Supporting Indigenous Laborers


Gospel For Asia Article

Learn more about why native missions is the new revolution in world missions.

Today the reality is...
that 97 percent of the world's unreached lives in the 10/40 Window, a rectangular shaped area on our globe extending from West Africa to East Asia, from 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. In this part of the world, millions live with little or no chance of ever hearing the Gospel. The Window also encompasses the majority of the world's Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.

The darkest of all areas within the 10/40 Window is Asia. Over 80,000 die every day in Asian countries without knowing about the love of Jesus Christ. 500,000 villages in India alone have never heard the Gospel.

Although 97 percent of the world's unreached lives in the 10/40 Window, less than .05 percent of our total resources as the Church in the West are being sent to help share the Good News. Truly there is a staggering amount of work to do.

However, with native missionaries we can reach them!

With few or no cultural barriers to overcome, native missionaries can...
readily preach the Gospel to those who, unlike their western counterparts, have never heard. Although native missionaries do face many difficult obstacles as they take the message from village to village, they still have an enormous advantage over their coworkers from North America and other non-Asian lands.

Today, over 85 percent of Asian countries do not allow western missionaries to come and freely preach the Gospel and plant churches.

In the eyes of the people, native missionaries do not represent a foreign country or a strange religion. They already know the language or can easily learn a local dialect.

A native missionary can be sent out at a fraction of the cost of a Western missionary. In fact, the average cost is only $1,100 to $1,800 per year compared to over $75,000 per year for a foreign missionary.

The possibility of reaching Asia's multitudes through native missionaries in our generation is very real as thousands are being trained to plant churches across Asia!

Thousands of native workers...
are being trained and sent to the mission fields of Asia every year through Gospel for Asia. But many more are needed if the millions in these countries are to hear the Gospel in our lifetime.

To date 54 Bible colleges have been established in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and at the Bhutan border. Currently, nearly 9,000 young men and women are currently receiving training.

The quality of GFA students is incredible. Over 98 percent of our graduates minister in places where the Gospel has never before been preached. Frequently, our graduates will establish a new fellowship within their first year on the field.

This incredible fruit from native missions work is being reproduced across Asia!

On average, our missionaries establish approximately 15 fellowships every day in Asia among unreached villages and people groups.

But none of this has come easily. Our native missionaries are paying a high price of suffering, hardship and intense persecution to see churches established.

The churches planted in each culture are truly indigenous in character, self-governing, self-propagating and, as soon as possible, self-supporting.

Thousands of native brothers and sisters are waiting to be sent. They just need your help!

Your part in winning Asia...
is just as important as that of the workers on the field. Although they are willing and eager to go, they are limited by the resources given to provide a small room to rent, food to eat, and Bibles and tracts to distribute.

Without support from Christians around the world, our brothers and sisters in Asia simply would not be able to complete the task of sharing Christ with every village and people group.

It takes only between $90 and $150 per month to support a native missionary through Gospel for Asia. You can help support one worker with a monthly donation of $30. As a sponsor, you are asked to pray regularly for your missionary. When you become a sponsor, your missionary's picture and testimony will be sent to you promptly.

There are numerous other ways to impact the lost world through Gospel for Asia. Llearn more about how you can be involved in reaching the most unreached.


International Mission Board - Southern Baptist

Successful church plants in Moldova, Armenia and Georgia

P r a g u e - Three years after its founding, the European Baptist Federation's (EBF) Indigenous Missionary Project (IMP) has noticebly expanded its efforts. At the EBF council sessions beginning today in Prague, the Polish-born IMP-Coordinator Daniel Trusiewicz (Wroclaw) stated: "It's easier for native Christians to win their fellow countrymen for the Gospel of Jesus Christ than for foreign missionaries." This programme was launched in 2003 by four missionaries in Moldova. Forty missionaries working in an area stretching from Russia's Arctic Circle to the Black Sea are now involved. The long-term objective is to support 200 indigenous missionaries. These efforts occur in close cooperation with national Baptist unions and local congregations. Within five years, the church planter's work should be developed enough to drop outside funding. After the initial two-and-a-half years, funding is reduced by 25% every six months. Only three support recipients have given up; all others are serving very successfully.

