Christians overcome missions obstacles by relying on locals

International (MNN) — The coronavirus isn’t the only obstacle to North American missionaries, and Global Disciples believes it is time for a new approach.

Everyone is talking about the coronavirus (now named COVID-19), which continues to spread across China and the rest of the world with over 73,000 people infected. Millions of Chinese are still in lockdown, mostly in the area of Wuhan where COVID-19 first emerged.

Missionaries from North America also face trouble getting into certain countries because of totalitarian governments, wars, and language and cultural barriers. But Barbara* of Global Disciples says today’s world provides new opportunities as well.

“Fortunately, our world is a little more connected than maybe it was 50 years ago. I remember stories of missionaries I heard growing up. They packed everything in a crate that was actually a coffin because they didn’t intend to come home. They were going to be buried on the field. Now you can hop on a plane, you can be back home . . . for a couple months and then go back to your field.”

And Global Disciples finds the best way to spread the Gospel to any given culture is from the inside: partnering with someone who was born in that culture and who understands the language, economics, and customs.

Christians on the ground understand their cultures in a way that outsiders never will. (Image courtesy of Global Disciples on Facebook)

Barbara says, “They also have an understanding of the historic context that we coming in from the outside wouldn’t have, because they’ve been there. They’ve lived through the crisis. They’ve been the refugee. They’ve been through the economic ups and downs, they understand how things work in their country because they’ve lived it their entire life.”

Westerners coming into different countries don’t have this perspective and so often don’t understand what it will take to share the Gospel with different cultures.

And that is what the Global Disciples model is all about: training people in other cultures so that they can train others. Barbara says, “we’re immediately looking at the national leader, the Christian on the ground . . . In fact, right now . . . we do very few trainings anymore that are dependent completely on a North American trainer being there. If they are there, it’s more as a consultant.”

The Great Commission is for the whole world, not just North Americans.

Barbara says, “When it comes to the Great Commission, sometimes we as North Americans get a little short-sighted and we kind of forget that God didn’t just give it to us, that he gave it to every person who calls on the name of Jesus.”

Give to support Global Disciples so that they can equip people from all different countries to go and fulfill the Great Commission. Funding goes towards new programs which then become self-sustaining.

Pray also that God would empower Global Disciples to spread the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

And be the Christian on the ground in your culture and context, proclaiming the Gospel and training others to do the same.

*name changed for security purposes.

Be a Christian on the ground in you culture. (Image courtesy of Global Disciples on Facebook)

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