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“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” — Matthew 7:12 Listen to chapter . Powered by


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Book – His Plan ( 7 )

2019 Cindy Liu

His Plan


Spiritual Insight


Another important trait of the indigenous evangelists is their ability to sense an opportunity for the spiritual harvest. Jesus explained this principle to His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for life eternal, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together’” (John 4:35–36 ESV).

When the indigenous evangelists have spiritual insight, they would courageously get hold of the opportunity to advance the kingdom; they could also endure hardship with patience and perseverance when challenges comem to them.

Because they have spiritual insight, they can also sense God’s move and the spiritual victory, thus making them empowered to press on and willing to sacrifice to see the victory come through.  Those kinds of indigenous evangelists would not miss the divine opportunities from God to harvest souls.


Passion and Ability to Preach

The indigenous evangelists must have a passion from the Lord for the lost and the ability to preach the gospel. Their passion would motivate them to seek out the lost, their ability to preach the gospel convicts the heart of the lost to turn to Jesus.

Ability to Gather and Train

The indigenous evangelists need to have the ability to gather people and train others to be evangelists – the multiplication process relies on this. If an indigenous evangelist is unable to gather and teach, their impact will be limited. The mission could not grow as quickly
as desired.

Humble and Submissive

Evangelists have the characters of entrepreneurs – they are generally independent in nature, with a natural self – motivated ability. Therefore, humility and willingness to be monitored by an indigenous church is fundamental. Submission and cooperation with the indigenous church authority allows indigenous evangelists’ work to be balanced by pastors.

It will particularly benefit new believers to model the acceptance of pastoral authority, which enables them to transition into church life smoothly, also allowing them to grow into mature Christians and later become pastoral successors. Submission also allows pastors to
shepherd the pioneered fellowship into a healthy and sustainable church, bringing forth good fruit and preventing false teaching.

The Bible tells us that though Paul clearly knew his calling was to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he still asked the Antioch church to commission and send him. After prayer and fasting, he asked the leaders to lay hands on him and Timothy as a sign of their submission to the church of Jerusalem in Antioch (Acts 13:3).

Interview questions for indigenous evangelists is in Appendix 2. Once the indigenous evangelists are hired, the next thing is to train them with an effective pioneering method called sacrificial succession.

Mission Method – Sacrificial Succession

Sacrificial succession is the same principle Jesus’s leadership was based on – servanthood. As Christians, we are called to follow Jesus to do the same.

Jesus described a sacrificial life to His disciples in the Book of Matthew, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life  as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

He also said, “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:26 – 27 ESV).

A sacrificial evangelist must encompass two qualities: the willingness to serve others and the willingness to sacrifice everything to do so.

Setting Targeted People Group

Once the indigenous evangelists are trained, it’s time to decide which people group to reach in the nation first; because a nation has many people groups, to work out which people group to be targeted first is crucial.

Jesus instructed His disciples on this, in Acts 1:8 NLT, Jesus said, “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Different versions of the Bible all use the word “and” to connect Samaria to the ends of the earth and not a comma, which is significant because “and” is used as a bridge to connect one thing to the other.

A comma is used to separate one thing from the other. Often, it’s hard to reach the Samaritan people groups – for example, Muslim, Buddhist, Aboriginal, American Indian – thus people ignore them and choose other people groups that are “easier.”

However, to impact a nation, there is an important biblical principle Jesus taught His disciples – that Samaritan people cannot be ignored. They are part of the Great Commission and part of the “ends of the earth” process. Jesus shows us His heart for the Samaritan people; He testifies His Messiah identity to a Samaritan woman first (John 4:26).

Samaritan people were looked downed by the Jews, treated less than dogs, not worthy of receiving the gospel. However, Jesus made His disciples understand that the gospel must come to the lowly people first.

Likewise, many of Jesus’s successors were fishermen and tax collectors, which were the lowest people group in Jewish society back then. But Jesus trained them to be the first-generation successors.

Therefore, the critical principle to successfully impact a nation is to first preach to that nation’s so-called “Samaritan” people first.

Paul, the great apostle, demonstrated this spiritual principle to the churches. He is a “Hebrew’s Hebrew,” (Philippians 3:5) called by the Lord to be the apostle for the gentiles (Ephesians 3:1).

The Jews despised gentiles as they despised Samaritan people. According to the Jews, the Samaritan people are not worthy to receive salvation. However, Paul was chosen to preach
the gospel to these downtrodden people first.

Today, this kind of prejudice still exists. However, indigenous evangelists must find the last and the least people group in the nation and preach the gospel to them first according to these spiritual principles.


Setting Monthly Outreach Goals

The number of monthly outreach goals must be set for the indigenous evangelists now. These goals are set by the indigenous church and agreed upon by the indigenous evangelists according to each nation’s condition.

The goal setting process shapes the transparency and mutual responsibility between the church partners and indigenous evangelists, and ensures that the monthly report process flows smoothly.