One of the most successful church planters according to Trusiewicz is the 29-year-old Moldovan Igor Seremet . He not only planted a new congregation in the regional capital of Annini Noi now numbering 50 members, this congregation also founded two further ones during its first two years of IMP support. Trusiewicz hopes for similar developments elsewhere. The Baptist Union of Moldova already is one of Europe's most successful unions. When the Iron Curtain fell, the country hosted 230 Baptist congregations with 11.000 members. Today the numbers total 521 congregations and 21.000 members. IMP is supporting eight IMP-missionaries in this country.

Similar church planting tallies are to be found in Armenia. Since 1990, the number of Baptists has grown from 400 in four congregations to approximately 3.000 in 100 congregations and mission stations. The IMP is supporting two missionaries there. The Georgian Baptist Union has also experienced significant growth during this period, expanding from 10 congregations with 2.000 members to 75 congregations and 5.000 members. Two missionaries are being supported in this country. Trusiewicz states that the Baptist unions of Western Europe rarely experience such growth. Membership is stagnant in the large Baptist unions of Great Britain and Germany. The Baptist Union of Norway has applied for support from this missions project, but it has not yet been approved. The EBF supplies the IMP with roughly 125.000 Euro annually.

Klaus Rösler, 23 September 2005

Missions Frontier Magazine

Let the Buyer Beware

Financially supporting national pastors and missionaries may not always be the bargain it's cracked up to be. --Craig Ott

In the light of the skyrocketing costs of sending North American missionaries, more and more churches and individuals are supporting national pastors and evangelists, who generally require a fraction of the support of Western missionaries. These native workers not only cost less but know the language and culture of their people, and they often have access to countries closed to traditional Western missionaries.

Many churches have established direct partnerships with churches in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, which include considerable financial subsidies. By sending dollars to support national Christians to evangelize their own people, one proponent claims a new wave of missions has come that offers "the best and only hope for taking the Gospel" to the world.(1)

A careful study of the history and theology of missions will, however, reveal that financial support of national pastors and evangelists is fraught with dangers. In fact, such well-intended subsidies often weaken receiving churches and undermine world evangelization in the longer term. Think twice before you start supporting nationals in your missions giving, and consider the following dangers.

The Nine Caveats

1. Western support of native workers is a model that national churches cannot reproduce. To be effective, any missionary strategy must be reproducible. Missionaries normally try to model ministry that national believers and churches can both carry on after the foreigners leave and reproduce in further evangelism. In this way the missionary multiplies his or her efforts, and the gospel's spread does not depend on foreign presence or assistance.

Western funding of native workers is a model nationals can never reproduce themselves because it, by definition, depends on outside funding. As a result, churches will tend to assume that seeking support from mission agencies or partnerships with wealthy Western churches is the normal way to support pastors and send missionaries. Success in ministry becomes tied to Western purse strings. When the dollars stop, so does the evangelism--a very questionable strategy indeed, considering the precarious future of the U.S. economy.

A missionary who was working in a tribal group in Mexico had to spend days traveling from village to village by donkey. Thinking of the travel time that could be saved, a well-meaning friend offered to buy him a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The missionary wisely rejected the offer, explaining, "If I use such a vehicle, the natives will say, 'We can't do evangelism unless we also have such a vehicle.'" His ministry would cease to be reproducible. Having a good long-range strategy often means rejecting methods promising greater short-term results.

To reproduce themselves, native churches must discover creative ways to spread the gospel and plant churches without outside support.

2. Such a strategy is based on the assumption that the spread of the gospel depends on money. Financial resources can help disseminate the gospel, and sacrificial giving is an important Christian discipline demonstrating commitment, love, and devotion to God and his purposes. But making the fulfillment of the Great Commission dependent on the church's ability to raise money is a fallacy Western Christians have uncritically, unconsciously accepted. It reflects our Western materialism and commitment to a professionalized ministry. Again, this theoretically limits God's work to the measure of the church's economic prosperity.

Encouraging nationals to seek Western support for evangelism sends developing churches a not-so-subtle message: "In order to evangelize and send missionaries, you must have money to support professionals. Because your resources are limited, you must seek Western financial aid."

While we may encourage nationals to give sacrificially to support their own, we must avoid communicating that professional pastors and missionaries are the only, or even the best, way to reach the world for Christ. One of the greatest missionary movements in the church's history was initiated by Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians, who achieved a ratio of one missionary to every 12 communicant members. Eventually they had three members on the mission field for each one at home.(2) They did this by developing creative ways of generating partial to full self-support; in modern jargon, they became tentmakers.(3)

Roland Allen said the apostle Paul never took financial support to the churches he started and argued persuasively against such a practice.(4) When we make finances a "key" to world evangelization, the danger is great that we are basing our mission strategy on cultural, materialistic values rather than biblical principles.

