collection of all the facts which bear upon the subject in hand. The facts are selected, but they are selected not by the prejudices or partiality of the surveyor, but by their own innate and inherent relationship to the subject.
A scientific survey can only be a collection of facts; but inferences will certainly be drawn from the facts which will direct the policy of those who administer foreign missionary societies. The drawing of these inferences from the material collected must be carefully distinguished from the collection of the material (i.e. the making of the survey). The latter precedes the former and is independent of it. Inferences hastily drawn, or prematurely adopted, would only tend to discredit missionary survey as a means to the attainment of truth. The adoption of a hypothesis and the making of a survey in order to prove it by a careful selection and manipulation of facts would not discredit survey as a means to the attainment of truth; it would only discredit and debase the moral character of the man who made such a survey.
2. The survey here treated of is missionary survey, that is to say, it treats of missions and is governed by a missionary purpose. And it is a survey of Christian missions; therefore it is governed by the purpose of spreading the knowledge of Christ. This statement is of great importance and needs to be carefully conned before it is accepted, because by it missionary survey will be distinguished from all other survey. For instance, medical boards survey medical institutions. Their sole concern is whether those institutions are well found and efficient. But when a missionary surveys a missionary hospital (if the principle which we propound is accepted), he surveys it not qua medical establishment but qua missionary utensil. The object is not to find out the medical efficiency of the hospital, but its missionary effectiveness. It may be answered that a medically inefficient hospital cannot be truly effective from a missionary point of view. That may be true; but it is not certainly true. Whether it is true or not, that does not alter the fact that an efficient medical establishment is not necessarily effective from a missionary point of view; it is not necessarily either missionary or Christian at all. Then to survey medical missions simply as medical institutions is to ignore their real significance. Missionary survey must relate the information asked for to the missionary purpose; and unless it is so related the survey is a medical survey, not a missionary survey. The same holds good of educational work, and of pastoral work.
[Footnote 1: We could produce surveys of medical and educational mission work which are essentially of this character, dealing solely with medical and educational efficiency.]
3. The survey here proposed is designed for all societies so far as the societies can be persuaded to supply the information. It would perhaps be more simple to provide statistical returns for one society of which the ecclesiastical organisation is known and the ecclesiastical terms used consequently fixed. But survey of the work of a society, invaluable and necessary as that is for a society, is not sufficient by itself. It is essential to-day that we should be able to place our work in the world in relation to all the missionary work done. We can no longer afford to ignore the work of others and to plan our missions as though other missions did not exist. As we try to point out from time to time no society can act rightly in ignorance of another's work. Therefore we have attempted to design a survey which would show what is the work of any mission in such a form that its work can be related in some sort to the missionary work of all, and not only to the other missions of its own society.
4. Seeing that all survey is scientifically governed by the object for which it is made, it is essential that in a survey such as we propose the end for which it is made should be stated in each case as clearly and definitely as possible. This involves often such a definition of the end as implies a certain missionary policy. Realising this, we have not hesitated to set forth the policy implied in the terms which we use and the questions which we ask. We are well aware that this lays us open to attack from men who may question the policy and dispute the value of the survey. It would be far more easy to set down simply the facts which we think any true survey should contain, leaving them unrelated to one another, so that no one could tell exactly what we were driving at. This is the common plan. Men say they want to know the facts of the missionary situation, any facts, all facts, indiscriminately, and they draw up a list of all the facts that they can think of and issue a questionnaire which leaves the compiler of the answers in complete ignorance concerning the purpose of the questions. Such heaps of information might be used anyhow if they were really complete; but in fact since they have not been designed for any definite use they are generally deficient for any definite use, and remain mere masses of information on which no true judgments can be based. So far from revealing the missionary situation they obscure it. We have, therefore, taken the risk of explaining why we want each piece of information, how we think it might be used, and have drawn our tables in such a form that it is actually seen at work. By so doing we open the door at once, both for intelligent co-operation and intelligent opposition. We frankly make criticism easy; we invite it; for we believe that frank criticism on the basis of agreed facts is extremely fruitful.
[Footnote 1: It does not follow that we approve the policy implied.]
We may well acknowledge that the aim which above all others has appealed to us is the aim of the establishment in the world of a Christian Church, native, indigenous, living, self-supporting, self-governing, self-extending, independent of foreign aid. That has no doubt coloured our work and will perhaps render it less acceptable to some; for the facts which must be included in a survey which accepts that aim are precisely the facts which societies do not now tabulate and are often estimated with some difficulty.
