Reading Lewis and Pierard’s book, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective, reminded me of the training I received as a missionary. I was involved in a project to translate outreach and training materials into the native language of the countries that the mission was working in. The project was being implemented on a global scale, so it was important that the work consider the broader global view and cultural considerations. The authors did not just focus on Western churches, but looked at evangelism through the global lens.
In my opinion, every American missionary and church should read this book so that they understand that the American way of spreading the gospel is not necessarily the right way. The Western church needs to understand and explore other ways to spread the message of salvation to a lost world. I cannot count how many times I have witnessed the narrow-minded view of many Christians, as they have the mindset that our way is the best way. Western churches should not dictate or run the indigenous churches that they are supporting. Lewis and Pierard assert, “the churches founded by the mission should be ‘self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating.” From what I have experienced, this is very hard for many churches and mission organizations to accept.
I believe that Western organizations often struggle with relinquishing control and oversight is due to fear that the indigenous churches are going to misuse or take advantage of the resources that are provided. On some level, this fear is well founded. However, the church cannot allow this worry to translate into controlling behavior. I recall a discussion with my seminary peers surrounding differences between Catholicism and Protestantism, with regards to spreading the gospel and outreach. My stance was that the Roman Catholic Church’s outreach endeavors are more effective than that of the Protestant Church, because they more frequently help or give without any expectation of getting a “return on investment.” Many times, if a protestant church does not see some type of return on the money or resources they have invested, they discontinue the program or support. All organizations must understand that money belongs to God. We are to plant and water the seed, and God will make it grow. A key theme of our recent DMin studies addresses the extent in which materialism has infected the western church, and exposes the fact that that we are propagating a consumer style doctrine through our traditional outreach methods.
We are constantly drawing from our own tradition and experience when we minister, without the global success that we should have as a corporate Christian body. How can intentionally change the western mindset and behaviors on a massive enough scale to make a difference?
 Donald M. Lewis and Richard V. Pierard, Global Evangelicalism: Theology, History and Culture in Regional Perspective. P. 1776