Author page: Nate Francis

Reasons a Church Becomes to Dependent on a Missionary

Pastor Austin Gardner and VBM Director Jeff Bush discuss the indigenous principle of church planting. In light of the indigenous principle, they discuss ways that a church becomes too dependent on a missionary as well as how to avoid situations like that.

  • First, not teaching on giving
    • Missionaries don’t have to worry about their salary
      • They don’t teach the church to give and support the pastor
      • If you don’t you are setting the next guy up to fail or for success
    • The missionary makes a mistake when he constantly gives stuff to the people
      • Pastor Pastor knew a missionary who gave a kilo of rice one week and a kilo of beans the next. 
      • That creates a group of people who are only coming to get food 
      • The missionary should help the church in the beginning, but they need to be weaned off
    • First, you need to teach the church to be giving. 
    • Second, you need to have a men’s meeting where the people can know the finances of the church.
    • Third, you need to have a church budget.
    • You need to make the national pastor a burden. 
      • He needs to be in place as soon as possible 
      • He can be an assistant pastor
      • But the church needs to pay him a salary
      • They need to learn to carry the burden of paying their bills
    • The people need to know that you are leaving!
    • Missionaries give too much
      • A missionary should give only as much as the wealthiest national at the church can give
      • The people’s giving should not be awarded by your giving
    • Should a missionary tithe to the church he is planting?
      • No. Give according to the wealthiest national both tithe and faith promise
      • You would tithe back to your home church or put it into the building if your home church lets you
      • Don’t let someone talk you out of tithing! 
      • If you won’t to be an indigenous church-planter, you need to teach them to give! 
      • Have offering devotionals 
    • Constantly ask yourself, if I were gone, could the people continue without me?
      • You shouldn’t do things or pay for things that the nationals couldn’t pay for without you
      • You should try to get your national pastor to a school teacher’s wage
      • The point is, we don’t want to set the national pastor up to fail
      • If we don’t think it through, that is exactly what we are doing!
  • Second, not allowing others to do ministry
    • The missionary does all of the work 
      • If you’re doing all the work, it will do alright as long as you are there
      • If you want them to not be too dependent, then you need to teach someone else to handle responsibilities
      • Teach them how to be deacons 
      • Teach them to take care of the buildings
      • Teach them how to lead music
      • Teach them how to teach Sunday school
    • You need to start several churches so that you’re gone a lot
      • They need to be used to doing church without you!
      • It becomes their church, not your church 
    • Imagine teaching your kids to ride a back
      • If you never take the training wheels off the bike, they won’t learn to be independent
      • If you constantly say that the aren’t ready, they won’t be independent! 
      • Let them fall sometimes and help them learn
    • Don’t just give them the menial jobs.
      • You need to train them how to take care of adults by starting multiple adult Sunday school classes
    • You need a plan
      • You need a process where you can take a brand new believer all the way to an adult Sunday school class
      • Every ministry you have, you should be training someone to take the leadership of that ministry.
    • Delegating is so that you can do less work, but it’s so that you can focus and do more work! 
      • If they don’t know hw to do something, then you need to teach them how to do it! 
      • If you’ve delegated everything and don’t have anything to do, then start two churches!
    • Start multiple churches to keep you busy so that you need people to handle the extra ministries that you don’t have time to do
      • If you don’t want them to be dependent, then you need to help them know like it’s their church
    • If your wife can play the piano, that’s great, but she should be training others to play
      • If you buy instruments, you should buy instruments that they can keep and afford
      • If you treat the church like it’s only yours, then it won’t last 
  • Third, not buying their building.
    • Raise the funds and help them buy the building
      • In more first-world countries, maybe you can’t
      • The money from the tithes and offering should go to the pastor
      • The church that you are starting, will not be a huge church most likely
    • How do so many of the smaller churches survive in America?
      • They own the building! 
      • They also own buildings that they can afford to take care of
      • You need to do the same for the nationals
    • When you buy them all the nicest and greatest electronics, you’re making a church that the national can’t afford.
    • It shouldn’t be enormous
      • Quit trying to make it a church of 500 or a thousand
      • If the national can take it that high, you can help him later get more buildings
      • But when you start, start small so that they can afford and maintain it
    • Remember to consider whether they can afford it when you are gone
    • You might want a really nice building or really nice projector or something like that, but if the people couldn’t afford it, you should do it! 
  • Closing Remarks
    • World Evangelism conference first week of November 
    • More info on visionmissions.com 
    • Summit is at the end of the year at Lake Lanier
    • If you’re in the area, we would love to take you out to coffee and get to know you!