Mars Hill Realty takes a revolutionary approach to real estate by taking four core competencies and making these customer-centric skills the foundation for high performance in this industry. Every so often, I run across other revolutionary ideas and will be sharing them on this blog.
Revolution in World Missions
Over the past few months, God has really been impressing on my heart the idea of discipleship and during the course of my studies a book, Revolution in World Missions, was referenced. This book is an autobiography of a man named K.P. Yohannan (see picture on right), who started his life as a missionary in India at the ripe old age of 16. K.P. spent the next 7 years preaching from village to village, spending most nights in roadside ditches to avoid the stonings and beatings his team would face at many non-Christian villages. One of his most important lessons he learned was that the Gospel in the form of evangelistic crusades, the preaching and Christian literature would not take root in a person’s life without the “staying power” of discipleship. Somebody had to stay behind and nurture the new believers into maturity.
That “somebody” he argues, used to be the the Western Missionary, but the revolutionary idea is that the most effective way now to win the World for Christ is through prayer and financial support for the indigenous missionary force. These are individuals who are native to the area that you are trying to reach. Here are his five reasons:
1. Wise Stewardship – It costs in excess of $40,000/year to support a Western missionary in the mission field. In the 1990’s, it was estimated that 200,000 new missionaries would be needed by the year 2000 to keep pace with the population growth. This would cost $20 billion per year. In 2000, North American Christians contributed just $5.5 billion. So I guess we need to up our fundraising efforts? The alternative is supporting a national missionary for just $2500/year.
2. Christianity isn’t the religion of the West – A successful missionary must be able to identify with the people he plans to reach (1 Cor 9:22). It’s ineffective to maintain a western lifestyle or outlook and work among the poorest in the world without understanding their language and customs.
3. Western Missionaries can compromise the natural growth and independence of the national Church – When large western organizations use their money and technology to perpetuate their own ways and beliefs it quickly becomes old-fashioned imperialism. Rather then evangelize the country “American-style” and through our own denominations, we should recognize that Christ is building “His” Church
4. Western missionaries can’t reach the “hidden people” – Of the more than135,000 North American missionaries, fewer than 10,000 are working among totally unreached peoples. One-third of the countries in the world today forbid the Western missionary. National missionaries can go the the nearest hidden people group and have more freedom of movement.
5. More effective at church planting – The national missionary doesn’t need specialized, expensive training to learn the cultural taboos and language. He has already mastered the language or a related dialect, doesn’t have to spend thousands of dollars for travel expenses and can move around freely to preach, teach and evangelize. Many Western missionaries are not involved in the primary tasks of preaching the Gospel and planting churches.
K.P. leaves us with two application questions:
Why do you think God has allowed you to be born in North America rather then among the poor of Africa and Asia and to be blessed with such material and spiritual abundance?
In light of the superabundance you enjoy here, what do you think is your minimal responsibility to the untold millions of lost and suffering in the Two-Thirds World?
I think every Christian has a duty to obey the Great Commission and determine how they can use their time and talents to get involved in discipleship at the local level. One practical way to do this is to commit to one of your church’s small groups which could lead to discipleship relationships. I also believe that we have a responsibility to determine how we can use our finances to get involved with discipleship on a strategic, world-wide level that K.P. talks about. The question isn’t whether we focus on local missions or global missions. The question is, “How can we fulfill both?”
Jesus said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” and “So likewise,
whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Matthew 16:24; Luke 14:33).
K.P. asks if these verses were written only for the national missionaries who are on the front lines being stoned and beaten and going hungry for their faith? Or were they written only for North American believers comfortably going through the motions of church? These versus apply equally to Christians in Bangkok, Boston and Bombay….and Austin, Texas too!
For a free copy of this book and to check out all of the references I’ve made, go to the Gospel for Asia website. This is the organization that K.P. founded and 100% of your donation through this organization is sent to the mission field.
~ Your Favorite HOMEboy, Edward