3. It can create dependency and stunt giving in national churches. Admittedly, there is great poverty in many countries, but teaching new churches to depend on Western resources can blind them to recognizing their own giving potential or seeking creative ways to overcome obstacles by trusting God.

The history of missions is replete with sad stories of resentments created when developing churches became dependent on Western funding. (5) Programs are developed and workers are hired on the basis of outside subsidies, and national churches come to expect and count on them. When sending churches seek to reduce the subsidies, or when the national believers spend or hire ways disagreeable to the supporting churches, hard feelings and misunderstandings normally result. Any giving to mission churches or native workers must answer two questions: "Will this stimulate or discourage local giving?" "Will it create unhealthy dependency and foreign dominance, or help the church mature and become self-sustaining?"

The amazing growth of the church under communist oppression in China demonstrates that churches can grow and mature even under the most severe conditions without Western support. Indeed, when the Chinese churches received Western assistance, they experienced minimal growth.

4. Heavy dependence on Western funds can reinforce feelings of inferiority. Because of the extreme poverty in many countries,

nationals already feel inferior. Western support of native pastors and evangelists, and the resulting dependency, strengthen the belief that only Western Christians have the resources (namely, money) to evangelize and maintain their churches. Such support can result in a new form of the old paternalism that so characterized the colonial era. Giving in ways that advance self-sufficiency and self-worth demonstrates love, but giving that creates dependency is dehumanizing and oppressive.

5. Western support can create a mercenary spirit among nationals. While the motives of most national pastors and evangelists are above reproach, even motives for Christian service can become easily mixed when a secure and steady income is offered to those willing to become pastors or evangelists. Competition and jealousy can arise among believers vying to secure coveted, paid positions in a land of hunger. Westerners are rarely in a position to discern motives, and they all too often tap leaders the nationals would not have chosen.(6) Churches can become resentful or jealous of other churches receiving extravagant subsidies from American partner churches due to personal connections.

Eastern European churches, which have learned to survive, and, in many cases, carry on significant ministries under great hardship, relative poverty, and, often, lay leadership, are now facing the challenges of new freedoms and adjustment to Westernization and materialism. If not done with the greatest care, the outpouring of well-intended financial gifts from Western churches could do much to further confuse and pollute churches that have been purified by 45 years of communist oppression.

All too often native pastors and churches have become preoccupied with ministries that attract Western dollars (such as orphan work), while neglecting more basic pastoral care and evangelism. Even development work, if not wisely administered, can hinder church growth.(7) A great missionary statesman of the last century, John L. Nevius, observed how employing native evangelists in China tended to stop the work of volunteer lay evangelists, who resented not being paid, thus hindering the natural spread of the gospel.(8) William Kornfield describes how churches among the Quechua Indians in Latin America that were once self-supporting and self-propagating have, as a result of financial paternalism, become divided and have lost the vision for reaching the lost.(9)

6. Foreign paid workers are not always more effective, and sometimes are even less effective and credible than lay workers. When the mission stopped paying national workers in India, the number of lay workers multiplied, which resulted in mass movements to Christ in the Methodist Episcopal Church.(10)

National evangelists are sometimes rejected by their peers when the latter discover that Westerners pay them. In China they are called "the white man's running dog." Foreign nationals may judge foreign- paid evangelists as mercenaries, or even subversives, who have become Christians and preach the gospel only for the financial benefits. The communist Chinese saw subsidies of Chinese churches and workers as evidence that Christianity was not only a foreign religion, but an instrument of Western imperialism.(11) The heavy Western subsidizing of national evangelists and pastors could reproduce these kinds of suspicions in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe today.

Nevius wrote, "While working with their hands in those several callings they bore testimony to the truth wherever they went, and were exciting great interest in their own neighborhoods. It was not long, however, before these men were employed.and the interest in and about their homes ceased..I have not been able to learn of any one of them, that his after career was a specially useful one. I refer to these not as unusual and exceptional."(12)

When national believers fail to support their own workers, the impression is reinforced that Christianity is in fact a foreign religion that has neither taken root nor inspired the deep commitment of its followers. Furthermore, church members can resent a pastor who is not accountable to them because his salary is paid by a foreign mission or church. This danger is especially great today, as some North American churches have started directly supporting pastors of poorer Eastern European churches, bypassing the local congregations those pastors serve.

