This is an article from the March-April 2012 issue: Is The Family God’s Prime Mission Strategy For World Evangelization?

Planting Indigenous Churches

Missionary Money Muzzles Movement

Planting Indigenous Churches

Imagine the following recruiting bulletin for a new mission field:

Today we are seeing a rapidly growing number of new believers among certain unreached people groups. More and more Muslims are coming to Christ, and churches are springing up almost on their own. We are even seeing miracles, signs, and wonders. Come join the fun!

For most of us our first response would be, “Sign me up!”

And that is how the situation was, in formerly-Soviet Central Asia during the 1990s. By the middle of the decade there were movements to Christ among several Muslim unreached people groups. Notice that I used the word “was.”  Today there are still Muslim-background believers, and a few churches are still growing, but for the most part the promising movements across the region have ground to a standstill. Why?

Some might point to more the new government restrictions which have hit the church in the past ten years. Others would remind us that there is often a low retention rate among Muslim converts to Christ. But since all the young churches in that region have faced the same government pressures and problems, why is it that a handful continue to grow while the majority have plateaued and many even declined?

I’m sure there are many reasons, but the simplest one might be something we don’t want to hear. But hear it we should, and perhaps the best way to do that is through the words of a local MBB evangelist who lived through those heady days.

“In 1992, 1993, and even into 1995, there was so much happening here. Everyone was so on fire for Jesus. We would sometimes just get on a bus and ride to whatever village it stopped in. Then we would go to the mosque and start preaching. No one was ever afraid. People were getting saved every week.

But then lots of foreign missionaries started coming and soon they started paying people to do evangelism. Now the people in our churches say, ‘Oh I would go and preach at my uncle’s village, but I need a sponsor....’ Today, no one wants to do anything without a sponsor.”

As one who was there, I can say these words ring sadly true. My family and I were some of those who came in response to a revival that was happening among a Muslim unreached people group in the region. I would even go so far as to say that the only reason we did not make the same mistake and start spreading cash around is that we were too poor to do so!

Maybe a lack of money is sometimes a good thing, and there are more important things for missionaries to do than raise money. Perhaps another Central Asian story is in order.

A local MBB pastor went to the appropriate government office to try to register his little house church. To his surprise the woman at the desk was an old friend from back in the Soviet days. After a short catching-up, they started on the paperwork for church registration. Their conversation went something like this:

Officer: So Hakim, what is the address of your church building?

Hakim: It meets in my house.

Officer: OK, but since you are the pastor, where is your office?

Hakim: I don’t have one.

Officer: OK… But how much is your salary and who pays it?

Hakim: I don’t have a salary.

Officer: What?! No salary? How do you live?

Hakim: You know my wife and I are school teachers. That is enough for us.

Officer: OK. But what about a car, or a travel account, or something that you get for being the pastor of this group?

Hakim: I don’t get any of those things.

Officer: You mean to tell me that you lead this church without any kind of pay? Without any material benefits? That doesn’t make sense. Why would you waste your time being the pastor?

Hakim: I do it because I believe in Jesus.

Officer: You must, because there doesn’t seem to be any other reason.

Now that is a powerful witness. We should think long and hard before we rush in and sweep away something like that away with our foreign money.


Not only does hired ministry muzzle ministry there, it muzzles it in the U.S. Everyone knows how Paul taught to not “muzzle the ox”, meaning you have to pay the preacher so he doesn’t need to work and devote all his time to developing deep Bible lectures to feed the flock. Of course, we don’t know that Paul passionately refused the right to be paid, and taught the Ephesian elders to do the same Acts 20 and taught the Thessalonians to do the same 2 Thes. 3 and the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 9. Why? the hired man won’t teach that except to give an excuse to throw it under the bus. Teaching is far richer when it is shared by many, rather than focused on one expert. Col. 3:16. American style church MUST consume 75 - 85% of it’s giving just to get a hired weekly Bible lecture and only 15 - 25% is left to fund reaching all nations. It is now more important for Americans to hear 500 - 1000 Bible lectures than for the unreached to hear the good news even once. That is quite a muzzle on reaching all nations, and equipping American believers to participate mutually when they gather. Heb. 10:24,25

Some religions eidsoncr conversion of others a duty.  The churches ask their members to do missionary work, which includes knocking on your door.  In the Bible, there is a scriptural basis for that practice, at the beginning of Luke 9.  I often don’t answer the door when I’m not expecting anybody.  The last time I did, it was someone trying to sell me something and the baby woke up, I really regretted it. So yeah I agree with you about the inconvenience of solicitors.

