How Should Missionaries Relate to Local Churches Overseas?

"...later, a brand-new missions team took me in. And then something happened that I didn’t expect. I was asked to stop attending church because our new team needed to bond on Sundays. This struck me as odd. What about the church?" - 9 Marks

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JD Miller's picture

We are church planters in the United States.  When we moved to our new location we started out with Bible studies and had a small core group but no Sunday morning worship.  We did not start meeting on Sunday mornings until we had been here for a few years.  During part of that time we were traveling and raising support, so we were actually out of the area on Sundays.  When we were home, we wanted to be in a local church.  We also wanted to be cautious not to go to a church where there would be a concern that our intent was to draw away people to the new work we were starting, so we chose a church that was close enough to drive to, but far enough away that it was unlikely that people from there would want to drive to our new work once it started.  During that time the church we fellowshipped with was a blessing to our family.  It was encouraging to be under the preaching of God's word every Sunday and to have the prayers and encouragement of fellow believers.  Once we began holding Sunday morning services ourselves, we stopped attending the other church and now have our own fellowship.  Although we have always been accountable to our sending church, I asked the leadership of the local church we were attending to also hold us accountable since they were the ones who saw us on a regular basis.