But though this thought has inevitably governed our conception of survey and we have made no attempt to conceal it, we have nevertheless tried to avoid the danger of selecting for survey only those facts which might serve to support a theory of the method by which that aim is to be attained; and we have kept in our minds constantly the needs of men whose idea of the aim of foreign missions differs from our own.
5. Missionary survey must justify itself by assisting definitely and clearly those who make it and those who have to direct and support missionary work in all parts of the world. The first question which we ought to answer in every case where our help is asked is this: "What do we want to do? What is our purpose in doing anything at all here?" The second question is: "What must we know to enable us to act discreetly and wisely in this case? What facts are properly to be taken into account in this matter?" The first question is the question of aim, the second is the question of relation. Suppose we say that we want to send our missionaries where they are most needed, what information must we have to direct us? First we must know what we mean by need, what kind of need we are to put first in our thoughts; that is the question of definition of aim. Then, how shall we decide where that need is greatest at the present time, for us, that is, within our possibility of active assistance; that is the question of relation. The facts of need as we define it must be related and compared. The survey of which we speak as necessary for an intelligent understanding of foreign missions must provide these facts in a form easily grasped and understood and compared for different countries and districts, so that those who direct action and those who support the action may be able to do so with reason, not being guided merely by the most influential voice or the loudest shout.
6. To serve this purpose survey must have twofold aspect. It must be a review of the present state of the work, it must also be a review of the present position of the work. It is a review of the state of the work, the stations, the converts, the Church; it is a review of the position, the progress made compared with the work to be done. But the state varies, the position changes, and action must be taken continually.
The survey, therefore, should be not simply a single act but a continual process. Mission work is not a task which can be undertaken and finished on a predetermined plan, like the construction of a railway. It is a task the conditions of which vary from time to time, and consequently plans and policies and methods must vary, and this variation can only be rational if it is determined by recognition of the changing circumstances, and the change of circumstances can only be understood and appreciated if the survey of missions is a continuous process kept constantly up to date. It is a form of mission history in which the omission of a few years may break the connection of the whole narrative.
7. (i) It may perhaps cause surprise to some that the information for which we ask is mainly such as can be expressed in a statistical form. But the fact remains that all statesmanship (and foreign missions involve large elements of statesmanship), and all organised effort (and foreign missions are highly organised), is in the world always based either upon carefully compiled statistics, or upon guess work; and that the business which is directed by guess work does not enjoy the same confidence as the business which is directed by knowledge derived from carefully compiled statistics.
Take, for example, this extract from a letter written by a firm in the United States of America which deals with candy securities:—
The candy business, the history of which shows a remarkable record of freedom from failure, is to-day enjoying unparalleled prosperity, and there is every reason to believe that the present high earnings of all the large candy concerns in the United States will continue indefinitely. Those fortunate enough to hold shares in well-established candy manufacturing concerns may expect, therefore, to enjoy larger earnings than could reasonably be expected from funds placed in most other enterprises. Prohibition is proving a tremendous factor in increasing candy sales. Best estimates show that the American public is now spending between $800,000,000 and $1,000,000,000 annually for candy. —— & Co. are specialists in the candy and sugar securities. We maintain a statistical department, and endeavour to furnish information concerning all of the prominent issues based on these industries. You are invited to avail yourself of this service, and if you are interested in any candy or sugar stock, we will be pleased to have you confer with us. This department now has in preparation an analysis of the candy and sugar situation as it exists to-day in the United States. Interesting data is also being collected from most reliable sources, giving figures and statistics for the world. The number of copies which we are preparing for general distribution is limited. If you will sign the enclosed card, and return it to us, we will take pleasure in extending to you the courtesy of a copy of this analysis free of charge.
When individuals work individually, for themselves, as they please, statistics are only necessary for the onlooker who wants to compare individual effort with individual effort; the individuals who want to make no comparison of their own work with that of others, nor to keep any record of the progress of their work, need keep no statistics; but societies always want to keep a record of their work, and that record must be largely statistical.
It is vain to attack statistics to-day. Every society publishes statistical sheets. Every society by publishing them shows that it recognises the value of statistics. The difficulty to-day is not that the societies do not publish statistics, but that the statistics which they publish are not related to any aim or purpose, and do not include factors or standards which enable us to measure progress.
