MISSIONS PATHS

"Take your path in missions, For God's glory."

What is your role?

Propempo International helps you and your local church become more effective in fulfilling missions, the Great Commission, for the glory of God. Propempo paths walk with you in your journey through the 5 paths
of church missions.
 

Each path engages you using Frequently Asked Questions. These FAQs are presented in a logical order yet makes it easy to go directly to your specific area of inquiry; search friendly, logically ordered, linked to both internal
and external resources.

Walk on!

MISSION PATH ROLES:

INQUIRER

DEFINE

What is Missions?


The words “mission”, “missions”, and “missionary” in English come from the Latin form of “to send” (missio), and also where we get English words such as “missile” and “missive” from. The Greek form of this word is apostelo = αποστελω (to send) and “apostle” – a sent one. We agree that the New Testament office of Apostle (with an upper case “A” as a title) has ceased with the 12 Apostles and the Apostle Paul. But, in an application sense, the gifting of an apostolic missionary (with a lower case “a” as a function) can be seen in those qualified men who are approved by a local church and sent out to do evangelism, discipleship, and church planting in another culture. “Missions”, in Christian understanding, is evangelism and church planting that involves going (Matthew 28:19; John 15:16) and crossing into another culture and learning that culture and language of a people group that is different from the one going, in order to preach the gospel to them, make disciples and teach them the Bible. This is distinguished from evangelism, which is preaching the gospel to anyone, people who are in our own culture and already speak our language. Since we know from the Bible (see Rev. 5 and Rev 7) that at the end of redemptive history there will be people who are redeemed by the blood of the lamb “out from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9), this points to the importance of seeing the gospel take root in all cultures. The Greek word “nation” is ethne – εθνη – where we get out modern English word for “ethnic” and “ethnicity”; it denotes a culture and language and people group. It does not mean “political boundary” or “country”. Therefore, another aspect of “going” in missions is going to be language and culture learning and being with people. One cannot communicate to another culture that does not speak our language unless we humble ourselves and go to them and learn their language and culture and “hang out” with them in order to model Christ’s character and love and pray for opportunities to witness as we learn their culture and language. Missions involves not only “going” – Matthew 28:19, John 15:16, but sending. A local church must send out every missionary, and evangelist, and church planter. Even Paul and Barnabas first served in the local church in Antioch (Acts 11:26) and were confirmed and appointed and sent out by a local church. (see Acts 13:1-4) There is no place for “God is leading me to be a missionary” without local church confirmation and testing. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” John 20:21 The church at Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas for the work of evangelism and missions. The Holy Spirit sent them out also. When the church sends, the Holy Spirit sends. See Acts 13:1-4 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:13-15




Why should I care?


You should care about missions because God cares; the subject is important to God; because God’s own glory is important; and He being concerned for His own glory is the overall theme of the Bible.

  1. The whole Bible is about God’s glory and the way He gets glory is by
    a. Saving sinners from all the nations throughout all of history. (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 2 Peter 3:8-15 – the reason why Christ has not returned yet is because He still wants to save people out from sin.

    b. Purifying His bride, His people, in all nations – the church among all the nations – to be growing in deeper levels of holiness and shining the light. See Ephesians chapters 3, 4, & 5 and Revelation chapters 4-5 and 19-22. “to Him be the glory in the church in all generations”, ie, “throughout all history” – Ephesians 3:20-21 All of history is about God getting glory for Himself as the church is spread and the kingdom of God is extended among all the nations / peoples.

    c. And God also gets glory by executing His justice against sinners who never repented or trusted Christ in hell, after they die. John 3:18 – they are already condemned. Acts 4:12 – there is only one name under heaven by which we must be saved. Romans 9:20-23; Revelation 19-20; Revelation 14:10; Matthew 25; Matthew 5:21-30; Mark 9:48 Hell is real and it is God’s justice – His wrath. Either one trusts in the one who took the wrath and justice on the cross ( Romans 3:25-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10) or they will have to take the justice on themselves. “kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way; blessed are all those who take refuge in Him.” (Psalm 2:12)
  2. ​​​​You should care about missions because Christ commanded it – Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; predicted it, and grounded it the OT Scriptures – “thus it is written” – Luke 24:46-47 (that the Messiah should be preached is also written in the law, the prophets, and the Psalms); and He sent the Holy Spirit to empower missions – Acts 1:8
  3. You should care about missions because God rebuked Jonah for his lack of care and that Jonah knew God was compassionate and loving and merciful and wanted him to reach out and preach to the Ninevites/ Assyrians, but Jonah tried to run away from God’s purpose for him and then even after God saved many of them, Jonah was still angry and full of self-pity that God saved them.
  4. You should care about missions because the story of redemption is the structure of the entire Bible story.
Genesis 1-2 – creation
Genesis 3 – the fall of man into sin
Genesis 3:15 – the promise to send a champion who will crush the serpent’s head. (The Messiah who would be born of the seed of the woman)
Genesis 6:5 – “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man upon the earth was great, and that every thought of the imaginations of his heart was only evil continually.” The great problem of sin all over the world, deep in the human heart (Mark 7:20-23); and the only remedy is Christ Himself.
Genesis 10-11 – The Tower of Babel, Tower of Pride – ungodly unity and one language and culture; and the resulting creation of nations and cultures and languages.
Genesis 11 – God deliberately created the different languages and cultures so that there would be difference, disunity and so that we would have to work hard to overcome our natural prejudices and by crossing into another culture, we love them and share the gopsel – the unbelieving world marvels when we love other cultures and reach out to them.
Genesis 12:1-3 – God chooses one of those nations to be His missionary people in order to bless all the other nations / families of the earth.
This purpose of the covenant is repeated in Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14 – to Abraham twice more, to Isaac, and to Jacob. The purpose of Israel’s election is not elitism – the purpose was that they would in turn be a blessing to the pagan and unbelieving nations.
Genesis 49:10 – to Judah belongs the obedience of the peoples.
Exodus 19:5-6 – the purpose of the covenant of the law was so that when God’s people would walk with Him and obey Him, they would be a kingdom of priests in the midst of the nations and then spread the message to the pagan nations and be a model and light. They were suppossed to live holy and be a model and light; but they were not.
Psalm 96:3 – tell of His glory among the nations
Psalm 87 – God registers the peoples and has elect people even within the enemies of Israel such as Babylon, Rahab (Canaan and Egypt), the Philistines and Sudan and Ethiopia. Some of those peoples will be born in Zion, the city of God. Paul uses the feminine of the Hebrew, “this one was born in her” in Galatians 4:26 – “but the Jerusalem that is above, she is our mother”
Psalm 67 – a prayer based on the same promise of the Abrahamic covenant: “O God, bless us and shine your face upon us, so that You ways may be known on the earth, among all the peoples. “let the people’s praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You!”
Isaiah 49:6 – “It is too small a thing that you should bring back the tribes of Jacob; I will also make you a light to the nations.” Paul and Barnabas understood that was a commission for them as Jews in Acts 13:46-47 – “for thus the Lord commanded US . . . ”
Isaiah 52:13-15 – the mission of the suffering servant – the Messiah in Isaiah 53 – is not complete until those that have not heard shall see and those who have not understood will hear the message. Paul quotes this in Romans 15:20-21 as the Biblical basis text for his ambition to go where Christ is not yet named and worshiped as Lord.
Matthew 28:18-20 – Because all authority and sovereignty belongs to Christ, which He proved by His resurrection from the dead, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all that nations . . . ” We can go based on His power and authority to get the task of missions done.
Luke 24:44-49 – “Thus it is written: that the Messiah should suffer, rise again from the dead, and repentance for forgiveness of sins must be preached in His name to all the nations . . .
John 20:21 – as the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you.
Acts 1:8 – the Holy Spirit and power to witness and power to live holy
Romans 10:13-15 – how shall they hear without a preacher?
Romans 15:20-21 – a godly ambition to preach the gospel
Romans 16:25-27 – Paul ends his great theological letter with praise to the only wise God who is spreading His gospel among all the nations.
Revelation 5:9 – some from all nations have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb
Revelation 7:9 – a great multitude which no one could count from every nation and people and language
Revelation 21:3 – “they shall be His peoples” (λαοι = laoi = plural)
Not everyone will serve God specifically in missions overseas or in another culture, but every true Christian should own the vision and ambition that Paul has to preach the gospel not where Christ is named as Lord, so as to spread His gospel and glorify God. Those that don’t go, own the ambition and vision by praying and giving and supporting and encouraging missionaries (those that do go).
Robertson McQuilkin’s book, The Great Omission is the best concise introductory book on missions there is: A great way to build your vision and cultivate caring.
The Great Omission: A Biblical Basis for World Evangelism
John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life is another study that can greatly help your cultivate your vision for misisons, God’s glory, walking with him, growing in Him, and serving Him. Don’t Waste Your Life (Group Study Edition) Another excellent book is John Piper’s – Let the Nations Be Glad! – This is where he makes some of his famous statements that many have found to be profound: “Missions is not the ultimate thing; Worship is; God’s glory is ultimate; but since people are not worshiping or glorifying God, then missions exists because worship does not.” Chapter 1 on the Biblical basis and God’s glory and chapter 4 that proves that everyone must hear the message and have Christ as their conscience focus in order to be saved, along with the chapters on prayer and suffering – are very convicting and meaty. Let the Nations Be Glad!




