One of the greatest temptations westerners face is pouring millions of dollars into overseas ministries with little or no follow up or accountability. Some interesting, and even heated, discussions have been had about how much subsidization western churches should send into foreign countries.
Some people hold to the position that the missionary should give little or nothing to pastors, churches, and ministries in their host countries. They believe the national church should be totally responsible for itself and that no outside help is ever needed. On the other end of the continuum are people who contend, “In that we are rich and they are poor, we should give them as much as we can.” Many people fear such actions create dependency. Obviously, each of these extremes should be avoided.
I do believe we should strive to achieve a level of interdependence. This concept implies that all involved are contributing something to the cause. This includes many aspects of the relationship that missionaries have with the national churches and believers. It certainly engulfs the area of financial contributions to national ministries. How, how much, when, and to what (or to whom) we give will always be a part of this discussion.
One is thing for sure: the national ministries in the countries where we work do have needs. Those needs demand a certain response from all those attached to that work or individual. There is no set answer to this dilemma. However, I do believe that there has to be a way that will safeguard the principle of interdependence, the well being of the national churches, and the pastors and evangelists.
We must pray, consistently and diligently, for great wisdom and discernment as we deal with such questions! Let’s pray that God will supply resources for national ministries.