(ii) It may also cause surprise that we ask for estimates in some cases where exact information is not immediately accessible. It may be said that statistics are misleading, but estimates are hopelessly misleading: let us have correct figures or none. That attitude is easily understood, but under the circumstances it is vain. "Correct figures," that is, meticulously exact figures, are unattainable. An estimate is in nearly all matters of daily life and business the basis, and rightly the basis, of our action. It will be noticed that in that letter which we quoted above concerning the statistics of the candy trade in the United States of America, estimates had a place, and foreign missions involve matters about which "correct figures" are more difficult to obtain than the candy business. An estimate carefully made and understood, a deliberate statement expressed in round numbers, is not unscientific: it is only unscientific to mistake such figures for what they do not profess to be. When men object that the figures are not exact, if the figures do not profess to be exact, it is the objector who is unscientific, not the statistics.
Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that the admission of estimates and round figures does open the door to serious error. Men will be tempted to mistake an estimate for a guess. An estimate is a statement for which reasons can be given, a guess is—a mere guess. The great safeguard against guesses, as against all slipshod statistical entries, is the assurance that the statements made will be used. At present missionary statistics are untrustworthy mainly because so few people use them, and consequently those who supply them do not feel the need of revising them carefully.
Furthermore, it is important to bear in mind that the field for estimate in statistics of the kind proposed is limited; it only embraces figures for which exact totals are unobtainable, for instance, area, population, and figures of societies which refuse to give statistics, etc., and in every case precision in these statistics is not of vital importance.
(iii) The main difference between our tables and those of others is that we make them very small and express in each a relation. The figures supplied by the societies in their reports are seldom related to anything; they are mere bundles of sticks; we suggest the introduction of a relation into every table which gives to each figure a significance which by itself it does not possess. In our tables every figure is set to work. Our idea of missionary statistics demands that they should be a basis for action. We think that it is waste of time to collect statistics from which no conclusion can be certainly drawn both by the compiler and the reader—a conclusion which ought to be suggestive when taken alone by itself, and, when considered in relation to the conclusions suggested by similar tables, compelling.
But it may be said that we are adding to the already overwhelming burden of accounts and reports over which missionaries toil to the great detriment of their proper work. The tables in this book are arranged apparently for the worker on the spot as well as for the intelligent supporter and director at home; why multiply tables and trouble the missionary with the sums of proportion? Why not ask the man there simply to give the necessary facts and then let the man at home work out for special purposes the various relations? The answer is simple: we ourselves have been asked to fill up long schedules of unrelated facts; and we know that the labour is intolerable. The supply of unrelated, meaningless facts dulls and wearies the brain. Few men can do the work with pleasure or profit, and consequently the schedules are often filled up, not indeed with deliberate carelessness, but with that heavy painfulness which, taking no interest in the work, often produces as pitiful a result as downright carelessness. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn" is a maxim which has a great application here. The man who provides the information should be the first to profit by it and to be interested in it. The first man to criticise these tables should be the missionary who fills them up on the spot; and his most valuable criticism might be a demonstration that the last column in a table was futile; that the table led him to no conclusions and suggested no remarks. That column of conclusions and remarks we hold to be the most precious of them all. We would have no man supply meaningless information. Only, we believe, when the information is of vital importance and interest to the man who supplies it will it be supplied carefully, correctly, willingly, and above all, intelligently. We venture to hope that our tables may be one step towards the day when the supply of statistical information by the missionary will cease to be mere drudgery.
(iv) Seeing that the missionary task is essentially world-wide, it is obvious that a world-wide work cannot be properly directed without a world-wide view. Now, missionary survey is in its infancy, and in most parts of the world it has yet to be begun. A full and complete missionary survey of the whole world would necessarily be a considerable undertaking, for many important facts could not be easily or quickly collected. There is then a strong tendency for men to argue that, since all the facts desirable cannot be known at once without much time and expense, it is futile and dangerous to collect those facts which can be collected speedily without great expense. A little knowledge, they say, is a dangerous thing ... let us remain ignorant.
We would venture to suggest that a little knowledge is only dangerous when it is mistaken for much knowledge; that it is far better to act on knowledge which can be obtained than to act in total ignorance, blindly. Where we must act it is our duty to know all that we can know, and if, because we cannot collect all the information that we should wish to possess, we refuse to collect that information which we can obtain, because we realise that it will be incomplete, we commit a serious moral and intellectual crime. If we can know only one factor out of one hundred, we offend if we refuse to know that one. We must act. We have no right to shut our eyes to knowledge which ought to guide our action because we are aware that action taken on that one factor will be insufficiently guided. The one factor is an important one and must influence our action, and would influence our action if we knew all the other factors. We ought to allow it to influence our action even in ignorance of the other factors.