What is the goal?


God’s goal is His own glory. (see Revelation chapters 4, 5, 19-22) What is “the glory of God” or “God’s glory” ? The glory of God is basically “the manifestation of the Holiness and character of God” (see Isaiah chapter 6 – “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of His glory” – when His worth is shone forth or praised or manifested or announced. God’s glory is about when His character is honored and praised. It means the publishing of “the intrinsic worth and character of God”, or “His weightiness”, which is based on the Hebrew word for glory, “Kavod” or כבד – which points to “weight”, “influence”, “impact”, “honor”. The context of God’s glory seems to described in the Bible of trying to describe the brightness and shining of blinding light of a vision someone who is sitting on a throne high, and lifted up, in exaltation. (Isaiah chapter 6, Ezekiel chapter 1, Revelation chapters 4-5.) See also: Hebrews 1:3; John 1:14, 18; 2 Corinthians 4:6 are communicating the truth that Jesus Christ explains (exegetes – “to lead out”, “to explain”, “to expound” – John 1:18 – a word we use to explain the process of understanding the text and explaining the text of Scripture.) God Himself in the flesh. The glory of God is not only about describing God’s character, and His impact; but it is also the response that is the proper response to God – to give Him glory and honor; to praise and worship Him. God’s goal of being glorified is expressed in 2 ways:
1. God’s justice and holiness in judging sin and sinners who don’t repent. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:10-15)
2. God’s love in saving sinners from all nations, all people groups. (Revelation 5:9; Matthew 28:19)
Everything in the Bible and History is for the glory of God and history is moving toward the ultimate end of the glory of God in all things. (Ephesians 1:11, with verse 6, 12, and 14 where the phrase “to the praise of His glory” is repeated three times) Even when God judges sinners in hell or the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10-15; Mark 9:47-48; 2 Thessalonians chapter 1) that is God’s justice and holiness expressed by His just wrath on sinners for eternity, and God gets glory for that. (see the vessels of wrath, compared with the vessels of mercy in Romans 9:22-24) God also gets glory from showing His perfect love in saving sinners in all nations from sin and hell; and part of the preaching of the good news presupposes that we need a savior from sin, because our sin has condemned us before a holy God and so we humans must repent and turn to Christ in faith. “God is now declaring to everyone everywhere that they must repent . . . ” Acts 17:30) Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) God’s justice and holiness and wrath against sin is the reason why He calls for repentance from us. We are to preach repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone for salvation from sin. (Mark 1:15) Israel was commanded to tell the nations about the true God and His glory:
“Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (Psalm 96:3)
The New Testament also shows us that our preaching ultimately involves communicating the glory of God, and the glory of Jesus Christ, who is God the eternal Son. As John Piper has written an entire book on this, that God is the gospel, ultimately, because it is about His perfect and holy character.
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4-6) Missions is the means or the way, of how God spreads His glory among all nations in history. When there is a group of redeemed people in a nation that is worshiping the true God, then God is fulfilling His goal of glorifying Himself among all the nations. (see Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 21:3)
Resources:
Let the Nations Be Glad!
A Vision for Missions




How do we know this?


We know that God’s goal is to be glorified among all nations by spreading His glory among all nations because it is taught so much in the Bible.
1. It is commanded – Psalm 96:3 – tell of His glory among the nations!
2. It is the structure of the redemptive drama of the Bible in saving people from all nations, a great multitude (see Revelation 7:9), and then judging alll who do not repent and trust Christ; and God gets glory from showing His love to repentant sinners and pouring out His just wrath on unrepentant sinners. Structure of Redemptive History of the Bible: Introduction: God’s Promise Fulfillment: Genesis 1-11 Genesis 12:1-3 Rev. 5:9 Creation I will bless you . . . so that you will be a blessing to all the nations Fall Genesis 22:18 Flood Psalm 67 Nations Isaiah 49:6 Command: Fullfillment: Matthew 28:19 Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 21:3





Explore

Aren't missions just side issues in the Bible?


By now, if you have read the previous articles “What is missions?” and “Why Should I care?” and “What is God’s goal?” and “How do I know that?”, and if you take the time to look up all the verses, you should begin to see that God’s glory and His mission to glorify Himself is the very structure of the redemptive drama and story-line of the Bible. And you would see the great theme of the Bible is that God wants to save some from every people, nation, tribe, and language. (Rev. 5:9; 7:9) Seeing the structure of the Abrahamic Covenant and God’s Promise and His purpose to make Abraham and his children a blessing to the other nations of the earth – Genesis 12:1-3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10 – and the commands to Israel to be a blessing and to tell of His glory to the other nations – Psalm 67; 96:3.
Also, the Bible says that Israel was to be a missionary people, a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:5-6), and a holy nation (Exodus 19:5-6), a light to the nations, Isaiah 49:6, and even says that it is too small a thing to only bring back and restore the tribes of Israel; seeing this structure and the way Galatians 3:6-8 and 3:16 understand the Abrahamic covenant, and that the “seed of Abraham” was the one Messiah; and the fulfillment of that (the Abrahamic covenant) in Revelation 5:9 should make us motivated to evangelize and cause us to see that missions is much more central to the whole redemptive story line of the Bible. Resources: Don’t Waste Your Life (Group Study Edition)




What is the place of missions in my life?


If you claim to be a Christian, you are one of Christ’s sheep (John 10:10-18; 27-30) and you will hear His voice in the Scriptures as you abide in Christ (John 15:1-16) and grow in the word, prayer, and local church life and ministry. You are not necessarily called to be a missionary oversees, but you will at least love the Scriptures and love God’s glory and His purpose in missions and by seeing it so emphasized in the Bible, you will share that vision and passion and be praying for missionaries and missions efforts, praying for lost people, praying for unreached nations, involved in personal evangelism as God gives you opportunity, and giving financially to your local church and to missions, and encouraging the missions vision because Jesus Himself says He has other sheep out there in other nations and He must bring them also into the fold. (John 10:16) Even though you may not be a missionary oversees or in another culture, you should own the missionary vision and passion that the apostle Paul communicated in Romans 15:20-21, and support that vision by praying for and financially supporting those involved in missions ministry. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Resources: Key to the Missionary Problem




What is the place of missions in my church?


The apostle Paul and Barnabas were commissioned and sent out by a local church. (Acts 13:1-4) Before they were approved of and sent out, they were serving in the local church. (Acts 11:26) Paul exhorted the church at Rome that they are also called to Christ, (Romans 1:5 – “you also are the called” – as Paul says, “we were called to be apostles”, 1:1-4) In Romans 10:13-15 and 15:20-21 and 16:25-27 ; these are all basically exhortations to the local church at Rome to share and own the vision and passion that the apostle Paul has. A church cannot do everything or support every good missionary, and some churches have more or less capacity to be involved depending on the resources and giftings that God has sovereignly appointed for them. Every local church should have a vision for some kind of outreach, both in local evangelism and missions. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:44-49) And the leaders / elders/ pastors should be praying and seeking for opportunities to support Biblical missionaries and to encourage young qualified believers to explore missionary service. When a local church does support some missionaries, there should be regular times of prayer, information sharing (emails, letters, photos, etc.) and teaching times, and allowing the missionaries to share/ teach/preach/report when they are home.




