Why We Use National Pastors to Plant Churches and Make Disciples
Light of Life International uses national church planters for several reasons:
We operate in the Middle East, often, in areas where the community is hostile to the gospel, making it very difficult for an outsider to start a church.
National church planters do not have to face the barriers of language and customs. Language training can often take years and be very expensive. Often, even after several years, it is difficult for a traditional missionary to fully understand the customs of the country they are in.
National church planters are already in the areas we want to be. We use church planters who are reaching their own people.
It is cost effective. We are able to support a national church planter for a fraction of what it would cost to support a missionary in the traditional way.
It gets results! Almost every month we see people accept Christ and follow him in baptism.
Our Philosophy of Supporting National Pastors
For many years, supporting an indigenous church planter has meant that money is sent overseas to churches that have little or no relationship with those who support them. Often, the indigenous pastors become reliant on the churches in the USA. However, our philosophy is very different from this in a number of ways:
We believe in financially supporting national pastors at a level that is commensurate with the average local salary. This means that our pastors live at the same level as the people they minster among.
We believe that our support of national church planters should not be open ended. We financially support a church planter for a limited time. After this time, we expect two things from our church planters. First, we expect that they will have grown a self-sustaining church. Second, we expect that they will have trained up someone who is willing and qualified to start a new church. We seek to keep reproducing churches to meet the incredible need of the area.
We believe we need to be in the field with the pastors we support. At least twice a year, I visit the church planters to observe what is being accomplished and the fruit of the ministry. This time also gives me a platform for one-on-one mentoring with the pastors and the churches they are planting.
We believe in providing accountability to those who support our ministry. I speak in churches all over the United States—giving updates, sharing our vision, and providing details about the ministry that cannot be shared online or by a newsletter.