Recently I heard of a nation in Central Asia in which vast amounts of money are flowing in from the Middle East to spread Islam.
In one remote village a pastor returned home after completing his studies to threats of death and intimidation. He was warned off any intention of planting a church in the village.
So he left.
Persecution is unfortunately a common experience for believers in this part of the world.
But there is something else wrong here.
Where did we get the idea that the best way to train a church planter was to take them out of their situation and put them in a classroom for a few years? Meanwhile Islam spreads from village to village.
Eventually the church planter returns having lost touch with his people. His training in the city has lifted him out of his village educationally, culturally, and financially. He stands alone in the place he once called home. Who can blame him for leaving?
I don't. I blame the people who advised him to leave in the first place. I blame the westerners who provide the funding to keep a system like this going.
I asked a missions leader, Why aren't church planters trained in the villages alongside their people? He told me there were too many logistical problems. The villages were remote and they didn't even have electricity. How could you train leaders in such an environment?
Obviously the muslims can do it. I'm assuming Jesus was able to train leaders without electricity.
If we have to build colleges to train the pastors we pay to plant churches, we'll never see a multiplication movement that reaches the 80 million people of Central Asia.
Something needs to be different. Something is different wherever we see church planting movements.