I wanted to echo the advice of a book I’m reading, “The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches”. The author issues a warning to using money to raise up workers in new church plants. The author’s experience coincidently is mainly in China, so it was easy to imagine all of his real life examples used in the book. The problem with using money to employ church workers is that it produces what the author calls a “mercenary” quality in the mission work. As one can imagine, there are fears that missionary given salaries corrupt the motives of converts. Without real love for God, how can there be any real loyalty to Christ and His church?
This makes it difficult for the missionary to discern those who have zeal for God or zeal for money. In this case people can adapt themselves once they learn how to stroke the missionary to gain their confidence. Even worse, the man being employed is often self-deceived, being led by lust of material possession.
If just one mercenary Christian is produced, then it is likely that mercenary spirit will be produced again. While many paid agents are sincere, there may be some who use the mission as a means to an end.
Furthermore, if paid workers are the norm in the beginning, then it would be difficult to foster a volunteer Christian servant. “If other people are being paid to serve, why shouldn’t I be?”
Concerns do not end there. If the mercenary mission should gather momentum, then it might be confirmed in the general population. Once anyone learns that the native preacher is merely a paid-agent of the foreign missionary, such a fact would only confirm his skeptical judgements against Christianity and prevent him from genuinely hearing the message of the Gospel.
Such experiences from church planting missionaries give us good insight in the use of missions money. These objections urge against mercenary agents of the Gospel.