I received a missions newsletter from a good brother working in a hard place. I’m in no position to evaluate his work. Each worker stands or falls before the Lord who is Judge of all. At the same time, I see comments like the following one repeatedly. This one was made after 25 years of work in the same place:
If our support is not continued the work will probably die in the places where we are working because our full-time preacher and his family will not be able to continue to work there.
It is possible that this is true because, in part, of the methodology used in that place. Across the board, American Christians are reproducing the bad habits they practice in the U.S. They go in, build a building, hire a full-time preacher, ship in American preachers for a week at a time to teach, and develop their work in this way.
Friends, there is a better way than using large amounts of American funds directly in a mission effort. We hope to develop works that, after years of our investment, will finally become self-supporting. But here’s the catch: As a work begins, so it will continue. This is a principle that has proven to be true time and again.
As a work begins, so it will continue.
So start a work in the manner that you want to see it functioning 10 and 20 years down the road. That means, in part, not creating a dependence upon foreign funds. This has been repeated through the years, but we don’t seem to be making much progress on it, because we are reproducing a failed American model.