Hello Pastor JackMy name ...

Fernando asked:

Hello Pastor Jack

My name is Fernando. I am 41, married and a father of three children. I am just finishing my theological course, here in Maputo, Mozambique.

On my research, I have found out that one of the things that we need so that the contact of the church may impact our society is to teach and train teachers, so that people may not only preach, but also teach their community God's Bible-based principles.

You know that Christianity in Africa is highly influenced by African traditions, where the worship of ancestors still takes place in the lives of some believers. I believe that a strong Bible teaching in the church can cause and bring profund changes.

I currently recognize that my mission place, at first, is here in Mozambique, where God wants me to serve. For that, I would need to travel and meet those pastors and their churches in the most distant and remote areas through the country, stay with them and minister seminars to train the leadership and lay, and the youth especially.

To carry this task, we meet challanges - lack of financial resources that can enable us to meet this target. Most of these people are poor, they have needs in almost everything basic. So whenever we travel, we have to carry not only the food that we may need for us as a team, but also to feed those who shall be attending our seminars.

There is lack of reading material, so we have to print lots of leaflets to help them learn what is being taught.

So, I would like to know, how can we get people, especially the mission agencies, to support us financially and with resources so that we, who know and understand the context can be able to fulfill the task of the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ?

I believe that we can be missionaries without living in our country, if we are being supported rightly.May God Bless you all

Jack Answered:

Dear Fernando:

Thank you for your heart felt concern for your country and your desire to personally get involved in meeting the needs you have discovered.

I have never been to Mozambique, unfortunately, and do not personally know your context. Nor do I know the mission societies who work there and their philosophy of mission.

However, the picture you paint is common in many developing countries, a reality I am familiar with.

You undoubtedly know that there are at least two missiological principles involved in your plea.

The first is that Christians in wealthier countries should help their brothers and sisters in Christ in countries such as yours to meet the kind of needs you mention – helping with itineration of teachers traveling to remote areas. In fact, there is at least one mission agency in the U.S. that operates on the principle that we should no longer send American missionaries to developing countries where for a fraction of the cost one can support national “missionaries.”

The second is that although we need to be sensitive to the needs of our Christian friends in underdeveloped countries, particularly in times of crisis, we need to be sensitive to the dangers of paternalism and the unwitting promotion of dependence that unwise aid can foster.

In the history of the development of the expansion of Christianity, it is instructive to see how visionary national leaders in contexts of poverty have developed creative ways to extend both the preaching of the Gospel and the development of training relying principally on national resources (often, I would add, involving great personal sacrifice).

The benefit of this approach has been to develop a strong sense of dependence on God and a positive attitude of self-reliance.

One illustration of this approach is the decision of the Presbyterian mission in Korea in a former generation that decided not to pay national workers, pastors, or missionaries nor to help with the construction of church buildings. Foreign funds were limited to the development of institutions such as seminaries and hospitals, and this with great care.

Strong arguments can be put forth for both approaches and much depends on the local situation, its place in time, and how the Lord leads both the national and foreign leaders.

I trust that you and your colleagues may find the resources most appropriate to your situation to carry out the vision the Lord has given you.



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