“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40 NKJV).
I recently served on a panel for a missions training program where we were asked the question, “Why is it important to develop relationships with locals in the mission field?”
When it was my turn to respond I began by supposing that if a certain former late night television host was a Christian missionary, he might answer the question with a list. Here then is my suggestion of what such a list might include:
The Top Ten Reasons Why One Should Develop Relationships with Locals
Reason Number Ten: “Locals know the good places to eat.”
Reason Number Nine: “Loneliness is no fun.”
Reason Number Eight: “It is uncomfortable to be a stranger.”
Reason Number Seven: “There is strength in numbers.”
Reason Number Six: “Everyone needs someone to watch their back.”
Reason Number Five: “Locals can vouch for us to our audience – they are our best references.
Reason Number Four: “Locals know how to deal with local conditions – laws, customs, and environment.”
Reason Number Three: “Relationships make us want to go back.”
Reason Number Two: “People are important; one cannot have too many friends.”
And the Number One Reason: “The Matthew 25 principle – when one makes a friend of Jesus’ people, one makes a friend of Jesus.”