What is the place of missions in God's purpose?


By now, this question is obvious, if you have read all the preceding articles and taken the time to look up all the verses in the Scriptures. Missions is the means by which God gets more glory. As John Piper has written, “Missions is not the ultimate purpose of God, God’s glory is. Many nations / people groups still don’t worship the true God, nor give Him glory. Missions exists, because worship of the true God does not exist still in many unreached nations. Missions exists because worship does not. ” (John Piper’s thought, in chapter 1 of his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, (see below) with my own additional emphasis and exposition.) God’s purpose is for His own glory to be made known in all the earth among all the nations. Missions is the means by which that is accomplished, and that includes language and culture learning, going, evangelism, baptizing new converts, teaching, discipleship, church-planting, worship, leadership training. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 14:21-23; Titus 1:5-7) Resources: Let the Nations Be Glad The Great Omission: A Biblical Basis for World Evangelism





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What is the task of missions?


The task of missions includes going and crossing into another culture, learning language and culture, evangelism, discipleship, teaching, encouraging, counseling, training, and raising up and appointing elders, which are all parts of what is known as “church-planting”; or establishing indigenous local churches within another culture that has its own national elders in leadership. Seeing disciples growing in local indigenous churches in their own culture with their own leadership is what the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20) points to. Jesus commanded His disciples as a group to “go and make disciples of all nations”. The command is to the whole group who would later be the church. (Matthew 16:16-20; 18:15-20; Acts chapter 2) So, today, the church as a whole has the responsibility to the great commission of making disciples of all nations, but not every indivdiual believer will be called to be a pioneer missionary church-planter. But every member of a Biblical church should own the vision of the great commission and be involved by praying, giving, encouraging, teaching on missions, and some will be the goers. Our responsibility in missions is to apply Matthew 28:18-20. “Make Disciples of all nations” or “disciple all nations” points to seeing churches planted in each nation or people group. Let’s look at Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 14:21-23 a little closer. First, Matthew 28:18-20 A. The Sovereignty of the Commander (v. 18) – He has authority and sovereignty over every atom, every event, every circumstance, even sin and tragedy is not outside of His sovereign purposes. B. The Strategy of the Command (v. 19) 1. Go and make Disciples of all the nations. The main verb is “make disciples”, but it cannot be separated from the “going”, because one cannot disciple another nation without going. Going includes moving and crossing over into their territory and living among them and learning their language and culture and eating their food and experiencing their conditions in order to communicate and live out the gospel among them. See this article, which links also to work done by Dan Philips on the Greek construction of “go and make disciples”. It is not meant to be understood as “as you go” then make disciples. It is not passive. The going carries command force becasue it is connected to the verb and only makes sense because of the the direct object of “nations”. “Nations” cannot be reached without the going. 2. by baptizing (the doctrine of the Trinity is important to know and understand and teach to new disciples. One cannot be baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who does not accept the doctrine of the Trinity as Biblical and true.) 3. by teaching – Jesus said to teach them everything He commanded them, and He also said in John 16:12-14 that there are other things He has to reveal to them later. The rest of the New Testament is the “other things” that completed revelation. We are to teach the whole counsel of God as “all Scritpure is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and to ‘contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”. (Jude, verse 3) C. The Spiritual Presence of the Lord to accomplish the command. (v. 20) He is with us to accomplish the goal of discipling the nations! His presence is with us by the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit. (John 14, 16) Jesus said the same thing in different words in Acts 1:8 – the Holy Spirit will give you power and ability to witness and evangelize with boldness, clarity, holiness, and love. Acts 14:21-23 shows us how the disciples/apostles understood the great commission of Matthew 28:19 The verb “to disciple” or “make disciples” is used and Acts 14:21 is the only time after Matthew 28:19 that this verb is used again, and so that is instructive as to how the Great Commission is to be carried out. Acts 14:21-23 a. they preached the gospel – Evangelism b. they made many disciples c. they encouraged them and taught them about persevering and suffering d. they appointed elders for every church So, this shows that the goal is not complete if we only preach the gospel alone. God is the one who causes conversion, and when some are converted, we are to disciple them, and teach them about suffering and perseverance and God’s character and then we are to appoint those who are spiritually mature to be the elders/leaders/pastors of that church that is gathering together in that particular culture and language. See also Titus 1:5. We see God’s goal in Revelation 5:9 becasue He has already purchased and redeemed by the blood of the lamb (see also verses 5-6, about the lamb who is slain) some people from every tribe, and language, and people group or ethnicity. Our responsibility is to seek to do what we can in preaching, teaching, establishing churches, and appointing elders for each church, in each nation or people group, so that they can then preach the gospel and disciple others. But those that are going to believe in the future (the elect) cannot be saved without hearing the message. The apostle Paul said, For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain thesalvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10) Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Let the Nations Be Glad!




What is the status of missions today?


There are still unreached nations/peoples to be reached, that need the gospel in their own language communicated, so that some may be saved, churches planted and worship of the true God can take place. This recent statistic is very encouraging. Notice Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab Muslim countries and other restricted access countries . . . that’s pretty amazing. (I don’t know much about the person or organization or church that is affiliated with this web-site, but it looks like an Evangelical organization and church.) The Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course and books gives excellent articles and materials of what is going on in the world today. The Perspectives course has an effective big picture way of understanding large blocks of unreached humanity based on their worldview/religion/philosophy. They came up with five major blocks of unreached people groups. There are many people groups/nations within each of the blocks, based on other issues that make a nation a nation – common culture and language. Not trying to leave out some smaller groups, but this is just an easy way to see the 7-8 major “blocks” of humanity to give you a big picture of the status of missions. 1. The Muslim World – from Morocco to Indonesia and Mindinao in the Philippines, other parts of Sub-Sahara Africa, and growing because of immigration into Europe and the western nations. 2. The Hindu World – mostly India and Nepal 3. The Buddhists 4. The Chinese 5. The Tribal peoples Those are where the most totally unreached people groups exist, but others pointed out the other blocks of humanity that there exists cultures that were once Christian, but now are either nominally “Christian” or totally atheistic-secularistic-materialistic-Darwian-Evolutionary and humanism in world view. 6. The Western/secular world 7. The “Christian” world – that overlaps with the western/secular world – consisting of Protestantism, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodoxy – in nominal cultural ways and the part of Protestantism that is Evangelicalism. 8. Latin America – Roman Catholic and nominal Roman Catholicism with secular-western tendencies. In recent years, Evangelicalism has been growing in Latin American countries and peoples who are disillusioned with Roman Catholicism. Many missions emphasis in recent years is on those people groups that are totally without any gospel witness or churches and are in those blocks where it is poltically and culturally difficult to even go and be a witness and preach the gospel to the people, because of government restrictions. Those are known as “pioneer” or “frontier” areas or peoples. Romans 15:20 – I have as my ambition to preach the gospel not where Christ is already named and worshiped and known as Lord. Missions also includes evangelism and teachng and training in other areas, where the gospel has gone and there has been more success for the gospel. (like Sub-Sahara Africa and South Korea, for example.) One of the most exciting new trends in the last 30 years, is that other nations and countries that used to be the mission fields are now sending out missionaries to other unreached peoples. This is especially true of South Koreans and Latin American missionaries from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina. Many South Koreans and Latino missionaries can go into countries that do not allow US Citizens to go, especially in the Muslim World. Another issue that relates to the status of missions today is that there are many challenges that are grievous, such as the exporting of false doctrines and heresies through some “missions” efforts, such as the “Word of Faith” Movement or “Name it-claim it” prosperity teachings or Health and Wealth “gospel”, which is not really the gospel in any Biblical sense. These false teachings are causing shame and the name of Christ is blasphemed because of them. (The Trinity Broadcasting Network – TBN – Paul and Jan Crouch, the late Kenneth Hagin’s teachings and books, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Jesse DuPlantis, Fredrick Price, to name a few.)




How should we meaure missions?


