How will deprived areas be reached if we won’t fund those willing to go?

An interesting discussion broke out on Twitter yesterday. Here are some of the highlights:

I don’t know who the ‘evangelical trust’ is and nor do I know the people involved. What I do know is that the level of reasoning in the response is shoddy (at best) and the decision is, sadly, entirely unsurprising.

Let’s just consider some of the issues. First, it bears asking why these people were deemed a bad fit? Knowing the kind of people and places Mez is trying to plant with and among, I’m struggling to see how his guys aren’t a good fit for those sorts of places.

Second, it bears asking what criteria is being applied to this idea of ‘fitness’? If it’s the eldership criteria, then two further questions need asking. First, what steps have been taken to make sure that the eldership criteria aren’t being assessed culturally? Second, why does a funding body – who presumably know the candidates less well than the church – deem them a ‘bad fit’ when the sending church seem to disagree? That, at a bare minimum, requires a fleshed out response.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, how do these funding bodies expect anybody in deprived communities to be reached with the gospel if we are unwilling to fund indigenous workers? I am not of the view that we must have indigenous people reaching indigenous people. But given the sheer lack of people from outside our communities willing to come to serve them, and a seeming unwillingness to fund those who come from within our communities, who precisely do they think will actually come and reach people in places such as ours?

What is perhaps most staggering is that here are people putting their hand up to go and do a gospel work that many middle class believers won’t. Even from an entirely mercenary point of view, this saves a middle class person from actually having to go! Yet still, they were still refused funding. What are they hoping will happen? That people will be saved apart from anyone going? Or, is the suggestion that they just don’t care correct?

Now, I don’t know the funding body involved and I don’t know the people involved. It may be that they really are a ‘bad fit’ but that surely requires fleshing out at least a bit. The questions above do deserve an answer. If we accept that people with money shouldn’t have to just give it to anybody, even if a church is saying they should, the question has to be asked: how do they know better than the sending church and how do they expect areas like ours to be reached?