It is not wrong to get financial support for evangelism works, but the question is why and how he gets it.
You cannot give a final comment on this matter. There is no doubt that many rich people raise support for their works, but you also can think of people who have no job and home, but want to be in full time ministry. You can think about people who works whole day for survival, but still have no financial freedom for his/her dream of coming to full time ministry. I have found many so called Christian leaders who profess about the tent-making ministry or planting indigenous churches get lot of financial support from churches, missions and other mission agencies. If you have concern in issues, you can think or talk about people who build their financial empire in the name of Gospel ministry. Such people loot and robed churches , missions and mission agencies, but nobody dare to correct such people. Such people loot the integrity of simple innocent Christians and they put many many local evangelists into trouble.

“It is not wrong to get financial support for evangelism works, but the question is why and how he gets it.”
I agree with this. Everything I challenged above is not evangelism or reaching all nations. It is providing a weekly professional Bible lecture every week of your life, or a hired expert song leader, or an expert youth pastor, or an expert administrator for managing come-and-get-it church life, rather than come-and-give-it participation.

“You cannot give a final comment on this matter.”
Yes I can. God’s Word is final on this matter. Paul is very clear with his apostolic instruction and reversal of the past, tradition, and even “the Lord’s command”. The only confusion is tradition driven habits of men who claim a pedestalized super-holy status otherwise known as clergy.

“You can think about people who works whole day for survival, but still have no financial freedom for his/her dream of coming to full time ministry.”
The tradition of “full time ministry” is a bogus tradition of men - never work a job and get all your needs out of an offering plate. Market place work is all part of full time ministry. 1 Cor. 15 says “always give your self fully to the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Always plus fully equals full time ministry. Paul did not write this to the Corinthian clergy because they had none. He wrote this to every believer to be in full time ministry. Col. 3:16 tells us EVERYTHING we do is unto the Lord, not serving men. You cannot see this reality unless you walk by faith. If you walk by sight, you will not see how marketplace work is ministry. The marketplace is the most important place of ministry.

I am trying to help you look beyond the bad traditions of western forms of Christianity passed on to other countries as “God’s will”. You must examine what you have been told and compare it with the scriptures to see if it is true. This is a more noble faith. Acts 17:11. Western forms are full of faith corruption - pride and selfishness all systematized and said to be “God’s will”.

its my first to open this web.its interest and helpful,especially the mission and evangelism news too in the frontline among the Buddhist

Hi Tim,

I am sorry for my comment that has been unfortunately addressed to your comment. My comment was expected to be addressed to the writer of this article “Planting Indigenous Churches
Missionary Money Muzzles Movement.”

Well, it is good to see your reply towards my comment. I understand your concern for the issue of western Christianity and its systems. But still I tell you that you can’t give any final comment on this matter by generalizing all the western Christianity and its systems regardless their differences. You know well that the system you consider to be corrupted become blessings to millions of people in the world and perhaps you and I may be one of those fruits. You might have seen the negative impacts of their system, but you also can think and study of their good impacts.

Friend, I will tell you the truth that I am also reaching Christ among the Muslims in North East India and I do have the same concern as you do as some of their ministry forms brought bad impacts towards our soul-winning ministry in my region. However, I do not blame them, because I believe that no true believer can be hired or purchased with their money. A true believer has his/her own mission/special calling and no power of dollars or euro can attract or confuse them. A true believer cannot be enslaved under the power of so called western Christianity or Christian traditions.