This is a very good question! Ultimately only God knows how He is measuring when a people group or nation is “reached”; and when “the full-ness of the nations” has come in. (Romans 11:25) Every culture still has lost people in them, even those that are considered “reached”, that have a substantial among of believers and churches. One way to see the world is the reached vs. the unreached. Another way is too divide up the world into the categories outlined in one of the previous articles. (see here) Is a previously unreached people group reached after they have one convert? What if a country or people has a few disciples, but they are scattered, persecuted, and don’t really have any churches yet? What if an unreached people group has a few house churches, but cannot really do much yet by way of influencing their culture and society for the gospel? Some mission organizations said that a people group is reached when they have the resources in their own local churches and leadership to reach out to their own people without foreign missionaries doing the work. That’s a good practical definiton. Another problem is that some missions statistics see the western world and countries that were previously “Christian” in culture, and so, they are considered “already reached”, but that is not accurate, either. Every generation is responsible for the Great Commission. We cannot say that Turkey has already been reached, just because in the past that land had the gospel. The people of the days in the New Testament and first 800 years that lived there were not Turks. They were Byzantine Greeks, Galatians, Phyrgians, Armenians, Romans, Cappodiacians. The Turks started coming there in the 900s AD and defeated the Byzantine Empire at the battle of Manzikurt, near Van in 1071 AD (in the east near the border with Iran today). The Arabs had converted the Turks to Islam in the 900s and they became the military force for the Muslim world soon after that. The Turks originally were from Central Asia, areas today known as Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, and Kirgistan. Some zealous evangelicals emphasized just evangelism into pioneer areas too much, (the gospel of the kingdom must be preached as a testimony in all nations” – Matthew 24:14) without sound teaching, and taught things that seemed as if they were saying, if one person gets saved in an unreached people group, then that group is “reached”. That doesn’t seem right. Also, some people emphasize evangelism over discipleship and teaching and that is not right either. The nations must be discipled and taught well. (Matthew 28:19) The Greek of Matthew 28:19 does not mean, “disciple a few people in each nation”, rather it means “disciple all the nations” – each nation is to be discipled with sound evangelism and teaching. Some groups and churches invoke Matthew 24:14 as if we can, by our missions efforts, actually bring about the second coming of Jesus. I don’t think that is right either, since God is sovereign and only He knows when all the elect will be saved; but it is proper to show that the reason why Christ has not returned yet is because there are still many people out there in all nations who have yet to repent, and who will repent when the gospel is preached to them. (2 Peter 3:8-15)




What can I do to advance the cause of mssions?


1. Be informed about what the Bible says about missions. (start with those articles before this article) 2. Read good books on the Biblical theology of missions. John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad Tom Wells “A Vision for Missions” Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, by Ralph Winter and Steve Hawthorne 3. Read good missionary biographies. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth Tucker – a great overview of the most well-known that were recorded missionaries in history. Shadow of the Almighty by Elizabeth Elliot Peace Child by Don Richardson Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson Brutchko by Bruce Olsen Faithful Witness: The life and ministry of William Carey – by Timothy George The Challenge of Islam by Charles Marsh 4. Make Matthew 9:37-38 a more regular part of your prayer life. “Lord ! send forth more laborers/workers/missionaries to . . . . a certain country, or a certain people group”.” And with that prayer, a proper attitude of availability and service is “and Lord, I am willing to go!” 5. Get the book, Operation World and really use it – and pray for countries and people groups and look up (google!) what is going on in different counties and people groups. 6. Pray for specific missionaries in your church. 7. Get a world map and learn about the world and pray for different countries when you hear about them in the news. 8. Give financial gifts to biblical missionaries and missions through your local church and beyond, if your church does not support missionaries yet.




How can I help my church get more involved in missions?


Be an example of godliness and humility first. Don’t go overboard in zeal in trying to get everybody to be a missionary or condemn people because they don’t have the same intensity and zeal for missions that you do yet. Being too intense or putting a guilt trip on people is not the way to go; it turns people away. Pray for your church leadership. (Pastor, Elders, deasons, staff) Share small bits of information in an encouraging way. Study the previous articles in this series and the other ones, and what the Scriptures say, and read some books recommended here. If you share the vision for missions with the leadership in a godly way, be prepared to be the one who will lead the charge when an elder or pastor says, “You know, you are right; why don’t you do ______________ ? Do what? Things like a. start a prayer group for missions. See practical suggestions here. b. Start a bible study or Sunday School class on the Biblical basis for missions, using John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad! or Robertson McQuilkin’s The Great Omission or the Perspectives course. c. lead a short-term missions group d. Start a missions conference e. Report on a missionary biography in a Sunday School class. f. investigate some career missionaries that are like-minded in doctrine that your local church would be open to supporting. g. Get advice from other like-minded churches that have a missions program or support missionaries. h. Ask Propempo to help you with questions you may have. See the contact info for David Meade. David has counseled many churches, pastors, and leadership of local churches in starting to get some kind of a missions program started.




How much does missions cost?


1. Time – whether praying, or sending or going – all three take time 2. Treasure = money – those that stay home and support missions, it cost them in sacrificial and regular giving, but true believers want to worship the Lord through giving and want to grow in their giving to spread the kingdom of God. (see 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9) 3. For those who go – it can take a toll on health; there is suffering; there is the cost of being mis-understood by our own culture and thought “weird” (missionaries are different, let’s face it); and it costs the toll it takes on our children and them growing up in different cultures, etc. and family and for some, God calls them to martrydom – like John Wycliff in getting the Bible into English in the late 1300s and Jim Elliot and Raymond Lull, who were stoned by Muslims in North Africa in the middle ages. It could cost you your life – Luke 9:23; Luke 14:26-33 Read and meditate on this on what Jesus said about discipleship and following Him – and this is not to be a missionary – this is to just be a follower of Jesus – a disciple! The big issue is not “missions”, but if more church goers were true disciples, more disciples would be going to the mission field and supporting missions, because they would be surrendered to whatever the Lord wants in their life. Discipleship means that all other relationships are secondary to Jesus 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Discipleship means I surrender my own rights to run my own life: 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down andconsider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. Discipleship means surrendering up all our possessions to the Lordship of Jesus: 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Luke 14:26-33 4. But normally, the cost of sending a missionary couple or single or team to another culture will depend on the economy and situation of that specific culture and country. Right now, Japan and Western Europe are probably the most expensive places to live, but Africa and other parts of Asia and Latin America are less expensive, generally.




What is the history of missions?


