Thursday, April 28

Carefully pouring oil on the process

Wolfgang Simson states in "Houses That Change the World" ...

I believe we have moved from a colonial era of mission into what I call 'national mission', where each nation is called to develop its own models of church. Often enough this will have to happen through people in every nation praying for themselves, shedding their own tears, incarnating the living Christ afresh within their own time and culture. If the West could then come and, in the spirit of 'crucified colonialism'--the opposite of imperialism and denominationalism--carefully pour some oil on this process, it would be wonderful.
How, exactly, is one to "carefully pour some oil on this process?"

There is little doubt countries like the USA and other developed nations have indeed been blessed by God. If we are truly One Body in Christ, shouldn't those parts of the Body who have more be willing to share with those who have less?

How might the West carefully pour some oil on missions processes so it results in blessing and genuine Kingdom expansion?

1) Giving to the needs of the saints. In Acts and the Epistles we see this kind of sacrificial, liberal giving for fellow brethren going through hard times. The USA, and particularly the Church, has always been at the top of the list to help during a crisis both at home and around the world. At various times over the years, I have sent out prayer "SOS's" with the intent of illiciting prayer support for some of our fellow believers going through difficult trials. Occasionally we will receive love offerings to help these saints going through difficult moments. While this is not our intent in sharing these needs, the Lord has touched their heart to not only pray but give. We gladly help to channel these gifts for them. Being one-time gifts they do not create dependency; rather they have been the cause of much thanksgiving to the Father.

2) Matching what can be raised locally for various and sundry evangelistic and outreach projects. It is a terrible thing leading to dependency to simply provide the financial assistance to nationals and pay for everything. They will certainly let you do it, but it takes the blessing away from them of having to give from their own resources. An example of this is something we are currently dealing with. There is a particular discipleship course of study that we would like to use with the new believers. The price per book is $6. Few can afford this amount and if we charge $6/book very few will receive the benefit of this wonderful material. $3 is something that most could pay out over several weeks. They would cherish "their" book that they had bought. But someone has to pick up the remaining $3. This to me, is where a "bit of oil" from the outside might quietly be used to subsidize the cost of making disciples.

3) Independent, self-supporting ministries. Just as in the USA there are many charities and ministries that seek donors, overseas ministries likewise are in desperate need of financial support. I personally do not see the difference between a USA-based ministry asking for contributions and an international ministry doing so. Why is it OK to give to Focus on the Family (a great worthy ministry) but not Teleamigo or Camino de Salida, Dorcas, Clemencia, or any one of dozens of other struggling national Gospel ministries making a tremendous impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people and doing so on a shoe-string budget?

Any other ideas as to how oil might be poured upon international missions in such a way that it doesn't cause harm, but results in Kingdom growth and blessing to thousands?

6 comments:

Arthur Sido said...

The extravagance of Western church life contrasted with the poverty of our brothers and sisters around the world is shameful and frankly sinful.

GuyMuse said...

Arthur,

Yes, there is a huge difference, but how can we help without harming? One of the great tragedies of missions is the way money has ended up causing more harm than good.

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

I think we "missions experts" often miss out on participating in what God is doing through indigenous churches because it goes against our "missiological principles." Our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world have the same rights of apostleship as we do here in the U.S. If God leads them to raise funds from outside to spark and nurture a movement on the inside... more power to 'em.

We have one such partner in India. Many see what he is doing as missiologically unsound because of the outside resources he has mobilized to his field. Meanwhile he is leading indigenous leaders in a great harvest that is multiplying disciples, leaders, churches and seeing whole communities transformed. The human need is so dire there that I don't see how our withholding resources from them is going to damage the expansion of God's kingdom. I see quite the opposite. When we are unwilling to "pour oil on the process" we are being disobedient with the resources that God has blessed us with. There will always be a tension between help that hurts and help that heals. Let's not let that paralyze us into doing next to nothing.

See my latest blog post... Transformation India Movement Update

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

Excellent point illustrating the kind of dialog I think we need to be at least exploring. We talk about expansion, and finishing the task, yet while stepping on the accelerator to move forward, our other foot is pressing the brake of keeping the resources under our own control.

I tried clicking on to your link above, but it shows "page not found"--maybe it is just something on my end, or check to see if the link URL is correct. Thanks. I would really like to read what you have written.

Tim Patterson said...

Guy,

Sorry about the bad link... I don't know what I doing half the time but the post is here:

http://sendingchurch.blogspot.com/2011/04/transformation-india-movement-update.html

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

An amazing report. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully others can catch the vision and begin doing similar types of things.