This process also empowers and establishes the church partner’s monitoring role over the work of the indigenous evangelists. Each month, the indigenous evangelists must submit
a work report to the church monitoring body, and the church partner will check the accuracy of the report and sign off the report then forward it to the Mission Supporter.

The monthly outreach plan should include:
• Which target people group to impact?
• What kind of support structure is provided to the evangelists from the

indigenous church partners?
• The number of evangelists who need financial support.

• Approved management and transition plans.
• Monthly outreach target number.

Seven-Year Work Outline

The duration of the mission period is seven years. During this time period, indigenous evangelists are expected to establish three generations of indigenous evangelists. The first generation indigenous evangelists are called “predecessors,” second generation of indigenous evangelists are called “successors,” the third generation of indigenous evangelists are called “disciples.”

During the seven years, the predecessor’s role changes from serving to sacrifice then to sustaining others. Their roles are described in Appendix 3.

Discipleship Focus

The main tasks for the evangelists are to preach the gospel to the lost and make disciples—this will always be the priority, however, their discipleship emphasis would change during the three-mission period.

As the indigenous evangelists’ discipleship emphasis changes, their roles are also changed accordingly. These three roles are based on the actions demonstrated by the indigenous evangelists to their disciples during the three stages:

• A servant who serves new believers and successors according to their needs (Matthew
• A sacrificer who willingly sacrifices their time, money, and knowledge for their successors
(Matthew 20:28).
• A sustainer—although stood down from their leadership position, but still mentoring and
giving spiritual oversight to their successors (John 14:26). Details listed in Appendix 4.


The success of the indigenous evangelists is in their willingness to sacrifice as Jesus did. Jesus shared without any reservation all His wisdom and ministry journey with His disciples (John 15:15).

He empowered them and paved the way for His disciples to preach the gospel like He did. Therefore, the trained indigenous evangelists must share wholeheartedly all their wisdom
and experience to their successors, willing to sacrifice everything including to pass on their financial support to pave the way for their successors to go to full-time evangelizing others.

©National Pioneers Initiative (NPI)

Put the Successor First
The indigenous evangelists must train and equip the target people group that are being looked down by the society as their successors and handed over leadership roles to them.

Putting the last first is a spiritual principle in Jesus’s ministry. When the indigenous evangelists follow Jesus’s example, a successful multiplication will happen.

An effective succession is intentional. In the Bible, succession occurred when Jesus intentionally and willing sacrificed Himself and His leadership. Succession only occurs when a leader willingly hands his leadership to his successor. “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15  ESV).

During the first three-year period, indigenous evangelists are expected to train at least two people as their successors to do the same work they did. The indigenous evangelists must intentionally close the gap between themselves and their successors.

For example, spend more time with their successor than other disciples. Intentionally go to the successor’s home for discipleship training, build close relationships with their family to impact and transform the whole family and to prepare them to be the next evangelist’s leader.

©National Pioneers Initia The Bible says, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

In the Parable of Vineyard Workers (Matthew 20:1 – 16), there is an important spiritual interpretation – the willingness to pay a higher price for the ones who come last. Practically, this means not to expect those who started working earlier to put themselves first in
the ministry to receive the earthly blessings of leadership. “For by grace you have been saved through faith.

And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV). Paul confirmed the practical interpretation of this passage.

A man who put himself last to serve the least became a great apostle. “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1
Corinthians 15:9 ESV).

These biblical principles must be practiced during the discipleship and succession period. To impact a nation, evangelists must put their Samaritan successors first. They must sacrificially serve them even when they could or should come first. They must willing to
be the last. Although those who work the longest naturally expect to be paid more, this is normal even in the church. However, it is neither biblical nor sacrificial.

Paying the Ransom Price for Successors

Indigenous evangelists must build an intimate relationship with their successors as Jesus did with His disciples. It is this kind of intimate relationship that enables the indigenous evangelists to willingly pay the ransom price for the successors.

Jesus paid with His own life to ransom us from death. He said, “Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew
20:28 ESV).

In Jesus’s time, people understood, for a master to lose a slave meant losing all the privileges and benefits from the slave in the future. Titus 2:14 ESV expressed such a thought, “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for
himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

The practical importance of this “ransom” principle for sacrificial succession is that a predecessor (first generation indigenous evangelists) must be willing to pay the higher price and make a bigger sacrifice than their successor.

Jesus did this for us. It is based on this spiritual principle of sacrificial succession that Jesus
said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 ESV).

It is because of Christ’s sacrifice that we can do greater things. Therefore, indigenous evangelists must also follow Jesus to pay the ransom for their successors, to generously sacrifice all their time and finances to enable their successors to leave their worldly jobs without any worry to achieve the greater evangelist work ahead.  That’s how multiplication begins. A successful succession needs at least three generations of sacrificial impacts.

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV)

Paul, the evanglist (predecessor) and father, entrusted his work to his successor and spiritual son, Timothy (successor). Timothy also entrusted leadership to other faithful believers (disciples).

Three generations displayed. “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1–2 ESV).

