Editorials

Indigenous Missionaries are Setting the Standard for Training

Knowledge combined with a love for the brethren is how native missionaries are making such a tremendous impact in missions today.

Yes, it´s true that native missionaries speak the language and understand the culture, but can this be the only reason they have been able to accomplish so much with so little? I believe the answer may also be in their methods of training, and particularly of discipleship.

In industrialized countries discipleship generally means to become a student of a learned leader or teacher who passes on knowledge to his pupils. In the Majority World discipleship also means that, but so much more. Leaders from native ministries must also pass along their Christian character to their disciples. They do this not only by teaching biblical principles, but also by getting involved in the lives of their students and co-workers. They help them with their needs, they walk together, talk together and eat together. And just as our Lord Jesus did, the leader will accompany his disciples as they go out to minister among the people.

Another significant difference between the western approach to discipleship and the Majority World approach is that in industrialized countries people grow up with a notion of Christianity. This is not the case in many regions of the world where people grow up in a Hindu, Muslim, communist, Buddhist or animist environment. It is a totally different context. Native missionaries understand this reality and understand how best to disciple believers in their new faith because many of them come from these very same backgrounds.

Most native ministry leaders also have a good understanding of biblical principles – but this knowledge is constantly being tested in their everyday lives. They have learned by experience to depend completely on the Lord when they have very little food to share or for any of their other needs. Many of them are being persecuted daily and even their children are discriminated against. But in the midst of these trials, they continue to care deeply for their co-workers, as well as serving the very people who persecute them.

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