The history of missions is the history of how the gospel spread and how churches were established into new cultures and countries and people groups and the set-backs and defeats and victories and the struggle of seeing the gospel take root in other cultures. Also, see my other article at Ken’s Blog on “Why is church history important to missions?” There are different ways of looking at the history of missions, or categorizing periods and movements and chronological events. Ralph Winter has a very effective way of understanding a basic outline of the history of missions in how the gospel went into new large “cultural basins” or in some cases, how it did not advance. (in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement text and course) Winning the Romans (30-400 AD) – the church grew under persecution until 312 AD, Constantine’s Edict of toleration. Theodosius (380-392 AD) was the emperor who made Christianty the official state religion. Also, the Armenian people accepted Christianity as their religion in the year 303 AD by the decree of a king. But it takes individual witnessing and faith for true conversion to take place. There is a vibrant Armenian Evangelical community today in Armenia and Turkey and Iran, although most Armenians today are very nominal. Winning the European Tribes (400-800 AD) (commonly called the era of the Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire like the Goths, Franks, Visi-Goths, Vandals, Britons, Scots, Irish, Angels and Saxons and other Germanic and European Tribes. They invaded the Roman Empire and missionaries were also sent out and these European tribes became Christian in culture. This laid a foundation for the basic Christian culture of most of Europe. Some of the missionaries, like Ulfilas, who went to the Barbarain Goths, were Arian in there theology, and they needed to be discipled in correct doctrine. (Arian means, they followed the theology of Arius, who was a heretic condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Arius taught that Christ was not the eternal Son, but the first creature that God the Father created. Arius said, “there was a time in the past that the Son did not exist.” The Council of Nicea condemned him as a heretic and Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, Hillary, Jerome, the Cappadocian fathers, all wrote and taught against this ancient heresy. Today, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a similar theology as the ancient heretic Arius. Islam invaded and conquered the Middle East Byzantium Empire, North Africa, Spain, and the Persian Empire. (634 – 722 AD; and into the 800s) The Church as a whole had “left its first love” (see Revelation 2:4-5) and did not reach out and allowed false doctrines to eclipse the gospel; so God allowed Islam to conquer many areas that were thriving Christian centers and cities in the earlier centuries. Winning the Vikings (800-1200 AD) – Scandanavian peoples invade Europe and come into contact with Christianity, at minimun in a cultural encounter and with a middle ages Roman Catholic theology. Many Vikings killed the men and took women as their wives, and many women spread Christianity into the Vikings cultures through a quiet and submissive character and faithful witness when the men became curious to their godly behavior. (as in 1 Peter 3:1-6) The Crusades (1095-1299 AD) – was obviously NOT a missionary strategy but because the church was unified with the European governments and military force, the Muslims got the impression that the Church of that day was trying to convert them to Christianity. The bitter results of the Crusades still lingers in the Muslim world today. The Crusades was a mixture of the “just war theory” and Roman Catholic theology of relics and pilgrimmage visiting and penance and gaining forgiveness through the indulgence system and getting people out of purgatory -theology, by fighting the Muslims. It was not a good testimony at all, though from a “just war” theory or self -defense perspective, some aspects of it were understandable, as the Muslims did start the process in their Jihad conquests in 634-722. Winning the Muslims? (1200-1600) is not really accurate, (hence the ?), because there really was not any outreach to Muslims, except for 2 famous people – Francis of Assissi and Raymond Lull. But this 400 year period reflects the last century of the Crusades (1200-1300) and the Suljuk and Ottoman Turks who attacked Constantinople and eventually conquered the city in 1453, renaming it Istanbul. The Ends of the Earth – (1600- today ) – this reflects the Protestant Reformation and the great Century of Revival movements and missions efforts of 1792-1900s Coastlands – 1792-1900s– establishing gospel outreach in coastal cities – for example, William Carey in Calcutta, India and Adoniram Judson in Burma were great pioneers Inlands -1800s – 1900s – going deeper into the countries beyond the coastal ports and cities – for example, Hudson Taylor in China, Lottie Moon in China, David Livingstone in Africa; Early 1920s to 1960s – William Miller in Iran, and Samuel Zwemer in Arabia, Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt. Unreached people groups – 1930s to today – Donald McGavran was a pioneer of the concept of the ethnic people groups (The Biblical meaning of the word “nation” (ethne – as in “ethnic”) that are within political boundries/countries and spread over several political boundries that needed the Scriptures in their own language and churches in their own cultures. Cameron Townsend founded Wycliff Bible Translators and set the foundation for translating the Bible into many more languages that needed them so that the gospel could spread in those cultures as they heard the word preached and taught when the Bible was in their language. Romans 10:13-15 – “how shall they hear and believe without a preacher?” This basic outline is derived from Ralph Winter’s articles in the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches




How can I learn more about missionaries of the past?


See the previous blog articles on reading good missionary books, and see the recommended reading section of Propempo’s website. Read good missionary biographies. One of the best overviews of missions history that is based on short articles of real life missionaries is From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth Tucker. Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot (Lives of Faith) Filling up the Afflictions of Christ, by John Piper : The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton. About William Tyndale and the risks and sufferings he endured to get the Bible translated into English (he was executed by those who submitted to the Roman Catholic Church at that time); and about Adoniram Judson taking the gospel to Burma, and about John Patton taking the gospel to cannibals on the New Hebrides Islands.




How can I learn more about present-day missionaries?


There are two basic kinds of missionaries in the world today: 1. Those that serve in the areas of the world that are open about their activities and those countries do not mind them being in their country, and give their permission to be there under a missionary visa. It is easy to find out about these kinds of missionaries, if you know of them and how to get information about them – find a like-minded local church that supports missionaries, and search on the links below. 2. Those that serve in areas of the world that are “closed” or “restricted access”, meaning the government does not allow missionary visas, so they have to find creative ways of getting legally into those countries, by teaching, setting up a business, operating on a tourist visa for a while, etc. This includes the Muslim World, the communist world (N. Korea, China, Cuba), the Hindu World, and most of the Buddhist world. Other areas are at various levels of restrictions and / or openness. There are other Evangelical churches that support both kinds of missonaries. Search and find a like minded / doctrinally sound local church in your area or city or state that supports missionaries. 3. Contact some good Evangelical sending missionary agencies for information: Most missions have very informative websites and allow you to sign up for free newsletters and periodicals. Here are just a few with think are worthy of your consideration. Many more can be found through Missio Nexus. Pioneers International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention Christar OMF Worldteam TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission) Biblical Ministies Worldwide Mission to the World Individual missionaries at F.I.R.E = Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals





Connect

How can I begin to get involved?


At the beginning of the inquirer path, you probably started this inquiry because you have a subjective heart desire or burden or vision for missions; and are wanting to explore how you can be involved. Along the way in this Inquirer path, God is either confirming your desires and vision, or causing your desire or interest to lessen. This desire in the heart or burden or vision talk is highly subjective, so it is important to have more than just a deep desire or zeal or burden or vision for missions. The way God leads His people is usually by taking more objective small steps along the way, and the Lord will usually guide through means of you walking with the Lord in prayer, the Word, and the counsel of your local church elders/ pastor/ leaders, and circumstances as you take deeper steps of obedience. This is basic Christian guidance. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path . . . (Proverbs 3:5-6) You would not be reading all of this material if you were not interested in the subject. So, it is important for you to take some objective steps of obedience in the context of your local church with counsel from your elders / leaders / pastor as you grow. God usually guides us further as we take steps of obedience. Just as a boat or canoe cannot turn to the right or left unless it starts moving, the Lord doesn’t guide people today unless we are walking with Him and obeying Him and reaching out where we are now. You cannot suddenly become an oversees missionary in another culture if you have not been witnessing to people in your own culture first. 1. The easiest and most basic thing to start with is praying and forming a prayer group for missions. 2. Make Matthew 9:37-38 a regular prayer. Be willing to be the answer to that prayer for the Lord of the harvest to sovereignly raise up and send out more workers into His harvest. 3. Find out who your local church supports as missionaries and seek to get their prayer and news letters and find out thier needs and burdens and pray for them. Get their photo prayer card and prayer for them around the breakfast or dinner table with your family. 4. Get the book, Operation World; There is also link here, Operation World , but you have to click on “World Evangelization” to the right; and use it in your prayer meetings. 5. Google unreached peoples and countries and learn more about them and pray for them. 6. Pray for urgent and critical areas of the world that are in the news. Such as right now (July of 2013) – pray for Syria and Egypt and the upheavals there – civil war in Syria; coup in Egypt. Pray for Iran and the persecuted church in Iran and their threats of nuclear ambitions. Pray for China and their growning economic and political power, that the gospel would penetrate even more into their culture. Praise the Lord for the many underground and house churches there that God has given fruit to. Pray for their spiritual growth. Pray for Turkey and the recent protests and struggle with secularlists vs. Islamists. Pray for Tunisia and the struggle between secular forces and Islamists types there also. Pray for North Korea. You can google all of these areas and begin to learn about the people that live there and their culture and history. 7. Ask and inquire about short-term vision trips and what all is involved in that. See the list of missionary organizations and missionaries in the previous articles. 8. Share your vision and desire with your pastor and / or elders – ask them to pray for you and your vision. 9. Use your gifts in the local church you are a member of – be a servant. Even the apostle Paul and Barnabas served and taught in the local church in Antioch for over a year (Acts 11:26) before they were called and confirmed and sent out as missionaries. (Acts 13:1-4)




What options are out there?


By now, if you have worked through all the previous articles, read books, studied Scripture, and are praying regularly for the Lord’s guidance, and explored issues with other missionaries and mission agencies, and shared your desire to be involved in missions with your pastor/elders/church leaders, then as you pray and abide in the Lord and His word, and are sharing your faith in your own culture, some options will probably present themselves to you, based on your life situation, God’s sovereignty, your local church, and where you are in your walk with the Lord. Different mission agencies and missionaries that you have gotten to know may be surfacing in your heart and mind that you could explore. (see previous articles) A certain people group or lanugage or country or area or general focus of a burden for people of a certain religion (like Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists; or secular atheists in Europe and Russia) may be surfacing in your heart and mind that you could explore, with your local church and pastoral leadership. (See Acts 13:1-4) If you have not talked to your elders/pastor/local church leaders, that is the place to start now. If you are not a member of a local and Biblically sound church, you need to be a member of a local church first. the local church is God’s method on this earth in history of sending out missionaries and being salt and light in this world. (Matthew 16:16-20; 18:15-20; John 20:21-23; Revelation 3:7-8; 1 Peter 2:1-10; Romans 12; Matthew 28:18-20)




How do I relate to my church?


