We live in a time when some believe that ministry done through nationals is the “silver bullet” of missions. Entire organizations exist to help the western church partner more effectively and more cheaply than sending western missionaries. And indeed nationals bring advantages to the table that western missionaries don’t. They already know the language and culture. And they are usually well-networked in relationship.

However, nationals are not immune from making the same missionary mistakes as western missionaries do. Furthermore, when national missionaries are a part of a minority persecuted by a majority (such as Christians in Egypt), nationals can bring resentment and anger to the table as missionaries.

The ultimate goal is to turn over the ministry to nationals as soon as is both wise and appropriate, while leveraging their strengths and not presuming that they have nothing to learn in order to be effective.