On the other hand, it is a tremendous testimony of love and commitment when national believers who have so little sacrifice greatly to support their own pastors or send evangelists to tell others the Good News. This demonstrates that Christianity is not a Western religion or an agent of imperialism, but has in fact commanded the deepest commitments among the various peoples of the earth.

7. It can rob the national church of the joy of being a truly missionary church. When the Evangelical Free Churches of Venezuela caught a vision to send their first missionary to tribal work, they sought assistance from the North American mother mission. The mission leaders responded, "If you are to be a truly missionary church, you must send them and support them yourselves." At first the Venezuelans didn't understand, and they protested, "But you have so much and we so little!" Soon, however, they raised the necessary support and were able to send their first missionary. There was tremendous joy at that commissioning service, because the Venezuelans saw how God provided and knew that they had become a truly multiplying, missionary church. Had North American funds been provided, they would have been robbed of that joy.

8. Employing national missionaries may not be the bargain it appears. While not all native missionaries will need costly higher education, we have to ask what kind of preparation they will require. Cross- cultural ministry, contextualization, and so on are challenges faced by Western and non-Western missionaries alike. To avoid the mistakes of the past and to increase their effectiveness, missionaries must have careful preparation and training. Specialized ministries in particular--such as Bible translation and medical work--demand extensive training, which normally does not come cheap.

Larry Poston questions whether native missionaries really live as cheaply as some claim, especially in the cities, where the cost of living can be staggering. Given the fact that the world is rapidly urbanizing, a long-range strategy must include reaching the urban masses.(13)

Donors should carefully ask about the training and placement of "bargain missionaries" before assuming that they really are receiving more "bang for their missionary buck."

9. Sending money instead of missionaries comes dangerously close to compromising the very essence of the Great Commission. The Great Commission calls us to not only send dollars, but ourselves. Just as the Father sent the Son to become man and dwell among us, Jesus sends us into the world to personally identify with those whom we would reach. This will not always be the most economical solution, but it will be the greatest demonstration of love: We cared enough to surrender our comfort and way of life to share God's love with others.

Conclusion

I do not mean to underestimate the importance of sacrificial missions giving. Missionaries must be sent. Relief and compassion ministries must go on. There is a place for certain types of financial assistance to developing churches.

This article, rather, is a call for discernment in how those funds are spent. To truly promote the long-range purposes of world evangelization, subsidies of national churches and workers must promote the planting of reproducing churches, protect the integrity of national believers and their witness, and avoid pitfalls described above. Pragmatism cannot be allowed to overrule spiritual principles and blind us to the lessons of history. Short-term gains can sometimes mean long-term disaster. As Wade Coggins writes, "If our churches give only their money, and not their sons and daughters, our missionary vision will be dead in a generation or less. We can't substitute money for flesh and blood."(14)

To reach our ever-changing world for Christ, new and creative strategies are indeed called for. But we must not become bound by unbiblical methods that are outdated or rooted in materialistic assumptions. There are no short-cuts in the task of world evangelization. It demands total commitment. It also demands careful discernment.

Two whole editions of Mission Frontier Magazine have been dedicated to this topic of the pros and cons of supporting national workers if you are interested in reading more. All of the information can be found here 1994 and here 1997.

Missiology.org article

Monthly Missiological Reflection #15

"Using Money in Missions: Four Perspectives"

Soon after writing Monthly Missiological Reflection #2 on Money and Mi$$ion$ (February 2000), I received letters from two Christian leaders. A long-term missionary co-worker challenged me for rejecting the self-support principles that we had learned in our missions training and consistently employed during the first twenty years of our mission work in Africa. At about the same time a dedicated Abilene Christian University graduate student from Africa wrote saying that my writings were biased in favor of the support of American missionaries and largely excluded the possibility of American churches working directly with national leaders in supporting and developing missions works. He felt that I was racially prejudiced. Both emails were copied to a number of people. These two letters, written by dedicated brothers, demonstrate the sensitivity of the topic under discussion.

In many cases missionaries hold to perspectives of self-support while national leaders feel that these perspectives are rooted in paternalism and prejudice. In discussions each side indicts the motives of the other. The issues then become so emotional and personal that effective communication is impossible.