See the previous article. (How can I begin to get involved?) See also this earlier article. (How do I help my church get more involved in missions?)




What does it take to go to the mission field?


Prayer Walking with the Lord, abiding in the vine – John 15:1-16; abiding in His word (John 15:7; John 8:31-32 – being a disciple; living a holy life, evangelizing where you are.) Holiness – see Hebrews 12:14 – “without holiness, no one will see the Lord” If you are not sharing your faith in your culture, what makes you think that will change when you get on a plane and go to another culture and have to learn another language, etc.? Local church counsel and confirmation and sending out. (Acts 13:1-4) Time Patience Raising support. (money & more prayer partners and most likely a team of several churches that are committed to you.) Accepting God’s sovereignty along the way as you raise support and move forward. Sharing your vision with other Christians and churches. Also teaming with others – no one should go alone – the apostle Paul was not alone; he had his team – Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, Luke, Sosthenes, John Mark, others. (and the Bible shows us the reality of missionary team conflicts and changes in the personnel – Paul’s conflict with Barnabas and John Mark – so don’t be surprised. Perseverance




What should I do next?


If you are confirmed by a local church and leadership and they have officially commissioned to “send you out”, as in Acts 13:1-4, then you can start, depending on where you are at in the issues of deciding on where to go; what people or country, and what mission agency to join. These are the issues you have to work through. What people or country or religion ? What is my role/gifts/desires? What mission agency to join? What team to join with? (maybe you will join with other like minded believers who are with another mission agency on the field, and your church and mission agency will have to work out how you will partner with each other. Maybe you have the vision and gifts to actually start a church planting team and lead one to another culture! – talk to your pastor/elders and church leaders and explore the possibilities.




Can I just start doing things?


This article assumes you have been walking through the previous "Inquirer" on the "Paths in Missions" articles. If you just stumbled on this article without reading the others first, you probably want to read previous articles for context. Check them out! If you have a desire for involvement in missions, and you don't think your church is doing enough in missions, you don't just "start doing things" to try and get the leadership to "get on board with missions" (except for walking with God, obeying Him, sharing your faith) - rather study and mediate on these passages (and in the previous articles), with a humble, prayerful attitude for your church leaders, and present your missions desire to your local church leaders; they "keep watch over your souls" - share with your paster, elders, and/or mission leader your vision and desire for missions. Of course a godly pastor is going to agree with what the Bible says about missions and evangelism, but the rest of us have to realize that many times a pastor or elders just don't know what exactly to do; or are already very busy; and if you start offering your ideas in humility - get ready! - they may ask you to start "doing things"! If you are not involved in some kind of service/ministry in the local church, you need to start there with the church's guidance - start serving with a humble attitude. (See Acts 11:26; see also Ephesians chapters 3-4; Romans 12;1 Cor. 12; Galatians 5:13-26; 1 Peter 4:9-11) Acts 13:1-4 is key:

  1. It was a church. (Acts 13:1)
  2. It was a specific local church - the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1)
  3. The leaders and teachers and prophets (Acts 13:1) (apply to preachers and pastors and elders, who are to be able to teach of today - see 1 Timothy 3 and Titus chapter 1 for qualifications; along with Acts 20:17-28 and 1 Peter 5:1-6)
  4. Paul anf Barnabas were teachers/prophets in the group, and submitted to those teachers and prophets, leaders of the church in Antioch. (13:1)
  5. Paul and Barnabas first served in the local church and waited and prayed and worshiped the Lord regularly with the church, gathered before the Holy Spirit who guided them to be sent out. (See Acts 11:26 and 13:1-4 together)
  6. They were regularly meeting and worshiping the Lord, with prayers and fasting for guidance. (Acts 13:2-3)
  7. The Holy Spirit spoke and guided them as they prayed and served and were under local church leadership. (Acts 13:2)
  8. The church laid hands on them and sent them out. (Acts 13:3)
  9. The Holy Spirit sent them out. (Acts 13:4)
  10. So, we see the Holy Spirit does not send people out unless they are first confirmed and approved of by a local church. (Acts 13:1-4)





Commit

What's involved in a personal commitment to missions?


We are considering the issue of someone who has a deep desire and conviction of being a missionary to another culture, and wants to learn their culture and language in order to get the gospel into their culture. A missions commitment is like a pastor’s or elder’s commitment to becoming a teacher or local church leader – pastor-teacher-elder. It starts with a desire and grows into a conviction and commitment and is confirmed by the external call of a local church ordaining them to start a church in a new area or by a local church calling them to become their pastor. 1 Timothy 3:1 says, “If any man aspires to the office of an overseer, it is a fine work that he desires to do.” An overseer (?????????? = episcopais or “bishop”) is the same office as an elder (Greek: presbuteros – ??????????? ) Each local church should have a plurality or college of elders or council of elders (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-7), and the Bible teaches that all elders should be able to teach the word. ( 1 Timothy 3:2) and the elders do the work of shepherding/pastoring (Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7, 1:9; 1 Peter 5:1-5 – “I exhort the elders . . . shepherd (pastor) the flock of God – shepherding means feeding the sheep spiritual food, praying for them, discipling, counseling, and administering church life and church discipline if necessary. (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5, Titus 3:10) A missionary/ evangelist also starts with an internal desire and conviction the same way the pastoral ministry does. There is a godly ambition to preach the gospel not where Christ is named. (Romans 15:20-21) It is our conviction at Propempo that the sign-miracle-revelation gifts ceased with the apostolic age, and the closing of the New Testament canon, which happened when the last book of the NT was written, whether it was the book of Revelation or the little book of Jude. Jude 3 says that we are to earnestly contend for and defend “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”, so that verse may be a hint at the closing of the canon. But that does not mean that God doesn’t do miracles or heal anymore; He certainly does, sometimes; and He uses our prayers. The office of apostle ceased with the death of John, but a “sent one” as a missionary-evangelist-church planter continues. The gift of prophesy also ceased with the closing of the canon of Scripture, but it is possible to see an application of that gifting today as preaching that is powerful and takes the written word and preaches it with conviction, speaking forth the word of God clearly, rebuking sin. The gift of tongues in Acts 2 and I Cor. 14 seem to be real languages in different people groups in the apostolic age. Could it be that when Paul speaks of “earnestly desiring the greater gifts” in 1 Cor. 12:31 and 14:1, that he is alluding to the teaching gifts of preaching and teaching in extending the gospel into new territories? Since the sign-revelational-miracle gifts have ceased, the teaching and preaching and church planting gifts in evangelism and teaching seem to be the greater gifts that lay foundations in new areas and build up the church. The application for today to be “zealous for the greater gifts”, since apostles and prophets have ceased, is for believers today to honor and be zealous for the written word of God to be read, studied, meditated on, honored, preached, and interpreted properly and lived out in holiness and godliness. The greater gifts are in that context in the list, first apostles, then prophets, then teachers; so they all point to the honoring of the written word and teaching that word with integrity. At the same time, James 3:1 says, “Let not many of become teachers, for you know that you will incur stricter judgement.” So there is a balancing principle that weeds out people who delude themselves or don’t have the perseverance to stick out the hard work of ministry in missions, evangelism, pastoral work, church planting, and counseling and church discipline. It is very hard work and taxing on the emotions; it is heavy in dealing with spiritual issues and men and women’s souls and eternal issues of heaven and hell. The inner heart – conviction is a subjective thing. Any one can be deluded to thinking they should be a missionary and “save the world”. So, it needs the external call of the local church to test and confirm the inner calling. (Acts 13:1-4) Paul said, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” – I Cor. 9:16 Usually, someone who is really “called” by God to be a missionary, will have such a strong conviction and commitment to going that they will do all they can to get there – they will seek the Lord, seek to live holy so as to not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27) and be submissive to their local church leadership along the way and persevere in the time it takes to actually get to the mission field. Also, see the article, “thoughts on the missionary call”. If you are interested in exploring the issue of the miracle sign gifts controversy and debate between Christians, there are 2 on line debates that are very helpful. 1. One is between a Charismatic (Dr. Michael Brown) and pastor who holds to the ceasationist position, the position that we believe in here, Dr. Sam Waldron. 2. Another is between Dr. Wayne Grudem, a Reformed Continualist vs. Pastor Ian Hamilton. Both of these debates provide the arguments for both sides of this issue. In our opinion, Dr. Waldon and Pastor Hamilton do an excellent job of articulating the right position on the miracle-sign-revelational gifts.




