The following is a list of three critiques I have come across regarding church planting.
These have nothing to do with the men left in the field actually planting, but the men “sending them out” as they are often the ones who get credit for “planting” new churches.
My list is in no particular order …
1. You don’t visit me.
I know of a few missionaries that have never been visited by their sending/planting church beyond the initial planting trip. It’s funny to me that we often cite Paul as a church planter, but ignore his method of visiting the churches planted. Paul had much less resource, and traveling was much more difficult for him than it is today, and yet he never stopped visiting the churches he planted. Foreign missionaries value visits and encouragement from friends at home. Do you visit your foreign missionaries or simply send them money every month?
2. You don’t consider my income.
American pastors get raises, at least the ones that I know -and some way more than they need. The cost of living is usually considered in their annual income, and when a congregation can afford it, they keep up with at least a reasonable salary. But my experience is that foreign missionaries or pastors are often overlooked in the annual review of salaries. We buy ourselves iPhones, iPads, & new cars, etc. while our friends in the field are overlooked.
Have you considered your missionaries income, and do you increase it, when you increase your own?
3. You don’t read my letters.
I heard a conversation recently where a sending pastor was asked about a current event that one of his (supported) missionaries was going through. It was a situation that I was aware of as well, but this pastor was completely unaware, even though it was addressed in two previous support emails. It was pretty easy to conclude that he wasn’t reading the support letters.
I have one friend that has been in the field for many, many, years. He sends out a review of his finances every year. I always review it and try to send a note of encouragement. He tells me that I am the only one who has ever remarked on his annual financial statement. I wondered if any of the other recipients ever looked at it.
4. You don’t pray for me regularly.
I know I said I had three things … I lied.
All the other three lead me to the conclusion that we may not be praying for our brothers in the field.
Where true, it’s a shameful indictment against the church.
If you are a Pastor, who supports church planting, or other missionary endeavors, I would ask you to consider these things -prayerfully.