Indigenous Missions As I See It
by Dr. Grant C. Richison
After God got Jonah’s attention, he became a fiery missionary. Here was an unknown, unsung, unheard of man that turned a pagan, brutal, savage, Gentile city to God single-handedly. Previously he would offer any excuse and expend any energy not to get involved in missions. A mind to share the gospel is at the heart of missions (2 Co 5:14-15).
If a person has a heart for world exposure to the gospel, what is the best strategy? There are many good strategies, but what is the most strategic? A missionary operating one-on-one to train nationals is a good method, but is there a greater way to reach the world?
In my mind, there are two important factors for the best strategy in reaching the world: 1) a movement, and 2) catalyzing indigenous leaders. A “movement” is initiative that goes without organization (but not exclusive of organization) or fixed leadership positions. Once a people catch unadulterated passion for sharing Christ, they will come up with their own strategies and methods for sharing the gospel. No organization can control, contain, or arrange it. It spills over borders, organizations, and even beyond leaders.
Secondly, a movement will not develop without instilling passion for spreading the gospel in indigenous leaders. They know their culture, their situation, their language, their people, and all the nuances for spreading the gospel in their country.
This year Advancing Indigenous Missions asked me to go to Bangladesh. What I saw was an outstanding example of the two principles above. It was the largest gathering of Christian leaders in the history of that country. They came up with ways to reach the nation. Many had never met or heard of other ministries going on in Bangladesh. This gathering made a movement possible. AIM under God made that happen; it could not have happened without their leadership and financial help.
“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything.” ~1 Th 1:8