Note: Monday we posted an article by Craig Ott that noted his caution on
supporting national leaders and missionaries. Today's article continues
yesterday’s post from Vijay Meesala, who works in India for ministry that seeks
support for national Indian pastors and leaders.
I once received an email that read:
……..As for more churches and
organizations for support… I will think and pray and let you know if any come
to mind. However, I would also like to ask you if you have done your best to
invite local churches in your area to contribute to your ministry. Please don’t
be offended by this question…. But I want you and the churches of your area to
experience the blessing and testimony of 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.
Here is how I responded:
At the most fundamental level
there is little comparison between the typical Indian village church and a Western
church. Below are some areas of comparison. (The following is from a Westerner
who was involved in the mission work for more than 30 years and gained much wisdom
from the mission):
100% high school graduates
Care of Widows
society more than
fasts, active in evangelism
in starting new fellowships
I'm sure there are many other areas
I hope you understand my heart; I
am not saying these things to judge which churches are superior and
inferior. However, there is a general
misunderstanding from the churches in the west that we (Indian and Asian
Churches ) only and always seek help from the West. Yet this is not accurate for all the churches. Indeed, it is an exaggeration.
I am not denying the fact that
there are many who seek Western help, including our own mission work, and
receive enormous amounts of generous support from the West. Praise the Lord! I also want to acknowledge that there is
a danger of being dependent on the West.
But that the Church in India or elsewhere is existing only with the
support of the West and there is no local support is definitely not true.
In our context in Andhra Pradesh rural area, I estimate less than
25-30% of churches only receive help from outside India.
The support that we seek from the
West is to enhance and further the work of God more effectively and
faster. It is also because more than 75% of the wealth is in the hands of
Western Christians (according to some mission statistics). Someone has said that if the Church
in the West thinks that she is doing a favor to the churches in developing
countries by giving money and other things, then that is not a biblical
attitude but an attitude of worldly superiority. The Church belongs to God and God will build His Church. But by supporting each other I believe
we are doing our part in God’s family.
For these reasons I firmly believe
that the Church in India enjoys the joy of 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 much like other
Churches in similar contexts. Believers
in Indian villages give to the Lord out of their extreme poverty and they give
it willingly as said in the Scriptures.
I hope to continue dialoguing
about this, and I am willing to learn more as well. I just wrote what is on my heart with much prayer and
reflection. These are my general
feelings about the Church in the West but not against any particular individual
or church. Please let me know what
you think of this. I will be happy
to hear from you.
My request is this: Please does not generalize and make
hasty decisions based on some past experiences or because someone said it was
so. Moreover, let the Western
Church/Pastors/Mission leaders also examine themselves to see if they are too dependent and yet not
seeing it, while they point fingers at indigenous missionaries.
One last thing, I am saying this
with much caution and love: I am not sure if a Western Pastor/Mission
Executive/Leader/staff of a mission of organization would continue to serve and
minister in the same ministry/organization if/when he knows that the next
months check/money/support is not going to come. He would try to find another job placement because he has a
wife and children. (I am not
seeking to generalize; there may be exemptions)….But I am sure that almost all
the indigenous missionaries I personally know of in Asia or Africa would
continue to serve the Lord no matter what may come…may it be
not mistake me for being harsh…. I
would be happy to hear from you and learn as well.
Vijay Meesala born in to a family of Hindu converts.
He became a believer in 1997 and decided to study theology. He began his
seminary theological training when he was 17 years old. During his seminary
days he received his calling for ministry in the form of a vision. He says, “
In the vision I saw a hand come from above and quickly draw a world map in the
sky and a small box within the world map. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Jesus
is coming soon; be prepared and make many prepared’; then the vision ended. At
first I did not understand the meaning of the vision. But soon I realized that
it was the vision of 10/40 window.” This vision now serves as the direction for
He is also a co-founder of an organization in India called
Reach All Nations. RAN seeks to reach the unreached nations with the good news
of Jesus Christ through training, sending and supporting native missionaries,
and planting churches. Central to our mission is uplifting the poor through
educational and community development initiatives. Though still in its initial
stage, the organization has grown to train 83 native missionaries of which 28
of them are from the Church where his father is serving as Pastor and other are
from seven different districts of Andhra Pradesh, and has established an
Orphanage with 32 Children. Among several other evangelistic and philanthropic
activities RAN regularly conducts conferences and training programs for
Pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders. RAN also does community
development programs and Relief and Rehabilitation projects based on need.
His formal educational background comprises of 6 years of
Christian Theology and 3 years of Islamic Studies at various institutions in
India and abroad such as the Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary, India, the
Andhra Christian Theological College, the Henry Martyn Institute, and Luther
Seminary, USA. As a faculty member at HMI, he taught Major religions in India,
Religion and Conflict, Academic Study of Religion, Islam: History, Faith and
Feelings, Theology, and Islam in India. His favorite speaking subjects also
include: Role of the Indian Church in Global Missions, Native Missionaries: A
New Strategy for World Missions, Evangelism Among the Neighbors of Asia,
Religious Fundamentalism and the Persecuted Church in Asia, Christianity in
India, and Asian Church in a Pluralistic Context.
Vijay’s father serves as a pastor in a church in Andhra
Pradesh. His mother, two younger brothers and sister help serve in the
ministry. He considers it as a great joy and Lord’s blessing to serve the lord
as an entire family. The family for the last 30 years has served the church
with deep commitment to the Lord and His kingdom.
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