It is a rare and mostly an unpopular concept to plant churches that are not dependent on the church planter, the sending church, or the organization that sent the missionary. As we study carefully, areas of the world where the Church has been most successful in starting church planting movements, they are places where the gospel was preached, disciples made and strengthened to stand on their own. This naturally resulted in multiplication.
One of these places in the world where this happened is Korea. Early missionaries “insisted that Korean churches become “self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating” almost from birth. A baby, if proper care is taken, can afford to have its umbilical cord cut minutes after birth. A baby…if proper care is taken, can learn to swim in the first few weeks of its life! So also, an infant church, with adequate teaching and example, can stand on its own in a remarkably short period of time.” (1) This was the foundation that caused the Korean church to flourish and multiply!
Why then are we not doing the same today? Well, we are, but in far less places than we should. What we have discovered is that when we refuse to ‘bottle feed’ with financial aid, two things happen. First, those who think we must support them with money quickly lose interest in the Word of God and discontinue their studies. Second, God opens doors with persons who are truly hungry for Scripture and want to learn the principles that motivated the Early Church.
As we push across frontiers and encourage church planters with the simple principles of discipleship and establishing new and existing believers, money becomes a non-issue. Even where persecution has tightened our freedom, God opens other avenues to accomplish His purpose – “make disciples of all nations!” (Matthew 28:19).
(1) Eternity in Their Hearts, Don Richardson, Regal Books, 1984, page 70.
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