Posts Tagged ‘Dependence’

The Flying Man Pt 9: Rice Missions and Rice Christians by Rick Johnson

January 7, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Johnson’s article hits on some of the same topics as the previous post did, just on an individualized area.  He tells stories of how a few the poor in Mexico find an easier life receiving handouts then actually finding a steady job and working.  In order to receive this “aid” these men and women must stay in the dump.  This is the problem with relief efforts.  They are only temporary and don’t help the people in the long run.  Also with sustained aid (as opposed to development) people can learn the system to more or less take advantage of it.  We need to learn to provide for the long-term needs of the individuals as well as the community as a whole.

Let me quote Dr. Winter’s comments on this article:

“This actual account illustrates very well the inherent flaw in what could be called ‘felt need’ or ‘symptomatic’ aid.  Not all homeless people are willing to ‘get a job’ when handouts supply their basic needs.  In this case, however, it is clear that the dump dwellers were already working for a living (isolating different metal or glass items, flexible items, ect.) and would have welcomed a more humane activity for making a living.  But instead of mission workers going to the trouble of helping them find that more humane role, they are meeting their immediate (‘felt’) need for handouts they can sell.  That can continue forever.  In order to qualify for handouts they are forced to stay ‘in the dump.’  In a case like this something more is needed than ‘discipling.’ “

The Flying Man Pt 8: Raising Local Resources by Glenn Schwarts

January 6, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This article concerns the issue of how do local congregations in poorer areas provide for the needs of the church.  A secondary issue I want to address is dependence these local congregations can have on outside (Western sources).

Schwartz uses mostly examples to express his main point: local congregations have the resources they need for themselves, if they are creative.  He backs up his argument with the Apostle Paul’s comments in 2 Corinthians 8.  In this case, Paul asks a planted church for funds for the mother church (Jerusalem).  He describes the Corinthian church as being in severe trial and poverty, but they begged for the privilege of giving.  Again, he gives great examples of how local believe can rally to provide for their own needs.

An issue behind local believers providing for themselves is the ability to detach themselves from foreign resources.  Missionaries must be careful with what they spend their money on, the habits they are building and training pastors to be bi-vocal.  It is so easy for this issue to be put on the back burner and then the church not be able to survive because they haven’t taught themselves to provide for their needs.

What do you think?  What are good solutions for local congregations to be self-sustaining?