W. Austin Gardner
How to start an indigenous church 4
The hardest part is getting the first group of people together. Once some attend, training can begin. Teach them to win souls and do church visitation. They will bring their families. They will invite their friends once they decide to follow Christ.
Use the people from the first day. Let them help with the visitation. As soon as someone shows some promise, let him do something in the service that is not so important. He can welcome people or maybe later take up the offering. You need to do all you can to win them and then let them know that the church is theirs and for them.
It takes a miracle from God to get a church started, but He will do it. Be careful to go in His power and Spirit. The communists use young people to begin their movements. Don't be afraid to use the older teens. Let them visit and invite also. The more involved they are, the better. New believers will not be or do all expected on the first day of their new life, but if loved and taught, they will get to where they should be. Remember that it is all new to them.
The PROBLEM in starting a new church is that it will not be indigenous in the beginning. You must understand that no church is truly indigenous as long as a missionary is in the church. If a missionary is there, they depend on him to provide the message and direction, and they do not pay his salary. Do not wait until the new believers are fully mature Christians.
Think of them as babies that need help in the beginning. They can do nothing for themselves. The missionary opens the doors and closes the doors. The missionary sweep and cleans. The missionary visits, but as the new believers are nurtured, they will learn to do all the work.
At first, the missionary pays for everything, and then as they get saved and trained, they will take the responsibility. From the very first service, take an offering and teach them what they should do. If God the Holy Spirit gets involved, you will find that your people want to take responsibility. You will not build an indigenous church overnight and not without much sweat, blood, and tears. You will need to let them begin to do things as soon as possible even though they will not do it the way you would nor as well. It is their church, not yours.
Many folks think that indigenous means they do not get money from the states, but that is only one small part of the job. They must be self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating. For that reason, many want them to do all the giving while they make all the decisions. Again the plan is that I will treat them just like my child.
At first, I do nearly everything, but each day I will allow them more freedom and responsibility until they will one day be doing it all and will arrive at indigenous status. Be sure to start teaching immediately what you want even though you do all of the work. Then take the risk to let them do the work.