Who should I tell about my commitment to missions?


Since the teachers and prophets of the local church in Antioch in Acts 13:1-4 were over Paul and Barnabas and they were serving in the local church (Acts 11:26) first, for over a year, and they prayed together, worshiped together, and fasted together there in Acts 13:1-4, you should tell your pastors/elders/church leaders and share your vision with them and seek to get their prayers and counsel about your commitment and convictions for missions.




How does my commitment to missions relate to my family?


If you are married, you have to act and move forward as ‘one unit” / unified / as “one flesh”; and talk about it together, read scripture together, discuss the issues together and take the next steps together as “one unit” or as the Bible says, “one flesh”. (see Genesis 1-2 and Ephesians 5:21-33)




How does my commitment to missions relate to my church?


Certainly, you can become a missions advocate and activist in your church. Perhaps God has stirred your interest in missions, in part, to bring you into a supportive role or get involved in some way. If your church has a missions committee or team or board, find out who they are and how they operate. Maybe you could help with some of the work of the missions team. If your church does not have a functional missions group, the Lord may use you to get one started. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I encourage my friends to commit to missions?


One of the best ways to start is simply to begin with prayer and Bible Study on the subject of missions in the Bible. Initiate a missions prayer focus, once a month. Supply information for a special prayer for missions or missionaries in your Sunday School class, Adult Bible Fellowship, small group, or wherever you are active in meeting with other believers. You might want to launch an elective class or meeting focused on missions. There are lots of resources, DVDs, books, etc., around which you could form a study group to talk and pray about missions issues. Take your friends along to hear a missionary speaker or attend a missions conference. Give simple, well-done materials to your friends to encourage and inform them in missions. Invite a missionary to give a presentation at your home to a group of your friends and acquaintances. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What if I want to change my commitment to missions?


God is sovereign! Nothing takes Him by surprise. And, He will accomplish all His purposes. If you must change or back away from commitments to missions, just be sure your motives are right and you are seeking to please the Lord. He will use you and your connection with missions in the future. Your interest, involvement, and growth in missions will not go unused. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How long do I have to commit to missions?


Many people ask this question, but if a person is a true believer, you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and you have surrendered to Him as Lord and you are His slave. (see John McArthur’s excellent message, and book, “Slave”) You want to follow Jesus for the rest of your life, whether you are in ministry overseas, or in ministry in your own country/culture, or you are a just an average Christian in a local church who shares in the missionary vision and prays for missions, but has a full-time job and family and cannot spend as much time in missions issues as you might like. Sometimes God changes our circumstances and God’s providence change our status from being overseas to coming back home to the USA or your home country/culture. If you are surrendered to Christ as Lord, don’t worry about the question, “how long do I have to commit to missions?” Don’t even ask the question. Just follow the Lord and abide in Christ, the true vine, every day. (John 15:1-16)





Grow

What more can I learn about missions from the Bible?


You can always be growing in your knowledge of missions from the Bible. Start with Scripture and the articles on the Biblical basis for Missions here at Propempo and keep working through them as you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. You could study books along with the Scriptures, such as: Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper A Vision for Missions, by Tom Wells The Great Omission, by Robertson McQuilkin Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, edited by Ralph Winter and Steve Hawthorne (This book is a text-book of many articles on missions issues and is also a course that runs about 15 weeks, that is offered in local churches all over the world. Visit the Perspectives web-site to find a course near you.




How can I be a better witness?


The most important principle is to first be walking with the Lord in love and holiness and character (Galatians 5:13-26) and be growing in your relationship with Him – abiding in Christ, who is the true vine – John 15:1-16. A holy and godly character gives you credibility when you open your mouth and witness that Jesus Christ is Lord and He is the one who has changed your life. But witnessing is not only in good behavior, you have to open your mouth and testify that it is the Lord who has changed you and give glory to Him. If you never open your mouth, then people will think you are good because of yourself and your own morality and that is not giving glory to God. Rather that is giving glory to self.




How can I pray for missions better?


Learn about the Unreached people groups and pray for them – see here. (The Joshua Project) Also, the book, Operation World is very helpful. Look around at the other resources that we recommend, and read and study and apply to how you pray for missions and missionaries. Add Scripture, especially the Psalms and New Testament passages into your prayers and pray that God will raise up laborers for the different fields and people groups – Matthew 9:36-38. Pray for the gospel to go forth and spread rapidly and that the Word of God would be honored – 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3, and for protection for the missionary from evil men. We can ask God for protection and boldness and wisdom in dealing with certain people and areas that are extra dangerous (Islamic terrorism areas, war-torn areas – God gives us wisdom on how to be balanced. (name the country or area or people group and missionary that you are praying for. Lift the specific area, people group, and missionary to the Lord in your prayers.) Get a list of all the missionaries your church supports and pray for them, one a day or every other day, or some kind of regular schedule. You could walk through Colossians 1:9-13 or Ephesians 3;14-21 in your prayers for them. Pray for missionaries and their boldness and holiness and for their spiritual warfare against demonic forces – Ephesians 6:10-20. Here is an excellent web-site called “Prayer Cast” that has a synopsis of countries, people groups, religions, and videos of scenes from that particular country or people group or religion, and usually a national believer leads you through praying for that country. You may not agree with some of the side remarks or theology that some of these Christians make, but the point is to gain a heart of praying for different areas and peoples.




How can I pray better for missionaries?


Get on some missionaries prayer/newsletter list and email lists and pray for them and thier requests as they send them to you. Get one of their family prayer/photo cards and bring it out at dinner or breakfast and lift them up in prayer at meal times. One can always pray some Scritpure passages for missionaries, using passages like: Colossians 1:9-13 Ephesians 1:15-23 Ephesians 3:14-21 Ephesians 6:10-20 Philippians 1:9-11 Acts 4:29-31 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 Psalm 43:3-5 Psalm 143 Psalm 55 Psalm 56 Psalm 57




What can I do to help missionaries?


This book, Serving as Senders, (click under “Missionary Care” to the right) gives lots of excellent ideas on how to help missionaries. Pray for them, encourage them in their work; one could give to their ministry; but don’t overwhelm them with too many emails. (smile)




How can I learn more about missions?


Certainly, we would encourage you to read and explore more from the resource section at Propempo.com. There are plenty of excellent resources available. Many have Internet web pages or links to help you discover those resources. You could also choose a World Religion and do some research on it – like Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, Shintoism, Communism/Marxism and where the majority of people that follow these religions and do some searches on their countries, cultures, and people groups. The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches





PERSONAL INVOLEMENT

Learn

How can I get more involved in Missions personally?


Congratulations on your desire to get more involved in missions. Everyone's interests and schedules vary. If you started at the beginning of this path, you might have already viewed the video of the "Learn" section. Most of the "Personal Involement" sections began with a helpful video. You can take a short cut to those videos here: Ask God exactly what your wisest paths for involvement might be. Consider beginning with simple options such as:

  1. Learn more about God's world, and the church's role in God's mission. Some great places to start include:

    • The Missions Catalyst weekly email delivers news about missions around the world. Read and subscribe at http://missionscatalyst.net/.

    • Mission Frontiers is a monthly magazine from the US Center For World Mission. It discusses topics related to reaching unreached people groups. Read it online at http://www.missionfrontiers.org.

    • If you know any mission agencies that work in places that interest you, subscribe to their newsletters or read their websites for news.