In daily life we habitually act on partial knowledge, and we should think that man mad who urged us to refuse to be guided by our partial knowledge until our knowledge was complete; we should think a man mad who, being under necessity to act, refused to know what he could know, because he was aware that fuller knowledge might lead him to modify his action. Now missionaries and missionary societies are acting and must act, and the refusal to collect the information which they can obtain is as culpable as the ignorance of a man who refuses to attend to the one word "poison" printed on the label of a bottle which he can read, because he cannot read the name of the stuff written on the label.
Yet it is very commonly argued that unless survey can be made complete, unless, that is, every factor which we can think of as exercising an influence on our action is duly weighed, it is futile to survey the larger, commoner, and more easily accessible factors. This objection recurs again and again, and unless it can be put out of the way it must prejudice missionary survey. It would be wise, it would be right, to collect information on only one point, if that were all that we could do. It would be better than to rest content with total ignorance. Nevertheless, when anyone collects with care statistics on any particular point, he is certain to meet the objection that his labour ought to be ignored because he has not collected information about something else. As if total ignorance were preferable to partial knowledge! Is there any answer to the argument, that "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise," when supported by "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing," other than Dr. Arnold's maxim, "Where it is our duty to act it is also our duty to learn"?
(v) We have not been careful to avoid asking for details of which we are well aware that the statistics do not now exist. We have thought it our duty rather to point out the information necessary for arriving at right conclusions than to mislead our readers by pretending that it is possible to form judgments and act properly without taking the trouble to collect information which is really necessary. This is no contradiction of the argument which we set forth that partial information is better than none, but it does warn the surveyor that blanks in the forms leave him not fully equipped, and that steps ought to be taken to secure information without which his conclusions are uncertain.
STATION DISTRICT SURVEY.
THE WORK TO BE DONE, AND THE FORCE TO DO IT.
Missionary work is presented to us here at home mainly at two points; the one, work at a mission station, the other, the condition and needs of a country or of a continent. In the one case we hear a great deal about the missionary's life and work; in the other we hear about great problems, religious, moral, social, and very little about the facts of the work.
We propose to begin with the mission station and to set down the information which we need, in order that we may take an intelligent interest in the work at the station, viewed by itself, as progress is made towards the immediate object of its existence; and then we propose to look at it in relation to other stations in the province or country, both comparatively to see how they differ, and as parts of a whole, to see what is the position of the Church in the province or country, and what place each station occupies in the work done in the larger whole.
When we look at the mission station viewed by itself, the first question which we ask is: Has the station any defined area, district, or parish, connected with it in which it is the business of the missionaries to preach the Gospel and establish the Church? If the answer to that question is, "Yes, it has," and that answer would very commonly be given, then at once we get our feet on firm ground. We can start our survey on a territorial basis; and with a common territorial basis we can immediately compare the work of one station with that done at another station. We have further a terminus ad quem, and in our survey we can tell whether progress is in that direction and how rapid it is.
We can do this, because the definition of a parish or district implies the recognition on the part of those who define the parish or district, of the purpose, if not the duty, of preaching the Gospel and establishing the Church in the area of that parish or district. The mere definition of the area, therefore, implies a policy for the mission which defines the area and for the station for which the area is defined. For such a station, therefore, we design our first survey, the object of the survey being to discover how far the work of the station is succeeding in performing the task which it obviously undertook when it accepted the definition of area.
1. We begin then by surveying the position of the work in the station district extensively: we ask—What is the relation between the work done and the work remaining to be done? We ask this question in two forms; first, in terms of the cities, towns, and villages which lie in the station area, and secondly, in terms of population. We ask the question in this double form because we believe that by this means the surveyor will obtain a clear view of the situation and will be able easily to see what has been done in relation to the work yet to be done, and it is the relation of those two that is most illuminating. If these tables were constantly revised the progress of the work could be traced from year to year easily and helpfully. Put side by side they illuminate each other, and each affords a check upon the other. Progress in numbers in proportion to population and progress in the number of places occupied should often properly advance side by side. Progress in numbers in proportion to population without any increase in the number of places occupied may often occur; progress in the number of places occupied without a corresponding increase of the Christian population in proportion to the non-Christian population may also occur, and each must give the missionary food for thought. The tables are simple, dealing with bare numerical proportions:—
- Number of Number of Date of Occupied Unoccupied Work to District. Area. Foundation Cities, Cities, be Done. of Station. Towns, Towns, Villages. Villages. -
By "occupied" we mean places where there are resident Christians, few or many.
