The following quotes are By Melvin L. Hodges from his book The Indigenous Church, A Complete Handbook on How to Grow Young Churches pp. 15-21. I do not necessarily agree with everything that he has written but it is a must read for church planting missionaries. I would welcome your questions and comments.
In some places missionaries have labored for fifty years and still the local congregation is unable to carry on alone.
After studying this question for the past ten years, we have come to the conclusion that our problem lies in the failure to work for an indigenous church.
“What is the reason for this? Simply the plan he has followed. He has treated the people like irresponsible children. He has led them, thought for them, relieved them of all financial responsibility for years. He has unintentionally robbed them of those practical processes which develop strong characters in any walk of life, whether in Canada or China, whether white or yellow-skinned.
Only God can produce this sense of responsibility, but the way in which the missionary approaches his task will open or close the door of possibility to this vigorous aspect of Christian living.
It has been aptly compared to the scaffolding used in the erection of a building. What would one think of a carpenter if he had to leave the scaffolding up so that the building would not fall down!
The successful missionary is one who has done his work so well that he is no longer needed in that area.
The true measure of success is not that which the missionary accomplishes while on the field, but the work that still stands after be has gone.
In order to develop the ability and ministry of the nationals, a missionary should never hold a position which a national is able to fill.
Perhaps he does not teach them to tithe. Sometimes he fails to take advantage of the new convert’s enthusiasm to witness, or has been afraid to allow God-called men to launch out into the ministry, for fear that they would fall into sin.
Not only must the missionary have the right concept of his own ministry, but also he must have faith in the power of the gospel to do for others what it has done for us.
Or do we disbelieve in His power to work in this manner among other races and in other lands?