Wish you His reches blessings and guidance.



Hello everyone,

I am a local believer from Croatia. I will try to be short. When foreign missionaries come anywhere to serve and plant churches they set an example how to do it. They need money to live in a foreign country and therefore raise financial support. When foreign missionaries ask locals to do what they have been doing (investing time in ministry) locals need their basic needs covered. They also need money. Had foreign missionaries come and worked in a country of their serving to have a regular job in a foreign country without raising support then that would set another example for locals. Situation might be different. Foreign missionaries would be laypersons, not professionals and same thing with locals. What is a good example of foreign missionaries serving in a foreign country?



Life in Jesus is wonderful and marvelous. Unlike the secular life, living in Christ is very secure. Before I received Jesus, I had many friends who misled me and directed me against the will of God. But when I received Jesus, I have experienced many changes both spiritually and physically. However, am now serving God and expecting the return of Jesus—when He will come to take his elects. Having faith in Him, am determined in living with Him in the heavenly realm.

    Initially,when I was still a sinner, I did many things contrary to the will of God.Although I was a teenager, I joined myself to an immoral peer group; thus we sinned against God. Because of destitute, theft was one of our evil sources of earning a living. As a recruited thief, I was taught how to spy homes for preparation of theft. After spying a home in return the robbery would be an extension core. Even if theft was the most way of bread-winning, my life was endangered. Some of my friends were caught stealing and were sentenced for as criminals. This caused me to switch to other ways of earning a living—these were alcohol selling and opium smoking. Alcoholism caused a divorce between my parents; I also hate my biological father.  While I was five years old, we were forced to live with a single parent; this formed a grudge in my heart towards my father. Although my mother was a Catholic, the religion did not save her life from immorality; neither did it brought about new life thereof. This was until 1st of January1995, the time I received Jesus.

      When I received Jesus, my life changed greatly. Formerly, I did not know to pray appropriately. While I was a Catholic, prayer was made from booklets. I experienced changes when my pastor taught me the new dimension of prayer; I was used to direct my prayer through a guru rather than God Himself. However, through the real prayer, I received many miracles including the healing of the nose bleeding; this had troubled me for a long time. Moreover, God opened a way for our daily bread; mark you, my salvation affected the whole family- my mother ceased from making alcohol. Small scale farming was a substitute to the immoral means of profit. I experienced blessings; because God blessed the work of my hands. Then I was not enslaved with poverty. Reconciliation between my father and I, was the astonishing one; it was as if we had started a new life on earth. He forgave me and prayed for me as well.

          Six months after receiving Jesus, my pastor told me if I can stand in the gap as a Sunday school teacher. I did not hesitate; it took me a two years time as a Sunday school teacher. Then he appointed me to be a youth leader. After being a youth leader, I switched to bean evangelist, from the year 1998 to the2005; I enjoyed the ministry of evangelism. In this village I was brought up, many people were amazed of the deeds God had done in life. By my testimonies many people received Jesus and flocked in the Church I attended; until to date am a spiritual parent to some of my villagers. Surely, I was delighted in the field of evangelism; I never admired to become a pastor. But when the Spirit of God insisted through many back up revelations, in conjunction with other servants of God, I accepted to be. As a pastor, I trusted God for the provision of the entire of my needs. My wife and I were the first members to commence the church. Under a tree, it was not a mere subject of victory; but God empowered me with His anointing to prevail in the core. To day, am pasturing two churches. Since then many people have received Jesus and were baptized in water (Immersed in water).                                                                                                              Ultimately, the Lord Jesus is the greatest king. Hardly had we saved from sins than Jesus died for us on the cross. The wonderful deeds Jesus did for me; I glorify His name for ever. As a witness of the heavenly kingdom, I have seen God working in my life. Even lunatics and the sick people do receive their miracles. By laying hands on the converts, they receive Spirits of the Holy Ghost; this is the customary event in the church. In all, I do testify the really of God through Jesus Christ.Amen.

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