Sacrificial succession is effective in bringing about the spiritual success of a mission project. The true servant leader sacrifices their leadership position at the time that most benefits the successor.

Mission success is in the sacrificial leadership the predecessors pass on to their successors.
Sacrificial Transition. Once the three generations of indigenous evangelists are built up, it’s time to prepare for the sacrificial transition. Jesus explained to His disciples to lay down
leadership to serve and sacrifice, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV).

What Jesus said here is that servant leadership compared to worldly leadership is entirely different. True sacrificial succession happens when servant leadership is being practiced in life.  The leader who is willing to be the last and the least is a true servant.

Without a sacrificial leader, sacrificial succession is incomplete. Sacrificial succession spiritual principles bear the fruit from generation to generation. If Christ hadn’t sacrificed His life, how can His disciples willingly sacrifice theirs for Him? Likewise, if the first
generation indigenous evangelists do not demonstrate the act of sacrifice towards their successors, how can they expect their successors to sacrificially serve their disciples? One without being impacted cannot impact others.

Advocating Transition

After the sacrificial succession is complete, it’s time to advocate for the Mission Supporter to transition out. Matthew 20:17–19 ESV outlines the example and main points of how Jesus sacrificially handed over His leadership to His disciples and how He handled transition:

“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the
third day.”

• Jesus foretold His death and resurrection to His potential successors. Note: He did not give all the sensitive details to the public.
• Jesus and His disciples openly discussed these sensitive issues. Note: He did not discuss with some disciples while others were not around, nor did He do it privately one on one.

  • Jesus explained clearly to His disciples the succession method and time. Note: Normally, transition plans are not foretold, but Jesus clearly expressed it.

The transition process needs to be foretold to all the potential successors as well as the general church body. This practice will eliminate what often appears as guesswork and lies about the leadership’s successors.

First, the discussion should incorporate the current leaders as leadership transitioning is their responsibility, followed by a conversation with potential successors to talk about every level of leadership and the transition principle. Sharing as much information as possible is
essential. Discuss plans openly with the team, not individually, ensuring no one will be more informed than the other.

Then, discuss the succession plan and transition details with the new leaders. Spend much time informing future leaders of the transition process: what will happen, when it will happen, and why it will happen.

It is important not to leave any doubt in the indigenous people’s minds. For example, in East Timor, an open transition process was critical because their people were still hurting from the war and genocide. Throughout history, the East Timorese were always being told what
to do by their religious leaders.

When the transition process started in East Timor at the time, they only had first generation believers in the church. They did not feel ready to become leaders themselves and let their
spiritual parents leave. Therefore, they needed lots of encouragement, love, and assurance.

Care for Concerns

It is important to share the plans for the transition with the indigenous church members at the largest gathering of the year. Announce both the outgoing leaders and the new replacement leaders.

Also, when the transition is about to take place, spend time answering any questions from the congregation. Encourage them and remind them that fear, worry, and concern about the
change is understandable. Show extra care for the concerns that some have raised. Usually, the people will be shocked and griefstricken, and rightly so because the outgoing leaders
were their spiritual fathers and mothers.

Being Fair

During a transition, always be prepared for favorseeking (nepotism). Do not show favoritism. The Bible clearly states, “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by law as transgressors” (James 2:9 ESV).

Unfortunately, favor – seeking is a part of most leadership transitions. It may come from a variety of different tactics depending on the culture of the people involved. Sometimes it comes from family, friends, or colleagues, as did the mother of Zebedee’s son (Matthew 20:20 – 21).

At other times, it comes through the authority structures that favor management abilities
and theological qualifications. Be prepared for it by being fair. Deal with favoritism directly and do not be pushed into saying “yes.”

Prayerfully and carefully consider all your options subject to the guidance of those who have authority over you. A general rule is that people who seek favors, or use others to seek favors on their behalf, are not sacrificial. Therefore, these people are not good candidates
for sacrificial succession.

Avoid favoritism by not making important decisions about successors on your own. Be open to the guidance of those with authority over you. Jesus made it clear when faced with favor-seeking amongst His potential successors that these decisions were not made by Him
alone but are “for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23b ESV).

Succession wasn’t just about personal ability or willingness to sacrifice. It is about whether these were the people the Lord wanted for the job. Jesus does not make Himself the final arbitrator or decision maker regarding His successors. Instead, He is open to the oversight of His Father.  Therefore, we need to do the same—to seek advice from above.


After seven years, the mission project is fully established to maturity; many indigenous leaders are trained and equipped. It’s time to pull out the mission’s support, completely allowing the indigenous people to take their leadership position and be responsible to continue to impact their nation with the gospel. In the meantime, the Mission Supporter could focus on starting another mission project in a different nation.

Sacrificial Succession Application

Although the sacrificial succession method is designed for mission work, it is also applicable to daily life. Sacrificial succession begins when a person is willing to serve sacrificially. Christ’s sacrifice glorified God. Christians must learn to live a sacrificial life, daily sacrifice their flesh’s desires to serve in their church and bring glory to God as Jesus did.


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