Mike Goddard is a missionary serving with indigenous people in Paraguay, South America. He is a huge advocate for empowering nationals to participate in the Great Commission. He has seen a lot of challenges that have not empowered people but have hindered local people from playing their part in the Great Commission.
Our culture is a problem solving culture. When we take that mindset on short-term mission trips, we often solve problems that are not viewed as problems from the perspective of the locals.
When we view missions through the lens of our own culture, we see needs that are not real needs. Until we learn to listen to the local Christ followers, we will never understand what they see as the real needs for themselves and those in their communities. Once we understand what they see as the real needs in their communities, and the areas where they lack the skills or ability to meet those needs, then we can find the right people to train so that they can meet their own people’s needs as a door opener for the Gospel.
If we don’t learn to listen to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, we will not only run the risk of being ineffective in our mission efforts, but we could actually create a need in our minds that is not what the community wants to be addressed.