Key to involving nationals into planning and implementation is involving them in basic ministry as early as possible. As nationals come to know Christ, their discipleship should include elements of reproducing themselves and serving other believers. As some mature and emerge as qualified leaders, they should be included in the planning process. The vision and passion of nationals should drive the emerging ministry or church, and should reflect the culture of those who know it far better than the missionaries.

In fact, missionaries should avoid assuming up-front leadership roles as much as possible. They should view themselves as mentors and coaches. The ministry or church that will remain after they depart is not ready to begin until qualified national leaders are in place.

Many of the issues in this section of the “Missionary” book reflect practical implementation of four principles of missiology which Propempo teaches as essential training for missionaries. They are:

  • Learn the language and culture of the recipients or target group as the first priority.
  • Model the development of a plurality of local leaders from the earliest stages of spiritual growth.
  • Focus on the Bible as the source of authoritative guidance for the new believers and the newly forming church.
  • Use only locally acceptable and reproducible methods and means of ministry.