Ninety-nine percent of missionary effort and financial support goes to places where the churches are already present.
Shocking, isn't it? If we’re going to reach the world for Christ, we’d better start doing things a little differently.
I found this statistic on the website of the Issachar Initiative. It’s a coalition of people and organizations formed around the goal of seeing a world with zero people groups unreached with the gospel. One of Issachar’s main objectives is to use mission resources in a more informed, strategic manner.
To do this, many have begun looking to native missionaries, who are doing 95% of effective pioneer work among unreached peoples in the world today.
However as more research surfaces about native missionaries’ effectiveness, more and more "organizations" are using the nationals.
Sounds like a good thing, right? Well, there’s a problem with my above statement and it has to do with that word “using".
“Using” implies putting other people to work to carry out our objective, our vision. If we are to plant indigenous Churches that remain we have to rethink this method to "equipping". Ephesians 4:12 uses the word "Perfecting" which means "to fully equip".
“Equipping” is an entirely different ballgame. It involves teaching, evaluating, listening, entrusting, and assisting. That’s what we do in Zambia. And that’s why I love working here. We ask questions like “What is your vision and what do you need to fulfill it?” For were there is no vision the people perish.
For example in Zambia, One of the men in the church told me that people won't come to church unless they know someone. So personal connection is more effective than cold call door knocking or print, and it proved to be true.
Unfortunately I have discovered a trend in our Churches in America. That is, the mentality that church planting is the same in the US as it is abroad. The opposite is true.
If you don’t live were they live and learn how they think, how would you know what methods are best to reach their people? When it comes to foreign missions one size simply does not fit all.
When it comes to the most important work on earth we should be more strategic. Less empire building and more mission focused. And for the missionary, Less using and more equipping?
By Martin Chilando, Zambia
c. (Issachar initiative), (missions with home field advantage)
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