Total Total Total Work to Remarks Population. Christian Non-Christian be Done. and Constituency. Constituency. Conclusions. ___ ___ ___ __ __
By Christian Constituency we mean the total number of people who call themselves Christian in the area in question. They may not be baptised, they may be mere inquirers or hearers; but if asked their religion they would call themselves Christians rather than anything else.
The reasons why we adopt this extremely wide expression are: (1) Some societies, whose members are undeniably Christian in morals and thought, do not baptise adults; many societies do not baptise infants; yet these unbaptised people are certainly not heathen; they certainly do not belong to any other religious organisation than the Christian. Again, some societies baptise very much more freely than others, and count as members large numbers of people whom other societies would consider to be in the position of inquirers or hearers. Consequently any just comparison between different areas in which different societies are working is impossible unless a very wide expression is employed, and a very wide interpretation given to it.
(2) The Christian cause, both for good and evil, is largely influenced by the existence of these unbaptised. They are called Christian, they are considered to be such by their heathen neighbours, they suffer persecution often with the other Christians when any outbreak occurs. Their numbers and conduct exercise a wide influence in the society in which they live, for or against the progress of the Christian faith.
(3) The attitude of these people to the Christian missionary is quite different from that of the heathen. They acknowledge Christ as the one Divine Teacher and Lord. The missionary cannot count them as belonging to the heathen; he cannot approach them as the teacher of a new religion. He must approach them as an exponent of the religion which they already profess. However inadequate and confused their ideas about Christian theology and practice may be, they expect to receive from a Christian teacher instruction in their own religion, and that religion is a religion common to him and to them. Consequently to omit them from the Christian constituency is to do an injustice to them, and to misrepresent the true facts of the case.
(4) In many areas two or more societies are at work and their conception of the qualifications for the name of Christian differ. In a survey each society is tempted to ignore the members of the other, and to reckon as Christians only those who fulfil the conditions which are applied by the one society. So certain Protestant societies ignore all Roman Catholics; but that for the reasons already stated is most misleading, for when persecution arises Protestants and Roman Catholics alike suffer for the Name of Christ. Whatever the members of another society may be, they are certainly not heathen; the heathen deny them. Consequently they cannot properly be counted with the heathen by any surveyor who wishes to present the facts.
For these reasons we have been compelled to adopt a very wide expression, and the expression used by the China Continuation Committee seemed to be sufficiently elastic to serve our purpose. Nevertheless, to avoid error as far as possible, when we institute comparisons between Christian and non-Christian population, we introduce side by side with the total Christian Constituency the total Communicants (or Full Members), which is a valuable check.
Take then an example. The figures here given are obviously not the figures of a station area; they are figures for a province; but they serve to illustrate the point. We cannot fill up the area table; we can only supply figures for the population.
———————————————————— Population. : Total : Total Non- : Christians. : Christians. ———————————————————— 32,571,000 : 534,238 : 2,036,762 ————————————————————
Now, here of the 534,238 Christians 500,655 are Roman Catholics, the Protestants numbering 33,583. The Roman Catholics in this area began work about 300 years earlier than the Protestants. Are we to eliminate them?
Are all these 33,583 Protestants more worthy of the name of Christian than some of the Roman Catholics? Or shall we eliminate some of the 33,583? If so, how many, and on what grounds? Is not the denial of the Name to those who claim to be servants of Christ absurd? Are there not enough non-Christians to be converted?
Suppose the Roman Catholic figures to be an estimate. Is it not plain that in dealing with considerable areas estimates may be useful though faulty? How little difference in the work to be done does an error in that estimate make? Knock off or add on 50,000 and is the work to be done seriously affected? It is true that in some calculations an error of that magnitude might mislead us somewhat, but hardly enough to vitiate our whole view of the situation, especially if we carefully check our conclusions by the results of other tables given later.
At the first glance these figures produce the impression that very little has been done. In the beginning, and that was many years ago, there were over 32 million non-Christians; there are over 32 million to-day. But let us look at proportions and see what a different impression is produced.
—————————————————————————————- Population. : Total : Total Non- : Proportion : Christians. : Christians. : of Christians to : : : Non-Christians. —————————————————————————————- 32,571,000 : 534,238 : 32,036,762 : 1 to 60 —————————————————————————————-
One Christian to every sixty non-Christians gives us a totally different impression. We begin to feel that if only the Christians awoke to their duty they could influence the whole population profoundly. That is precisely the effect produced upon the Christians by a missionary survey undertaken with them, and understood by them; they begin to see the immensity of the work to be done, they begin to see that it can be done.