This issue has also surfaced in the pages of Christianity Today . Robertson McQuilkin, president emeritus of Columbia International University and past executive director of the Evangelical Missiological Society, wrote an article entitled, "Stop Sending Money! Breaking the cycle of missions dependency" (1999, 57-59). In the article he quotes national leaders, such as Bishop Zablon Nthamburi of the Methodist Church of Kenya, who said, "The African Church will not grow into maturity if it continues to be fed by Western partners. It will ever remain an infant who has not learned to walk on his or her own feet" (1999, 58). McQuilkin then suggests that our standards for the use of money in missions should be measured against four biblically based principles: Does the giving (1) win the lost? (2) Encourage true discipleship? (3) Honor the role of the local church? (4) Nurture generous givers? (1999, 58). He concludes that the New Testament specifically designates that the poor are to be the primary recipients of money and that the support of preachers, construction of church buildings, and creation of institutions emerged only when the church was able to afford them (March 1, 1999, 58-59).

McQuilkin's self-support perspectives were challenged by Bob Finley, chairman of the Christian Aid Mission of Charlottesville, Virginia, in his article "Send Dollars and Sense: Why giving is often better than going" (1999, 73-75). Finley agreed with McQuilkin that "churches, by their very nature should be self-supporting" and that "the most effective indigenous missions organizations are those independent of foreign control and not affiliated with foreign denominations or missions organizations" (1999, 73). He, however, stated the belief that "providing financial support to indigenous ministries is effective if a clear distinction is made between directly supporting individual workers . . . and . . . supporting such workers indirectly through indigenous missions boards that give oversight to the handling of funds" (1999, 73). He encouraged missions leaders to make wise decisions by never supporting individual missionaries directly, holding the local missions board accountable for decisions made, and requiring financial accountability (1999, 74).

This Monthly Missiological Reflection builds upon the perspectives of these articles and responds to the above-mentioned letters by giving strengths and limitations of four models for using money in missions. Two of these models were described historically and philosophically in January's Monthly Missiological Reflection . This article, however, describes all four models and depicts the results, both positive and negative, when these models are applied to mission life on the field.

The Personal Support Model

Many of the abuses of money suggested by McQuilkin are due to the frequent use of the personal support model . In this model foreign churches and individual Christians, and even mission agencies, send money directly to national preachers and evangelists without collaboration and oversight by mature church leaders on the field. Outsiders make decisions without a mature body of believers or agency providing on-the-field planning and accountability. Frequently this direct support begins when rich foreigners hold a campaign in a mission context and then begin supporting the preaching minister of the local church who has hosted them.

The abuses that result from the use of this model arise because supporters are unable to clearly discern the church situation from afar and across cultural barriers. Seldom are foreign Christian leaders able to perceive the motives of those that they support. Those supported may be articulate and communicative, especially when visitors are present, but not minister out of a deep conviction or God's call. They rather minister because the job provides an income that they would otherwise not have. For example, the executive director of a major director of a major Pentecostal group in Uganda said, "I would jump to another religious group if they paid me more. Currently I am not making enough to live on the level I desire. Many of the pastors under me feel the same" (Van Rheenen, 1976). Many supported leaders, however, are guided by good motives but even they tend to cater to the theologies and methodologies of those who support them.

Dependency frequently becomes so great that local leaders believe that they cannot initiate other churches without rich benefactors providing the funds. Jealousies between those who do and do not receive support erode Christian community. Many church leaders go through intense faith dilemmas when their support is terminated and frequently jump to another religious group or entirely lose their faith.

Paradoxically, this model is typically used to support pastoral rather than apostolic ministries. In other words, money from rich nations is employed in the support of local preaching ministers rather than support of evangelists or "missionaries" initiating new churches. These churches, however, should all be self-supporting! In rural areas of the world, where the cultural organization is informally organized and there is more time for ministry, vibrant churches should have numbers of vocational ministers and pastors serving the flock. In urban contexts, where there is a cash economy, growing churches should support their own preaching ministers and pastors.

The personal support model is easy for the local churches and Christians in rich lands to implement because they have only to write a check, and if they desire, periodically visit the national Christians that they support. When they visit, supporters tend to get a glamorized picture of the work with little understanding of what is actually occurring.

The personal support model thus tends to hinder rather than empower missions. Supporters and local church leaders should seek to transition from this model to the partnership model (described below) in order to put accountability and decision-making into the hands of reputable Christians in the areas where the national evangelists live.

