Way of Life Baptist Publication
Recently a Baptist publication printed the following after being swindled by many Asian converts who they have attempted to "buy": THE DANGER OF SUPPORTING NATIONAL PREACHERS. To channel a lot of funds to a national preacher in that part of the world is a serious mistake. Those people are incredibly poor, and an amount of money which to us is minuscule, to them can be a small fortune, and therefore a very great temptation. I have met dozens of Indian preachers who are channels for U.S. funds, and who have their hired "preacher boys" and evangelistic work. I have met very few who, in my estimation, were using the money properly for the spiritual health of the churches under their care. The tendency is for the following to happen: (1) The head preacher who is the funnel for the U.S. funds becomes wealthy in the eyes of his own people. He might seem poor to the preachers who visit from the States, but in the eyes of his own people, he has found a "gravy train." It has perpetuated the concept in those lands that the best way to make a good living for a preacher is to get hooked into U.S. church funds. (2) The national preachers who are on the head preacher’s payroll become his hirelings. It is like welfare. They never seem to get off the dole. Year after year passes, and these evangelists and pastors remain salaried by U.S. churches via the largess of the "head preacher" rather than through the tithes and offerings of their own people. The "churches" they start never become self-supporting. They don’t pay the salary of their own workers. They don’t build their own buildings. They don’t even buy their own bicycles. I have often asked these men why the national churches are not supporting their own men. The answer invariably is that "they are too poor." That tells me immediately that I am dealing with a man who desires to perpetuate the "welfare" system. Any church in any part of the world can support its own men at its own standard of living through the Lord’s program of tithes and offerings. Those who refuse to train the churches in this are creating welfare churches which will never be strong enough to stand on their own feet. This is NOT New Testament missions. THE DANGER OF BUILDING NATIONAL CHURCH BUILDINGS. It is a very serious mistake to fund church buildings for the nationals. On occasion, it might not be wrong to HELP another church to build its building, when it is plain that that congregation is doing all it can to build the building, and when it is plain that that congregation would eventually get its own building with or without outside help. But to channel U.S. church funds into church buildings in Asia (or elsewhere) is a very serious mistake. It will weaken those churches, at best. It is even possible that the churches which are so aided will never be true churches, being peopled only by "rice Christians."