There should properly then here be two tables parallel to the first two. Thus:—
- Number of Number of Occupied Unoccupied Proportion of Remarks Area. Cities, Towns, Cities, Towns, Occupied to and Villages. Villages. Unoccupied. Conclusions. -
Total Total Total Non- Proportion of Remarks Population. Christian Christian Christian to and Population. Population. Non-Christian. Conclusions. - - __ ___ ___ ___ __
Observe what light is thrown upon a district by the mere juxtaposition of those few facts. I think those two tables alone should suffice to prove that a survey which regarded only a very few factors might be of immense service, if those who used it kept clearly before them its partial character and did not allow themselves to treat it as complete.
But, unfortunately, these first facts which we have desired are, like other facts of importance, procured only with difficulty and toil. In order to fill up the preceding tables the missionary surveyor must be able to state what is the area and what the population in the station district. But some could not supply that information. Its acquisition might involve a journey of many months given up to careful examination and inquiry. It is no small demand to make. In many cases a reasoned estimate is indeed the only possible statement; but as we have already argued careful estimates are invaluable, and where a census does not exist they give us for the time something to work upon.
Where the physical survey can be undertaken it is most illuminating work, illuminating both to the missionaries and to their native helpers, who often gain an entirely new view of their work and its possibilities from such personal examination. Testimony to the value of this experience is growing daily in weight and volume.
This physical survey would naturally result in the production of a map of the area in which the cities, towns, and villages in the station district were marked with notes on their character from the missionary point of view. In this map all places where Christians resided, where there were Christian congregations, churches, preaching places, schools, hospitals, dispensaries, etc., would be marked. It would be a pictorial presentation of the facts so far as they were capable of expression in map form.
But whether in map form or in statistical form, the area and the population for which the mission is working must be expressed either by exact figures or by estimates if we are to trace progress.
If these tables were kept over a number of years, the missionaries on the spot and directors and inquirers at home would be able to see what progress was being made towards fulfilling the obligation implied by the definition of the station area or district, and what that obligation involved.
II. When we know the work to be done we turn to the consideration of the force available. This force consists of permanent and more or less temporary members. Some will in all human probability remain in the place till they die; they are of it, they belong to it; others will probably depart elsewhere; they are not of the place; they speak of home as far away; they are liable to removal; sickness which does not kill them takes them away; the call of friends or business carries them back to their own land; they are strangers all their days in the mission district. Nevertheless, they are generally the moving, active force; upon them progress seems to depend. It is strange, but it is true generally: the permanent is the passive element, the impermanent is the active. Here we simply state the fact to excuse or condemn the placing of the missionary force first in our tables. First it is to-day.
We need then a table of the foreign missionary force. In its form it will be a mere statement of proportions. The proportions are essential in order to make comparison between one area and another possible; and comparison is the sweet savour of survey. We cannot compare the work of three men labouring among an unstated population with the work of two other men working in an unstated population; the moment that the proportions are worked out the cases can be compared. But some men detest this purely quantitative comparison. They insist, and rightly, that there is no true equality in the comparison. One man differs from another man and his work differs from the work of the other man: over large areas it is often the work of one man among many which really saves the situation. It is quite true. In the last resort survey becomes survey of personalities. But in a survey of the kind which we propose, survey of personalities is impossible and most undesirable.
The survey proposed cannot deal with personalities, but that does not invalidate the importance of the information asked for. Such forms received from many different stations would certainly throw light on the serious question of reinforcement. It is of course obvious that reinforcements could not be allotted rightly on such slight evidence as the proportion of missionaries to the population of a district. The question is not whether reinforcements could be allotted on this factor alone; but whether they could be allotted rightly in ignorance of it. Taken in conjunction with the preceding and following tables, this table would reveal something that we may call need in a purely quantitative expression, and comparative need should certainly influence the allotment of reinforcements. Though the statement of need in this table is indeed utterly insufficient by itself, it is nevertheless true that no statement of comparative need which ignored the proportions here set out would be satisfactory. This quantitative expression is not sufficient; but no statement is sufficient without it, and, as often, so here, it is the proportion rather than the actual figures which make comparison possible:—
- Total Proportion Proportion Remarks District. Popula- Foreign to of Women and tion. Missionaries. Population. to Conclusions. Population. - - - - -
We turn now to the permanent Christian force in the district. We want to know what is the force. We ask, therefore, that the total Christian constituency may be accepted as the first expression of the native force. The progress of the Gospel is most seriously affected by the whole number of those who in any sense call themselves Christians. They are the force in the place which influences the heathen for or against it. It is of the utmost importance that they should be reckoned first, and treated first, as the force which above all others works slowly, quietly, imperceptibly, but mightily. The whole body of those who profess and call themselves Christians should be put in the very first place.
