That is certainly not the mindset of many people these days but as missionaries that is what we are called to do. The Lord has given us the privilege to train and equip national pastors and their churches. Through Leadership Development Conferences (LDC) we, by God’s grace, train them in prayer, evangelism, making disciples, developing leaders and multiplying new churches. Shortly after an LDC our short-term teams arrive to provide on the job training and walk alongside our national brothers and sisters as these activities are MODELED. As the week moves along we slowly begin to turn it over to them by ASSISTING them as they do the work of disciple making. Then we step a little further back and WATCH providing praise and suggestions afterwards. As they embrace the Great Commission and begin to personally get involved in reaching the lost in the community we then LEAVE them to continue the work while we move on to start the process all over again in a different location.
When we are in Lima, Peru our home church is Eterna Roca. We have been in relationship with this church for the past 4 years. We worked in their local area, they’ve come with us when our North American teams have come, we’ve prayed with them as they moved to a cell group model and we’ve helped train them in evangelism and making disciples. We love this body of believers. As we were returning home this past August, the pastor said he appreciated the heart we’ve shown to reach the lost and they were going to begin praying about going on mission to reach their country….on their own. Not without Christ of course, but without the assistance of North Americans. They began praying. A couple months later I got an email and the pastor mentioned that they had been praying and the Lord had led them to a location in the jungle that would take a 30 hour bus ride each way. So they began raising funds for the project as they continued to pray. Then the day came to ask who will go? Of this small church of 100 people 30 members raised their hands and committed to going. 30! Almost a third of the church! They continued to pray as they prepared, made plans and trained. Last week Eterna Roca took that mission trip to the jungle where they did evangelism, made disciples, encouraged the local believers and made a difference for the Kingdom in that area by helping to start 6 new cell groups! You see that’s the goal, train and equip then let them go. Following Paul's model we do stay in touch, provide additional training when needed, encourage them, but we’ve removed the mindset that it takes North American involvement to do missions work. We love Peru, we hope the Lord allows us to continue to work in other areas, but He has also allowed doors to open where we can begin working among unreached people groups in Asia. Once we, the Church, reach all nations then Christ will call us home and we’ll be out of a job. I’m good with that.