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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

How to plant an indigenous church 5

By what authority do we start churches on the field? In other words, what principles do we follow? What is the pattern of a New Testament church? As we start our church, what will be our priority? How will we spend the majority of the time? What is our plan to bring them from babes in Christ to maturity? On the mission field all the theory goes out the window. Many discuss the work but you will be faced with the actual problem of doing the work. Where do you begin?

The PRINCIPLE we follow is that of the local church fulfilling the Great Commission. One local church plants another local church through the life of its members. Therefore, the authority behind what we do and are doing is the local church, not the mission agency.

In Acts 13:1-4 we see that it was the church that sent out the missionaries. The local church sent them out under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Upon their return after their first journey, they report to their churches. Acts 14:26-27

Whenever you can you will need to organize the church with a charter and bylaws etc.

What is exactly the work of a missionary on the foreign field? Do we go to win folks to the Lord? Are we an evangelist? Many have heard the stories of literally thousands saved in only one week of evangelistic campaigns. Someone goes to a foreign country and shows a film and preaches through an interpreter, and upon his return, we hear of all that God has done and how the folks are begging for tracts and Bibles. Not to belittle this effort but realize that it may be very difficult even to find all the "converts" after the campaign.

It is hard for an average person to understand missionary work. We go, and we win a few here and there and baptize them and have trouble getting them to live right, but the evangelist has so much success in such a short time. As missionaries, we must learn that our job is to start local, indigenous New Testament Baptist Churches. The missionary does not go to the field to win souls, although he will have to do so to do his job. We go to start churches.

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