W. Austin Gardner
How to plant an indigenous church 9
Without indigenous churches, we have no proper way to fulfill the great commission. The evangelist who goes to the foreign field and preaches campaigns is doing good work, but who can carry them to maturity when he leaves and goes home? His is a good work, but the best outcome is to win them and then train them. A local church is what it takes to fulfill the great commission. We also find in the New Testament that the ministry of the apostles was always to form local New Testament Churches. It is, therefore, also the pattern of the New Testament that we follow. A local church must be our priority also because it is the only way to have an ongoing ministry. When the evangelist leaves after having led many to Christ, what will happen to the new converts? If you go as a missionary and even start a church but never lead it to a place that it can carry on alone, what will happen the day you leave? We must form indigenous Baptist churches that need only to depend on the Lord to do the job God has called them to do. Of lesser but still great importance, we must recognize that one of the Baptist distinctives is a local autonomous church. We have no headquarters, no Vatican, not even the mission board or the missionary's house.
Our priority is to form local indigenous churches because that is the Principle laid down in scripture. Matthew 28:19-20
Without any doubt, He did send His people out to preach the gospel and win souls. However, that was only the first step. They are then to baptize them and to teach them. They need to have not only head knowledge but also practical faith. It doesn't take much time to preach a salvation message, but teaching people to observe the message calls for a lifetime. We find Paul affirming this truth in Ephesians 4:11-16
The work of the missionary is to perfect the saints. He are to carry them to the point of maturity that they will be able to do the work of a local church. That is God's plan. There is a need for evangelists and every gift that God has given to his church, but the result of your ministry ought to be a local, indigenous church that will carry on the work of winning souls and discipling them.
Therefore tract distribution, Sunday school, vacation bible school, street preaching, and every ministry we have should produce the result of indigenous, local churches. The missionary must win souls, he must train them, and he must do the work of a pastor at least for a time. Everything you do should have; as a result, the preparation of men and women to carry on the work of our God in a local church.