Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Not To Do Missions

A particular Central Asian country with a religious population made up, primarily, of Eastern Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims, constitutionally allows Protestant and Evangelical Churches to register with the government and operate free of charge. No fees and no taxes are to be levied. Corrupt government officials, however, demand bribes from these Churches for registration, as well as other rights and privileges. With little money and high moral standards, the indigenous Evangelical Church refuses to pay the bribes, trying to influence the government to follow the constitution and allow the Church to do what they have every political right to do, i.e., to register and operate freely.

A particular missions-minded, non-Central-Asian Evangelical Church is doing Church planting in the aforementioned Central Asian country. These missionary Church planters are paying the unconstitutional bribes demanded by the corrupt government officials as they organize and operate new Churches. The corrupt government officials now believe that the Evangelical Church is able to pay a bribe and will, eventually, violate their moral standards and do so. The indigenous Church leaders are told that the missionary Church planters are paying the bribe and so they can/should/must, as well. The actions of the non-Central Asian missionaries are having a hugely negative political impact on the indigenous believers, resulting in even more hardships than those they already have to bear.