Why Focus On Training Nationals?
To answer the greater question, Why is it so important NOW to focus on training nationals?-- consider the following:
Very little nationalization has occurred in missions during the last 500 years. [Nationalization includes evangelism, discipleship, training and empowering Nationals, giving them ownership and leadership authority over their ministries.]
Current negative results are evident, including abject failure to evangelize the world; major shortfalls in discipleship numbers; absence of missions-minded churches among those started by foreign missionaries; and a critical shortage of trained foreign and National missionaries.
[The following list will answer the question, Why Does Titus Focus On Training Nationals? Just as national workers and non-native missionaries are equally important in God’s plan for missions and missionaries, even so these reasons are all important.]
#1. National partnership is Biblical missions strategy. Early church ministry focused on training and empowering Nationals for ministry, mentoring them into leadership, then leaving them in charge. Paul empowered and partnered with nationals. There’s the precedent.
#2. Nationals have the same, shared responsibility in the Great Commission. Uttermost depends on where you start. No single group can do the job alone. God’s plan is for the unified Body of Christ to be Training Nationals To Reach Their World. That’s Titus’ motto!
#3. Nationals speak the language. Multiplicity of world languages and dialects hinders the spread of the Gospel. Nationals’ advantage over non-native speakers is huge, since language bonds them to their people. Nationals speak the heart language of their neighbors.
#4. Nationals understand the culture. Culture is much more complex than language. It contains a million subtleties and nuances that are part of National life. Customs, greetings, traditions, and superstitions that non-natives eventually learn, Nationals already know.
#5. Nationals are usually more accepted by their countrymen. A kinship exists among Nationals that outsiders cannot have. This basic social dynamic can form a powerful relationship upon which to build a church. Jesus’ own disciples shared that bond. Nationals trust Nationals.
#6. Nationals can travel where foreign missionaries sometimes cannot go. Animosity for foreigners, racial differences, prejudices, nationalism, economic diversity, conflict between countries--all reasons that would keep us out. But, Nationality gets them in!
#7. Nationals are at home. Expatriates often struggle with numerous factors on a foreign field--medical problems, family, finances, loneliness and homesickness. All of these call non-native missionaries to Come home. Not so with Nationals. They’re already home.
#8. Nationals possess legal status in their countries. As citizens, nationals enjoy benefits that foreigners cannot. Some of these have a direct impact on their ability to minister. In general, they have protections and privileges that do not extend to visitors. It’s their country.
#9. Nationals have home court advantage in church-planting. Due to their innate understanding of language and culture, Nationals have an advantage in church planting and other ministries. Our place is alongside them, with them taking the lead. They can do it.
#10. Nationals generally have an existing pool of relationships. Relationships are the key to effective ministry in every country. National workers have a personal advantage on their home soil, due to their intrinsic cultural, social, and linguistic connections. It’s their homeland!
#11. Nationals need no furlough. Foreign missionaries spend 20% of their time on furlough, which is essential to physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. Accountability to prayer and donor partners is also vital. But, a National can keep his focus and energy on the field.
#12. Nationals can reach limited-access countries. The 10/40 Window--last frontiers of missions: North Africa, Middle East and Asia--3 million lost souls in 55 dark countries, 33 of them totally closed to missions. Nationals are the only ones who can reach them.
#13. Nationals are clearly in God’s future plan for missions. Phenomenal world population growth plus a critical shortage of Christian workers. But, God is currently raising up 1,000’s of His servants in other countries. His world-wide missions force includes multitudes of Nationals!
#14. National leadership is more easily maintained and sustained than foreign. Nationals focus on evangelism and discipleship, then build simple church structures. Their overall ministry contains less of our programs, trappings and entitlements. National leadership is just simpler.
#15. National methods of ministry are more suited to their country. Language, culture, geography, customs, traditions, even music genre differ worldwide. To nationalize means to establish an empowered native work, led their way, by them. Let the Nationals do it.
#16. Focusing on National Christian workers keeps our eyes on the goal. The ultimate goal of every missionary endeavor should be nationalization, which results in local ownership, blessing, affirmation, and empowerment. Begin with them, end with them. It’s all about them.
#17. Partnership between National Christian workers and Western churches is vital. Each partner in world evangelism is necessary. The West has trainers and resources.Nationals have native tools--language, culture, access and home court advantage. Let’s do this together.
#18. Many Nationals are serving and just need help. 1,000’s of dedicated Nationals now work their own fields.Our precious brothers and sisters, co-laborers in the Gospel, need our help, affirmation, training, tools and resources. Let’s help them by empowering, not enabling.
#19. Beginning with National partnership naturally transitions to National leadership. It is backwards to God’s plan to begin with foreign leadership, and transition to nationals. Colonial Missions puts foreign leadership at the top. But, God’s plan starts with Nationals.
#20. Focusing on Nationals safeguards against a colonial mentality. Church planters often transplant home ministry-models, music, worship, preaching styles, building designs. Colonialism brought entitlement and resentment. Working with Nationals empowers and nationalizes.
#21. Focusing on Nationals creates a partnership between them and non-natives. Paul’s command to esteem others better than ourselves is Christ’s heart. The result will be partnerships between Nationals and non-native missionaries who affirm Nationals as equal partners.
#22. God’s most effective missionaries focus on empowering Nationals. Godly missionaries produce Godly Nationals by empowering them. Hudson Taylor and William Carey did missions God’s Way, focusing on Nationals. Empowering Nationals is His plan.
#23. Investing in Nationals is the wise stewardship of God’s money. Ministry has intrinsic, eternal value and should never be just about finances. But, Nationals cost far less to support. Sending a few foreigners to train many Nationals helps the Lord’s money to go much farther.
#24. Nationals usually have less health issues than foreigners. Pain, injury, and disease are common to all.. But most Nationals have health advantages--natural resistance, tolerances, and immunities to local germs and diseases. Nationals’ health advantages are a good thing.
Closing commitment--Therefore, Titus International missionaries, staff, and Boards pledge to do everything within our power:
- To closely adhere to and model the Biblical concept of nationalization as our guiding principle on every field where Titus ministers.
- To implement all of the components of indigenous nationalization to their Completion on every field where Titus ministers.
- And thus to empower others to do the same, replicating the Biblical model to Train Nationals To Reach Their World, on every field where Titus ministers.