The Priority of Pioneer Missions

What God’s Word says about foreign missions

by Dr. Bob Finley

Founder of Christian Aid

February 29, 2012

The New Testament gives priority to pioneer missions. Other things, though still important, are secondary. Notice I said “pioneer missions.” It’s based on what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:20-21;

Paul told the Roman Christians that he had avoided going to visit them because they already had churches in Rome. His calling was to go where no churches existed.

For about 150 years (1800-1950) thousands of churches and hundreds of mission agencies in America were committed to pioneer missions. But everything changed after World War II.

China, the largest of all fields, was taken over by the Communists and all foreign missionaries were forced to leave. India, the second largest field, gained independence and the Hindu-controlled government said, “No more foreign missionaries.” Muslims, who controlled half of Asia and the northern half of Africa, also said, “No more Christian missionaries.” Mission boards in America found 90% of unreached people cut off from their missionaries.

But God had an alternative strategy ready to roll just at the time when traditional missions faced closed doors. The answer was: INDIGENOUS MISSIONS, at least 4000 of them, sending out over 300,000 native missionaries.

Their biggest problem was that financial support was not available within their anti-Christian countries. Indigenous churches were just barely self-supporting, but most had nothing left over for the support of missionaries.

But in 1953 God raised up Christian Aid as the first U.S. ministry to see what had happened and to begin sending financial support to indigenous missions. Today we support over 800 ministries.