A couple of months ago a pastor from India found my phone number on the Internet and started calling me. Immediately he started asking for money that I could send to his ministry. Knowing nothing about him (and still grappling with the whole idea of supporting nationals) I resolutely said that I would not send any money, but would be glad to pray for him. He calls about once a week now (that is much better than every day like when he started). He gives me various prayer requests and I have been honestly praying for the man and his church. It really is a good illustration of Jesus’ story of the lady who went to the judge daily. With Pastor Beny calling me on a regular basis, I really can’t help but think of him and pray for him. It helps me understand that the more information I can get to my prayer partners on a very consistent basis the more likely they will be to pray for me.
He sent me an email last week asking if I would pay for one of his church members to come to the US so he could go to Bible college. Because, according to Beny, “he can be used of the Lord if he gets trained in the US.”
That there is my biggest issue with churches in one country becoming dependent on another country. Beny thinks that the US has some corner on the market of spirituality. And that if his church member can come to the US he can get trained in the right way to do ministry. I also know that Beny may just be playing me as a scam artist and thinks I will eventually give in and send thousands of dollars. Well, that will never happen.
Unfortunately I think it is the US missionary mindset that has propagated that mentality. There are too many missionaries who carry an attitude of superiority over the national churches and people. All pastors should feel responsible to work towards a higher level of maturity in regards to the Bible than where his people may be. But when he portrays to his people that one has to go to a certain Bible college in a certain country to get properly trained in the ministry, I think he is stepping into the realm of Romanism; the idea that one church in one place has sole authority over what you can and can’t understand.
I will still receive calls from Beny. In fact, he called again today. I told him I would do some looking around to see if we can find a Bible college in India his church member can attend. He was thankful for any help and begged me to continue to pray for him. Which I am glad to do.