National Churches as Sending Churches
American churches and missionaries should encourage national churches in other countries to become sending churches so that they send their missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission. Especial consideration should be given to challenging national churches to send their missionaries to the places where American (or Western) missionaries cannot go; to unreached cities, unreached people groups and unreached countries.
It is normal, natural and even expected that American churches should, can and will become sending churches. We have done so for over 200 years; and done it well. But somehow challenging national churches to become sending churches has been neglected for the most part. It is as if we have excused them from the responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission because we deem them too poor, unlearned and/or unwilling. However, it does not matter even if any of these things are true, the Great Commission remains their responsibility (as much as it is ours) and their failure to participate will bring judgment upon them.
Rarely is any single church able to send their missionary alone. Generally the challenge is to find other supporting churches that will join with the sending church. This pattern can be extended to national sending churches by challenging them to do what they can and then seek other national churches to join with them to send their missionary to fulfill God’s calling. After they have done everything possible to meet the cost of their missionary, what they lack can be met by American churches that join to assist, in interdependence with their brothers and sisters in Christ, as supporting churches. Assistance should be for a limited time and given to these churches for as long as it is needed until it is no longer needed.
There I go again, talking only about money. Constantly I need to remind myself that money is not the only resource we have to assist national churches. In fact, every country is different and this includes differences in the needs of national churches. Recently I had a conversation with a national believer who made it clear that her country did not need finances and in fact finances would be harmful to the missionary cause. Instead she said “they have the money; they need training, vision, and mobilization”. Typically finances are the primary resource to meet the needs of national churches. But training has also been a significant resource; one of great value because of what we have here in America (both personnel and literature). In addition, we can pass on our zeal for missions with counsel for vision and setting goals along with methodology for mobilization.
Doug Combs, Biblical Ministries Worldwide
picture courtesy http://www.asianaccess.org