The Indigenous Model

The indigenous model contrasts sharply with the personal support model. In this model missionaries seek to initiate churches that are self-supporting from their inception. For example, an American, European, or Korean church or agency supports their missionaries to plant new churches, nurture young Christians in these churches to grow to maturity, equip national leaders supported by their own people and resources, and then pass the baton of leadership to these developing Christian leaders.

A number of principles guide the self-support orientation of the indigenous model. When missionaries, churches, and agencies with great wealth begin supporting local preachers living in less-wealthy areas of the world, dependency occurs which ultimately hinders the growth and maturity of the new Christian movement. The support and governance of the mission agencies and sending churches become like scaffolding in the construction of a new building. In some cases, however, the scaffolding cannot be removed because, paradoxically, it has become the structure holding the fragile building together. Likewise, many anemic mission works are unable to stand without the support of foreign scaffolding (Henry Venn in Beyerhaus, 1979, 16-17).

Local churches and Christian institutions should generally reflect the economy of their areas. If churches in poor countries are built on the basis on wealthy economies, they will never be able to stand on their own. Frequently institutions-schools, hospitals, and agricultural ministries--are created by use of outside finances. These institutions, created in a poor country by using finances from rich countries, seldom become locally supported and supervised. Instead of decreasing, the amount of support (and resulting control) tends to increase over the years, resulting in more dependence by nationals and more control by foreign churches and agencies.

Once a preacher or church leader is supported by outside Christians or agency, it becomes exceptionally difficulty to transition to local support. The expectation is, "Once supported by outsiders, always supported by outsiders."

This is particularly true of rural areas of the world, where many of the people live partially on a subsistence level. In other words, while they do not have much cash, they do have produce from their farms, which form the foundation of their economy. These rural churches are generally like a family, informally and interpersonally organized. In such contexts it is advisable to develop churches with a multiplicity of lay leaders but with no full-time preacher. The introduction of a full-time minister, where few have specialized jobs, in most cases creates jealously and dissension.

McQuilkin's article and the letter from my co-worker indicate that the indigenous model of support is the only effective model. Finley's article and the letter from the African leaders seek to refute this affirmation.

The Partnership Model

The partnership model is significantly different from both the personal support and indigenous models . The partnership perspective recognizes that there are certain contexts in this internationalizing world where foreign money, if appropriately used can empower missions without creating dependency. This money, however, rather than going directly to the recipient, should go through a local accountability structure of mature Christian leaders. Finley supported this perspective when he wrote that "providing financial support to indigenous ministries is effective if a clear distinction is made between directly supporting individual workers . . . and . . . supporting such workers indirectly through . . . boards that give oversight to the handling of funds."

Effective partnerships require churches, agencies, or consortiums of national leaders who have the maturity to oversee the developing work. The leaders within the partnership mutually decide the duration of the partnership, accountability for use of money, and methodologies for their specific mission tasks. Without such dialogue or "mutual complementation" partnership eventually breaks down because trust erodes and interest wanes.

In an effective partnership most decisions are made by the leaders closest to the field but with full consultation and dialogue with outside supporters. These partnerships should be of limited duration and focused on specific goals. For example, a church will work with a group of leaders to plant an urban church, who will then use their local finances to establish other churches. It must be recognized that all international urban contexts function in cash economies, and growing urban churches should all be able to support their own preaching minister. A presupposition of this article is that local churches, soon after inception, should be able to be self-supporting whatever model they employ . Partners should cease supporting stagnant, non-growing works that through the guise of partnership have really become dependent upon outside support for the needs of the local church.

This partnership perspective is based on a number of practical realities. As the world internationalizes, old dichotomies between missionary-sending and missionary-receiving countries are breaking down. For instance, Christians of different nationalities marry and become missionaries. Would families of mixed nationalities with one marriage partner being of the sending nation and the other of the recipient nation be considered foreign missionaries or local evangelists? In this context is one partner a missionary and the other a national church leader? In addition, areas which until recently were mission fields (for example, Korea and Brazil), are today sending out their own missionaries so that there are currently as many church-planting missionaries from the Southern as from the Northern Hemisphere. For example, there are a number of Brazilian missionaries from a charismatic heritage planting churches in Uruguay. In fact, five of the eight full-time evangelists of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God are from Brazil.

