This is the fourth part, in a series on Missionary Principles. Simply stated, the principle is:
The chief work of the missionary must be the training of native Christians
I believe there is a place for traditional missionaries who settle into a different land, culture and sometimes, spend their whole lives there. This is called ‘incarnational’ work, just like Jesus, who incarnated as a human and dwelt among us. This is needed especially in a place where there are no Christians.
However, not everyone can afford to move for a long period of time. Some may have standing obligations at home whether it be work or family. But don’t let that be an excuse for you do nothing and leave it all to missionaries.
You can do this: Empower locals to spread the Gospel.
I call this the ‘Empowering Mission Trip’ or EMT where you use your short-term trip to train workers. Train a few, and the far-reaching effects spreads out.
My parents and church have been doing EMTs for years with much fervor. From what I learnt, there are several advantages of EMTs:
- No need to stay overseas for months or years. Short-term trips are possible.
- With a translator, you don’t need to learn a new language. But I advise you learn basic phrases to build rapport with the locals.
- Local missionaries know the culture, language and can survive at lower costs than a foreign missionary. Supporting a local missionary is usually cheap and effective.
- One missionary can only do so much. But if a local group of missionaries are trained, the web of contacts is dramatically increased.
Can you imagine, Jesus left the Gospel into the hands of 12 disciples to evangelise the world? And for 3 years, Jesus spent most of his time training his disciples. That can be our strategy too.
Here are two recommendations to implement EMTs:
- Equip the local missionaries with useful skills.
There are an endless number of things you can teach them on an empowering mission trip.
- Bible knowledge
- How to evangelise
- Business generation
- Handling money
- Public speaking
- Hygiene practices
- Music skills
First of all, check with the local missionaries if the topics are of interest or needed. I’m sure you or your church members are blessed with skills that can empower the locals.
Preparing lessons or a short course for EMTs takes effort and time. Are you willing to invest in the eternal kingdom of God? God blessed you so you can bless others.
2. Support a local missionary
Based on real needs, provide for them as they do the Lord’s work. Make sure you choose carefully who you support that they are really advancing the Lord’s kingdom. Some locals due to their poverty, ask for money constantly for their own wants. It pays to keep in contact to find a trustworthy person to support. If they prove unable to handle money well, cut off all giving to them. There are many other true missionaries to support.