One of the most important principles that has driven the direction of our ministry in 'Asia Pacific' over the last ten and half years, has been the idea that we always need to be thinking about the long term, i.e. How is what I'm doing right now equipping these believers to stand on their own feet? Paul referred to this idea as "Entrusting" in his much quoted charge to Timothy:
...and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)
Now obviously this idea didn't originate with Paul. He knew that Christ had done this very thing with His Apostles in Matthew 28: 18-20 and if he stretched his mind back further, as I'm sure he did, he would have seen some similar concepts in Jethro's advice to Moses in Exodus 18:19-24. So what does this look like in practice?
I must admit to getting frustrated at times when people come across as though pastors needs solid biblical training, but missionaries seem to be called to a lower standard. I'm not sure where that logic comes from, but the Bible certainly doesn't speak that way. If anything, we should hope that a person desiring to carry out the Great Commission, "teaching them to obey all" that Christ has commanded people in another country, would need all the Bible training they could get and then on top of that need to study principles of cross-cultural ministry, culture and language acquisition etc. We need to have something to entrust.
Read more: Entrusting