International (MNN) – Missions work has long been looked at as a sending operation, but now there’s a new trend that seems to be taking root.
A New Trend
Bruce Allen of FMI, formerly Forgotten Missionaries International, explains that since the ministry’s start, it has been a partnering ministry. FMI currently works in the three most Muslim-dominated countries; Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
In these countries, FMI comes alongside national pastors to help support them in planting churches and more. After all, these three countries are all on the Open Doors USA’s World Watch List (WWL). The WWL is a ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith.
So when it comes to entering said countries, it can be a bit difficult. As the world rages with war and political tensions, it’s important the Gospel’s spread doesn’t mainly depend on overseas missionaries.
“FMI has been ahead of the curve in what’s a now growing trend in global Christian missions and that is to develop partnerships with the national believers inside restrictive, creative access countries,” Allen shares. “Other organizations that are more focused on sending missionaries from here to go there, wherever there may be, this is a new paradigm that they are beginning to embrace.”
Not to mention, partnering with national Christians and missionaries carries a lot of benefits versus sending Western missionaries overseas.
Pros of Partnering
“We’re [FMI] already fortifying people, believers who have been trained, who have theological education and coming alongside them because they already know the language,” Allen explains.
“They already understand the culture, they already eat the food and so it’s a real cost effective and time effective strategy because these people are ready to hit the ground running. [Now] they just need partnership and support to do that.”
Allen also shares how missionaries who go overseas for two-year commitments, after spending the time and resources to learn a language and culture, don’t always return to their mission ground. Rather, some choose to come back and stay in their homeland.
Furthermore, missionaries can lose their visas and even be barred from areas of ministry based on the nation’s laws.
“In these countries where FMI serves…the Christian population is such a small slice of the population. In some places, it’s less than about half a percent of the population. So the congregations may not be large or because of the discrimination against Christians, because of the persecution of Christians, they may not have the income to support a pastor and great corporate ministry,” Allen shares.
“But when their brothers and sisters from around the world stand alongside them, these church planters say, ‘I can work in my primary congregation and I can also reach other communities where there is no church.’”
Coming Alongside Nationals
So rather than spending the time and resources to send individuals overseas, many ministries are beginning to help support national Christians. In doing so, they’re also helping fulfill the Great Commission and sharing the Gospel in some hard to reach places.
However, a big part of this trend begins with you through prayer and if it’s on your heart, financial support. So if you would, will you pray?
Pray for FMI’s ministry, along with so many others, to be able to come alongside nation pastors and church planters. Also, pray for encouragement, people to walk alongside them, and help in sharing the Gospel with their people group. Finally, pray for their safety and protection, too.
Also, if you’d like to help support national missionaries through FMI, click here!
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