Question about Guidance for missionaries:

"Doesn’t it make more sense to for me to raise funds for a national missionary, rather than raise funds for me to go? Wouldn’t funds go further for the gospel that way?"

"God’s plans aren’t always that pragmatic."

Answer from Ken in Spain, who has served with the Canadian National Baptist Convention and Fellowship International in Chile and Spain for 16 years.

I felt this way before I became a missionary. It seemed that language barriers, paying for language learning, moving expenses, and the like would make it much more cost-effective to pay a national than to send someone like me. But there are some interesting Kingdom principles at work:

1. Jesus told us to go. He commanded his followers to go throughout the world, not just to their own "Jerusalems or Judeas" but also crossing cultural barriers to the "Samarias" and uttermost parts of the earth.

2. Pragmatism is not always God's plan. In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

We are often programmed to think as pure pragmatists and overlook the faith aspects. By raising support, a missionary allows many people to cooperate with the Lord in the expansion of his Kingdom beyond the scope of the local area. And he does it in a way that is counter to what culture would say in order to prove to the world that it is his mission and not that of the missionary or of the nationals.

3. Sometimes a missionary has the ability to communicate to people in a way a local cannot. In Chile we were able to communicate the Gospel to upper-class people. There were very few believers in that group, and culturally, they were unwilling and thus unable to hear the Gospel when it was presented by people from a "lower class." We were given a hearing because, as foreigners, we were not from a set class.

4. Supporting nationals also has its problems. When nationals are selected and paid by a foreign group, the financial support can cause jealousy and forces the sending group to "play God" as they decide who gets and who does not get a subsidy. Often, the funded person can begin to feel like they are authorized to select all future leaders. It can lead to a rather authoritarian and "western" mentality because the funded person feels a great need to please the funding agency [even when that means not doing what is best] to reach his people. And the funding can build a greater dependence on outside help, more so than for sending a missionary who trains and facilitates a home-grown and home-funded ministry. Real Kingdom ministry must be reproducible.

So, what on the surface seems to be wise may not be the best method to reach the unreached.

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