I am so thankful for the burden that so many of our churches have to share the gospel around the globe...literally reaching into the uttermost part of the world! However, our desire to send missionaries is often funneled into our ability to give toward missions. In other words, for us to support missionaries it is done with our finances.
This can present a problem. In many cultures, the presence of outside (specifically American) money immediately creates an atmosphere of dependence that can actually hinder the spread of the true gospel. By creating a church culture of that is sustained by outside resources (the missionary's support), we have actually built into that church an obstruction to true independence.
I seem to come back to this topic very often as a pastor. I am actually sitting in my hotel room in Manila (visiting a missionary in mid November 2019) thinking about how our support of missions can either be a blessing or a stumbling block. I recorded this episode in 2017 with a good friend Chris Seawright. Chris and his wife Heidi are veteran missionaries in Cambodia and Thailand and have seen firsthand the damage that careless use of financial resources can create a barrier to the gospel.
What is the Patron/Client relationship?
How Does money create cultural dominance?
What is an indigenous church?
Why should a missionary prepare for his own departure from day one?
All these are discussed from the perspective of a veteran missionary with years of experience on the field and in local church ministry. Chris references the book Pioneer Missions often as a guidebook for missionaries that are headed to the foreign field. Having read it twice in the past year, I can say that the insight within is helpful as well as challenging. This would be a great addition to your pastoral bookshelf!
I hope this conversation is an encouragement to you ....and a warning to use the resources that God has entrusted to your ministry wisely!
Pastor DJ Harry