(by Austin Gardner)
No one argues the fact that we should build indigenous churches. Everyone uses the same definition for an indigenous church. The question is not should we plant indigenous churches but rather how do we arrive at an indigenous church. There are all sorts of opinions as to how to plant an indigenous church
Principle 1 for you to consider
Greenhouse principle. Many plants that we consider indigenous today must start out in a green house. They are nurtured and cared for until they are able to make it on their own.
Principle 2 for you to consider
Raising Children. Everyone agrees that giving birth does not constitute raising children. They must be cared for and provided for until they reach maturity. The parent each day expects more and provides less. Control curve.
- Start right. They must learn from day one to tithe, attend faithfully, clean the building, etc.
- Do not set their leader or leaders up to fail, by doing things that they will never be able to do. (Using materials that they can’t get, spending money that they can’t spend, etc.)
- Place Nationals in places of leadership from day one and let them fail — that is how they are going to learn. Do not expect to find leaders that are already ready. Do not expect perfection.
- Practice Church Discipline, do not throw them away when they fall, restore them and help them to get on with life and the ministry.
- Plan trips away and place more and more responsibility on their shoulders.
- Have business meetings, men’s meetings, etc to get them used to deciding what should be done.
- Preach mission’s messages and soul winning messages to get them excited and involved in reaching souls.
- Remind them that God can and will do through them what He has done in other places. Let them know about the heroes of the faith from the past and tell them you are looking for those people in Peru. A Peruvian Charles Spurgeon, etc.
- Allow them to think for themselves.
- Force them to take on more and more responsibility as the days and years go by.
- Hold them to a high standard.
- Let them see in your life, everything that you want them to practice and do.
- Accept things that are not American, but are from their country and are not necessarily wrong.
- Never do anything alone and when you are with them you must constantly be teaching them.
- Always have more to do than you can do without their help.
- Be a leader of leaders. Always be training leaders. Give the majority of your time and investment to leaders, so that the people can see that you believe in them and what they are doing.
- Respect the national leader as a real leader and not your peon, especially in public, because the people will catch your attitude.
- Remember that serving God and doing the work of God is more caught than taught.
- Teach them to do the work and have them produce and get more of the credit than you do.
- Practice good Church building and church work from the best churches in the states.
- Never quit studying and analyzing your work and that of others.
- Help them to get their lions and bears so that they can be prepared to kill Goliath.
- Abuses of the Indigenous Church Principle
- Leaving too soon
- Staying too long
- Giving too little
- Giving too much