The Best Strategy for Planting Churches Among Unreached Peoples

by Dr. Bob Finley
Founder of Christian Aid

Most Bible believing Christians agree that our Lord's supreme purpose for this age is to take out a people for His name from every tongue, tribe and nation. The traditional way to do this was developed during the heyday of European and American colonialism in the 19th century. Churches were urged to "send out missionaries." They would go and live in foreign cultures for three to five year terms, then return home on "furlough." Some were greatly used of God. Others did more harm than good.

I have frequently stated that 19th century missionary traditions have no Biblical precedent. That is, there is no record anywhere in the New Testament that God ever sent an apostle (missionary) to serve where he would be looked upon as a foreigner, or where he did not know the language.

The churches were never told to "send out your missionaries" to foreign countries. Peter, Andrew, James, John and the other apostles who received "the great commission" did all of their pioneer work in Jerusalem. Most if not all of their converts on the day of Pentecost were foreign visitors (see Acts 8:1 and 11:19-26). They, in turn, took the gospel back to their respective nations.

Our Lord has revealed a strategy in His Word for spreading His message. It´s by reaching people away from home and sending them back to plant churches among their own people.

Many "cross-cultural" missionaries have been used of the Lord, but they are exceptions rather than the rule. The primary way by which churches have been planted among unreached nations is through their own people who returned after having found the Lord while away from home.

In many cases those who returned have received some financial assistance from fellow believers where they met the Saviour. This support, though small, has often enabled them to accomplish far more for the cause of Christ among their people than a foreigner could with ten times as much financial backing. That´s why God raised up Christian Aid to help these pioneer apostles advance His kingdom where Christian witness has never gone before.