September 14, 2011
by Dr. Bob Finley
Founder of Christian Aid Mission
The explosive growth of indigenous missionary ministries is beyond the comprehension of most church people in America. Content to follow traditional methods of sending our own members abroad, churches are generally unaware that our Lord has moved ahead in world evangelization and left us far behind.
Christian Aid has contact with more than 4000 indigenous missionary ministries that have a combined total of more than 200,000 missionaries on the field. In almost every country, even those that are tightly closed to missionaries from the outside, our Saviour has raised up workers who are winning souls and planting churches.
Countries like Burma (now called Myanmar), for instance, where socialist dictators haven’t allowed foreign missionaries for over 50 years. Christian Aid is sending financial help to more than a dozen different ministries there that altogether have about 1000 missionaries on the field. Many of them are planting churches among isolated mountain tribes where no Christian missionary has ever gone before.
Christian Aid is generally considered to have been the first missionary agency to see the potential of helping indigenous missions rather than the more costly method of sending Americans abroad.
Many traditional missions are spending $100,000 the first year just to send one American to language school overseas. That amount would provide full support for 50 local missionaries who already know their respective languages.
When colonial missionaries went out a hundred years ago, indigenous mission boards had not been formed. Today it’s a whole new ball game. Fully 90% of effective pioneer work among unreached peoples in the world today is being done by missionaries who are native to the land. Less than 10% is carried out by traditional missionaries from foreign countries. Yet those who do only 10% of the work consume 90% of the all the funds that are given for evangelical missionary work worldwide.
God has raised up Christian Aid to correct this imbalance. Why should those who do 90% of the work have only 10% of available resources to do it with?
It has been said that for every 100 missionaries sent out by the average American mission board, 100 cars are sent with them. Christian Aid has been helping hundreds of native mission boards that have only one car per 100 missionaries, and some don’t have even one.
Asian, African, and Latino native missionaries are not inferior to Americans. On the contrary, they are actually superior in the context of their own culture. So why should we not get behind them and help supply their needs?
For 59 years Christian Aid has been seeking out indigenous evangelistic groups in unevangelized countries. Examining their beliefs and teachings. Checking their finances. Evaluating their leadership. Observing the fruits of their ministry. That’s how we know 200,000 native missionaries are on the field, even though half of them have no regular support. Our goal is to find churches and individual Christians who will give to supply their needs.
Local financial support is not available among destitute people in poorer countries where up to 80% are unemployed--where multitudes are share croppers living by a barter system and don’t see $20 cash in a year. Their only hope for receiving regular support is for it to come from some source outside their area.
It doesn’t matter whether the support comes from within their country or from abroad. It’s all God’s money and should be used to help the missionaries whom God is using to plant churches among unreached people.
I discovered this fact while living in Asia more than 60 years ago. That’s why we started Christian Aid. And that’s why we invite you and your church to send $50 per month each to provide full support for native missionaries.
If God leads you or your church to support one or more missionaries, we can send you the name and photo of each one you support along with information about the indigenous ministries with which they are serving the Lord. As reports become available, we can also send you news of how your missionary is being used of the Lord to win souls and plant churches among unreached people.