An example of this internationalization can be seen in the business world. Companies first begin internationalizing by exporting products to consuming countries without industrial infrastructures and allowing local marketers to sell their products in their country or economic sphere. Soon, however, these companies set up their own marketing infrastructure to maximize profits. A new phase of internationalization occurs when the companies research the market to determine the needs of their audiences within this the sector of the world. Based upon this research, the companies develop manufacturing within the once-recipient country in order meet the expectations of local consumers. Soon the companies invite their best executives to join them in international decision-making and planning at their company headquarters. The companies have thus moved through progressive stages to become internationalized simply be expanding their markets.

Mission agencies and urban churches have likewise become increasingly international. Some mission agencies, like World Christian Broadcasting and Herald of Truth in Churches of Christ and Operation Mobilization and Youth with A Mission in the evangelical world, have gone through a similar process of internationalizing. The reality is that old models of missionary finance do not neatly fit into globalizing world contexts.

At least two pragmatic factors have led me to consider the need for international partnership. First, it is difficult for church movements to begin from scratch in highly specialized, time-limited, money-driven urban cultures without initial financial help. Urban churches that are planted based upon the self-support principle seldom survive because they do not have the resources to impact a multi-cultural urban culture. Those established upon the basis of a purely indigenous approach generally become isolated congregations on the periphery of the city. Neo-charismatic churches from Brazil, on the other hand, have invaded Uruguay and Argentina with enough initial money to pay their missionaries, rent theaters, conduct crusades, and begin TV programs. A purely indigenous approach in a city the size of Montevideo, Uruguay, or Buenos Aires, Argentina, would sound naive and shortsighted to these very effective urban evangelists.

A second pragmatic reason for partnership is the need to help mature movements within poorer areas of the world to develop the structures of continuity to nurture all the local churches within their fellowship and to become missions-sending movements. For example, every field researcher can recount numerous stories of church planting movements which have disintegrated because foreign missionaries left without collaborating with local leaders to develop what Monte Cox calls "structures of governance, expansion, finance and theological education" (1999, 217).

These structures should be organized on both congregational and associational levels. On the congregational level the community of faith, guided by the Word of God, must determine how local churches are organized and how these local congregations relate to one another. On the associational level mature church leaders and missionaries collaborate in developing teaching, equipping, and encouraging structures above the level of the local church. Local churches should bond together, as did the early churches in Jerusalem, so that they help each other. Vocational and full-time national evangelists must also form teams to complete the evangelization of their area and spread the Gospel into adjoining and distant areas. Training schools on the association level almost always provide forums for creative reflection and equipping of leaders and youth for local churches (Van Rheenen, 2000, 43).

Partnership, like the indigenous model, has many pitfalls. For example, partnership could become another name for paternalism if outsiders control decisions and set agendas. Under the guise of partnership a subsidy system is introduced which, in reality, is no more than the personal support model. Another limitation of partnership involves the difficulty of communicating across cultures to make authentic decisions and the fact that decisions are made differently in various cultures. The tendency today is to idealize partnerships without considering some of these very significant problems (For future discussion of "Problems with Partnership" refer to Van Rheenen 1996, 198-202).

The Indigenous/Partnership Model

Finally, there should sometimes be a mix between the last two models--the indigenous and the partnership approaches--forming what we will call the indigenous/partnership model . During the movement's first generation, missionaries work to establish initial beachheads of Christianity by planting the first churches, nurturing new Christians to maturity, and training national leaders. Because the work is self-supporting during these formative years, early Christians come to Christ, not because of financial inducements but because of faith commitments. In their partnership they seek to develop structures of continuity to nurture existing fellowships and train evangelists to enable this to become a missions-sending movement. In other words, national and missionary leaders collaborate with sending churches and agencies to develop these structures of continuity that will enable the national church to not only stand on its own but cause the movement to expand.

In conclusion, I believe that the last three models (indigenous, partnership, and indigenous/partnership), can each be effectively employed in various world contexts. Generally, indigenous and indigenous/partnership perspectives appropriately apply to rural, face-to-face cultures, which do not have a high degree of specialization and do not relate extensively to the international arena. Urban situations are frequently quite international, and models of partnership are more likely to empower the church rather than to create dependency and control from the outside.

Too many mission-sending churches and agencies, however, operate with no model for the use of money in missions. Their decisions about money and missions are, therefore, likely to be inconsistent, haphazard, and paternalistic.







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