Then the communicants (or full members) are commonly the body to which all turn for voluntary zealous effort. The communicants are the strength of the Church. We compare them next with the work to be done. Then the paid workers. Then the voluntary unpaid workers, recognised as such.
The difficulty of calculating the unpaid voluntary workers is indeed very great. We know of no definition which would serve to give any uniformity to returns made by different missions. We recognise that different missions would make the returns on different bases. We earnestly desire a common definition, which all might accept. But under existing circumstances it seems impossible to find one. Nevertheless, without some statement of the number of voluntary workers, we are, as we shall see, in grave danger of misjudging the situation and wronging our missionaries and the native Christians. For the time then we suggest that it would be far better to accept the returns given to us by the missionaries on their own basis, asking them to append a note to the return explaining how they calculated their voluntary force. We should then have the following table:—
The Native Force.
(a) The Christian Constituency.
- District. Population. Christian Proportion to Remarks and Constituency Non-Christian Conclusions. Population. - -
(b) The Communicants or Full Members.
- District. Population. Communicants. Proportion to Remarks and Non-Christian Conclusions Population. - -
(c) The Paid Workers.
- District. Population. Paid Workers. Proportion to Remarks and Non-Christian Conclusions Population. - -
(d) The Unpaid Workers.
- District. Population. Unpaid Proportion to Remarks and Workers. Non-Christian Conclusions. Population. - -
Here again it is the proportions which are illuminating and enable comparisons of different areas to be made. The bare figures of the number of Christians and communicants and workers by themselves would tell us very little; only when we have them related to a common factor do we get any real light.
Let us now sum up our inquiry thus far.
+ -+ -+ Work to be Done: Non-Christian Population. + -+ -+ Untouched, Unoccupied Villages. + -+ -+ Foreign Force Compared with Work to be Done. + -+ -+ Native Force Compared with Work to be Done. + -+ -+ Christian Constituency. + -+ -+ Communicants. + -+ -+ Paid Workers. + -+ -+ Unpaid Voluntary Workers. + -+ -+
If these tables were kept over a series of years, the progress of the force in relation to the work to be done would be most interestingly revealed.
But in estimating the Christian force in the district we need to know more than its number; we need to know so much of its character as statistical tables can show.
One Christian to every 129 heathen may mean much or little. It might mean that the day when the Christian force would be the controlling force in the area was close at hand. That would depend largely upon the capacity of the Christians, their education, their zeal. The tables which we now suggest are designed to reveal, so far as tables can reveal, the truth in these matters.
We begin then with the proportion of communicants in the Christian constituency. If we take the last table and, instead of considering the proportion of the communicants to the non-Christian population, consider the proportion of communicants to the Christian constituency, we gain a very different view. We gain then an idea of the character of the Christians. Instead of an idea of the size of the force at work we receive an impression of the quality of the force. Even one who lays little stress on the value and necessity of sacraments would not deny that he would expect more from a Church of 1000 in which 500 were communicants than he would from a Church of 1000 of which only 100 were communicants. He might deny that his expectation was based upon any faith in the virtue of sacraments, but he would acknowledge the fact that in our experience the Church which possesses large numbers of communicants is generally stronger than the Church which possesses a small number. The comparison of the number of communicants in relation to the number of the total Christian constituency does properly produce an impression of the strength of the Christian body.
If we can fill up the table
- District. Total. Communicants Proportion of Remarks and Christian or Full Communicants Conclusions Constituency. Members. to Christian Constituency. - -
we gain an impression of the strength of the Church. But it is important to observe that it is only in relation to the earlier tables, which set out the force in relation to the work to be done, that this impression of strength is of immediate importance to us. We are dealing with a missionary survey, a survey concerned with the propagation of the Gospel. The mere strength of the Church, unrelated to any work in which the strength is to be employed, is a very different matter. We might take pleasure in the sight of it. We might congratulate ourselves and the missionaries on the beauty of the strength revealed, but not until it is related to work to be done does strength appear in its true glory. We find in nearly all missionary statistics the number of communicants and converts set forth, and we often wonder what for. It cannot be that we may glory in our conquests and say: See how many converts and communicants we have made! But, unrelated to any task to be done, that is all that appears. Therefore we have instituted this comparison here, in close relation to the earlier tables, that we may know what is the force on the spot at work in the area defined.
