We need to take a hard look at what we do in church and missions so that we are working biblically in cooperation with the Holy Spirit to foster as many of these movements as possible rather than stifling them through practices that keep people immature and helpless.
Slaying the Dependency Dragon
This Month's Articles
By the time the cross-cultural Christian worker wants to wean away subsidies, a dependency mindset has already taken root, affecting the church and their influence on communities around them.
I felt it was only appropriate to offer to purchase bicycles for the other two professors in the school. After mentioning it to them, they were thrilled with the thought! Without delay, I managed to get the bicycles. I felt very pleased when they showed up to class riding their bikes. But I had no idea what was to transpire thereafter.
Tags: local resources
What are the implications of following the self-supporting rule? Think of what happened to the Christian movement in China when the bamboo curtain fell into place. Because the missionaries promoted the principles of self-support, the church in China did not stop growing when outside support was cut off. A church of about a million adherents in 1951 grew to fifty million in about thirty years, and much more since then.
An evangelist from India arrived at a Christian college in North Carolina to raise funds to support some 60 fellow evangelists and preachers in Chennai. I had several conversations with him and asked him whether bi-vocational ministry might not be a viable option for his work.
Many who have written about dependency issues have focused outside North America. However, Dr. Robert Lupton, author of Toxic Charity1 and Charity Detox2 (as well as numerous other books on unhealthy dependency), is an exception. He has picked up three words from the Hippocratic Oath and applied them to effective work among the poor: Do No Harm!
Early in my missionary life as a physician I was sent to help develop a hospital and medical ministry in Ghana, West Africa. Our goal was to develop what has become an ever growing, 80-plus bed district hospital which is fully owned, funded and managed by Ghanaians providing quality physical and spiritual care to residents of their communities.
As I began to learn about places in the world where missionaries did not introduce outside funds for church buildings and pastors’ salaries. I also began to discover that even in places where people had been bogged down in unhealthy dependency, churches were able to break the syndrome and be delivered from their dependence on outsiders.
Christianity came to Kenya through the United Kingdom missionaries who accompanied their brothers, the colonists, in the second half of the 1800s (Baur, 2009). In fact, the missionaries were trying to “modernize” the African people by literally having them drop their culture and replace it with a more “advanced” European culture. This resulted in the missionaries demonizing many African concepts.
During and after the Korean war American agencies raised money for Korean “orphans.” This was a major opportunity for Americans to support cute-looking orphans for $20 a month. Genuine concern in the form of powerful maternal and paternal instincts also supported this kind of a cause. Those orphans were so well treated that many Korean families decided to “orphan” one or more of their own children in order to assure them of enough food and clothing and relieve the financial burden of another hungry mouth.
The Perspectives course is a ministry of Frontier Ventures that continues to go from strength to strength. During spring 2016, in the USA alone, about 6,500 students took Perspectives in 184 classes, and during July 2016 Perspectives leaders gathered in Baltimore for the Perspectives National Conference.
Practically how can our generation implement a comprehensive plan to catalyze God-movements that will get to No Place Left among the ethne of the world? With the majority of us lacking personal experience in kingdom movements, how can we move toward this vision?
Tags: no place left