Next, the proportion of Paid Workers in proportion to the number of the Christian constituency and the communicants is a most illuminating factor. By itself it is a difficult factor to appreciate rightly. Suppose we find, as we do sometimes find, that one out of every ten communicants is a paid worker. That may imply that the proportion of rice Christians is very high, or it may imply a high standard of zeal, very many of the converts being able and willing to devote themselves to Christian work and at the same time too poor to be able to support themselves without pay. This proportion, therefore, should be carefully checked by a table which shows the proportion of unpaid workers and another which shows the standard of wealth. But commonly we are given the number of paid workers, and given neither the number of unpaid voluntary workers, nor the standard of wealth, and therefore the danger of reading amiss the number of paid workers is great. We have already explained the difficulty of obtaining exact figures, or even estimates, of the number of voluntary unpaid workers, but a mere glance at the proportion of paid workers to communicants should be enough to persuade any man who desires to judge our work fairly of the necessity for such a table as we now suggest.
- District. Paid Proportion Proportion of Remarks and Workers. of Paid Workers Paid Workers Conclusions to Christian to Constituency. Communicants. - -
- District. Unpaid Proportion Proportion of Remarks and Workers. of Unpaid Workers Unpaid Workers Conclusions to Christian to Constituency. Communicants. - -
- Proportion of Christian Constituency. According to Local Standard. - District. Christian Well Poor In Remarks and Constituency. to do. Poverty Conclusions - -
There is indeed a way of judging the zeal of native Christians for the propagation of the Gospel very popular among missionaries, the way of tabulating and comparing the amount which they subscribe for missionary work. Obviously this method is the form most natural to us, but it is one of the worst conceivable. When a Christian congregation lives surrounded by heathen, for it to learn to satisfy the divine spirit of missions by putting money into a box, is most dangerous. The zeal of Christians for the spread of the Gospel ought always to be expressed first in active personal service. We should prefer to omit any question as to the amount subscribed for missionary work far off. We believe it to be a most delusive and deluding test. It deceives the giver, it deceives the inquirer. We should prefer to inquire the number of hearers or inquirers brought to the Church by the undirected effort of the Church members, or the number of Church members who go out to teach or preach in their neighbourhood, or perhaps best of all, the number of little Christian congregations which as a body are actively engaged in evangelising their neighbours. But we admit missionary contributions as an additional question
- Christian Inquirers Congregations Amount Remarks and Constituency. brought in Evangelising Subscribed Conclusions by Native their for Missionary Christians. Neighbours. Purposes. - -
That a Church must be instructed and instruct its children all are agreed: where men differ is with respect to the manner of the teaching. On the one side are those who would safeguard the faith by committing the teaching of it to a small body of carefully trained men, the clergy, whilst the majority of the Christians, the laity, remain unlearned and accept what is taught by the trained official teachers: on the other side are those who would boldly commit the faith to all, opening to all the door of learning. The one party would preserve the faith in the hands of a select few, the other would put the Bible into every man's hands. It is an old controversy; but we suppose nearly all those for whom we write are of the second party, men who would gladly see every Christian able to read the Bible and to base his religious life upon it. We stand for the open Bible; we believe that the Christian Church in every country will progress and develop strongly if it is based on a widespread knowledge of Holy Writ, and we are prepared to believe that a capacity to read the Bible is a sure sign of health in any Christian Church. The test of literacy commonly adopted in our missions is the capacity to read the Holy Gospels: we accept that gladly and confidently.
Furthermore, the influence of the Christian Church in the country will largely depend upon the extent to which the Christians are better able to read and understand literary expression than their heathen neighbours.
We want then to know the literacy of the Christian community as compared with the literacy of the non-Christian population from which it springs, and, if possible, a little more than that—what proportion of the Christians have had a sufficient education to enable them not only to satisfy the very slight demands of a literary test, but to have some wider knowledge with which to improve their own position and to enlighten others.
The table which results is as follows:—
- Non-Chris- Propor- Total Propor- Proportion Remarks and tian tion of Christian tion of of Christians Conclusions. Popula- Liter- Consti- Liter- of Higher tion. ates. tuency. ates. Education. - -