    • The Perspectives course, while a significant commitment of time (15 weeks and substantial reading), is one of the best overview classes about the Biblical basis, history, issues and strategies of missions. The presenters come from a variety of backgrounds; so you’ll want to be discerning about what you hear. Like all watermelon lover’s know: “Eat the fruit and spit out the seeds.” Visit www.perspectives.org to find a class near you.
  2. Pray for the world. Many great resources are available, including:

    • Operation World will help you pray for every nation in the world. Visit http://www.operationworld.org and sign up to receive a daily email.

    • The Global Prayer Digest helps you pray daily for an unreached people group. Visit http://www.globalprayerdigest.org.
  3. Learn about your city’s cross-cultural community, and get involved in local cross-cultural outreach.

    • Begin hanging out at ethnic markets, restaurants and coffee shops in different ethnic neighborhoods of your city.

    • Volunteer at a local church or with a local ministry that ministers cross-culturally. Ideal ministries might include tutoring English to refugees, driving refugees to appointments, and helping in hospitality events for international students.
  4. Go on a short-term cross-cultural trip. Go through your church or with an agency that you trust. Select a trip that:

    • If possible, has a connection with a field missionary or mission work with which your church already has a relationship.

    • Has a plan for preparing you before going, and debriefing you afterward.

    • Is accomplishing a ministry requested by the field, and ultimately is directly connected to a longer-term church planting effort.
  5. David Platt’s groundbreaking book Radical (available through Amazon.com) supplies a great year-long, five-step challenge for individuals or groups, including:

    •Pray for the entire world

    • Read through the entire Bible

    • Sacrifice money for a specific purpose

    • Spend time in another context

    • Commit your life to a multiplying community




How can I get my family more involved in missions?


Families on mission together help children grow as world Christians, and can access a wider range of opportunities than men or women alone can. Before getting involved in missions as a family, gauge your whole family's interest and availability. Start at a level reasonable for everyone. Here are some first steps.

  1. Begin praying as a family for nations and people groups. If your children are younger, use kid-friendly resources such as a large world map or globe, and pictures of the places for which you're praying (such as Children Just Like Me, available at amazon.com). Prayer topics written in an understandable way for children are at websites such as Stand for Kid's website. Many fascinating books about the lives in children from other countries and cultures are available through homeschool resources.
  2. Include the world in your kid's education plans. For example, If you homeschool, take your kids to a local college campus to meet with an international student who can teach your kids about the history and culture of their nation. (They gain English practice!)
  3. Host missionaries for family meals regularly to learn about their location and ministry.
  4. Go out to eat at the same ethnic restaurant regularly, and get to know the staff.
  5. Get involved in local cross-cultural ministry opportunities such as attending cross-cultural festivals or helping refugees move in to their new homes.
  6. "Adopt" a local international student and include him or her in your normal family activities. Most universities offer programs to help this happen, as international students are eager to experience American family life. Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are wonderful opportunities to invite international families over and explain the biblical meaning behind the holiday.

A great resource for more ideas is Building Missional Family, available at http://www.vergenetwork.org/building-a-missional-family/

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  1. Pray for missionaries and people groups and countries; with the family worship and devotional sessions.
  2. Use prayer cards and letters of current missionaries and the book, Operation World.
  3. Look into going on a vision mission or short-term missions trip together.
  4. Do a Bible Study on God's glory amoung all nations with your children.
  5. Have your children pick an unreached people group or restricted access country and do research on that people group or country.
  6. Pick a missions biography for your children to read for summer reading and have discussions over the content.
  7. Watch a missions film together, such as (google the names and titles)

    A Cry from Iran - Haik Hovsenpian Mehr and Mehdi Dibaj

    The End of a Spear

    Beyond the Gates of Splendor - Jim and Elizabeth Elliot

    Peace Child - Don Richardson

    More Than Dreams - 5 stories of 5 different Muslims who had dreams of Jesus and then they were directed to the Bible or a person who shared the gospel with them.

    Films about:

    David Livingstone
    Gladys Alyward
    William Carey – Candle in the Dark
    First Fruits
    Beyond the Next Mountain
    Amy Carmichael




How does my involvement in missions relate to my church?


Hopefully your church loves missions, and has helped catalyze your missions interest. Ideally, your church provides opportunities for missions involvement, and your personal missions activity can occur through your church. As a result, your church knows about your missions interest, and is helping to disciple you and your family as world Christians. If this is not your experience, perhaps God has placed you in your current church to catalyze its interest and involvement in missions. Consider beginning the process in these ways:

  1. Meet with church leaders to ask questions and learn about the church’s current participation in missions. Ask if any strategies or policies are in place for missions, and how missions is defined and funded.
  2. Influence others informally by bringing them along in your missions participation.
  3. Start a group to learn about and pray for missions. Initially run the group for about six weeks, with the option to continue afterwards if attenders so desire. Use a brief study guide such as God’s Heart for the World by Jeff Lewis (available at amazon.com).
  4. Offer to start a team of folks that will strategize for providing missions opportunities for people in your church.
If you are considering serving as a short-term or long-term missionary, tell your church early of your interest. Your church may have a plan, or requirements, for preparing, sending and supporting you. Your church also may know of mission agencies that fit as good partners for its theological and strategic priorities. You may find that your church seems unwilling or resistant to move forward in missions involvement. It may not be willing to give missions its Biblical priority. Or it may be unwilling to assume a scripturally informed role of being your sending church. Pray. Be patient. Try to communicate your concerns with church leaders. It may be that the Lord would use you to help your church grow in this area. If opposition persists, some people leave their church for reasons such as these. If you find it necessary to do this, leave in as positive and affirming way as possible. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are paths to deeper involvement?


Assuming that you’ve built a solid base of knowledge and personal involvement, you’ve likely answered the question about your God-designed role in missions, whether as one who goes, sends others, welcomes the nations locally, or mobilizes others. Now it’s time to live out that role. Here are some possibilities. 1. Begin your path to long-term service, ideally under your church’s guidance.
2. Develop and work a whole-life plan for maximal involvement in missions. This may well involve serious changes such as moving to a different part of your city (to reach a people group or live more simply), freeing up your ability to give generously, or assuming missions leadership and discipleship roles.
3. Lead well-designed short-term missions trips that will help others begin their journey of missions involvement.
4. Mentor others considering their next personal moves in missions involvement.
5. Become involved in a regional or national network committed to helping start church planting movements in a place or among a people group of great interest to you.
We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I find missions involvement that interests me?


The starting point for missions involvement is discovering your optimal role in missions. The Perspectives course has identified at least four possible roles in missions:
1. Goers go to the field, particularly long-term.
2. Senders work behind the scenes to provide resources of prayer, finances and care that help goers remain healthy and stay on the field.
3. Welcomers understand the strategic nature of extending hospitality and a Christian witness to international students, refugees and immigrants whom God has brought to our country.
4. Mobilizers want to multiply themselves by helping others find and carry out their global missions roles. They serve as leaders who mentor and train others, and connect them to appropriate avenues for service.
Once you’ve determined the role toward which you’re bent, other questions are worth considering. • Are you more task or people oriented? For example, do you prefer to repair a refugee’s car, or help him run errands?
• Is there a particular nation, city, people group or religious block that most interests you?
• What skills and gifts do you most enjoy using: teaching, helps, evangelism, hospitality, etc.?
Prayerfully ask God to open doors and give you connections to the exactly right opportunities for missions involvement. Continue reading more in the “Personal Involvement” path on this website. Look for some of the helpful resources at the end of sections/articles. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Are there biblical examples for personal involvement?


The Bible is full of examples for personal involvement in missions. Jesus was the ultimate cross-cultural missionary. He lived his life with a clear mission of seeking to save and save the lost (Luke 19.10). He reached out to cross-cultural people whom his culture deemed detestable and unreachable (cf. the Samaritan woman at the well, John 4) Paul is a premier example of a goer. With a clear strategy of going to unreached Gentile urban centers, he planted church after church that in turn planted many churches. Western Christians trace our lineage back to Paul’s efforts. • The church at Philippi serves as a model of sending missionaries. Paul refers to its people as “partners in the Gospel” (1.5). Their support has included prayer (1.19), personal concern for him and his team (2.19-30; 4.10, 14), work alongside Paul (4.2), and financial and material support (4.14-18). The church at Antioch is a model of a sending church. It spent years preparing its best leaders for substantial missionary service, and sent them off as God directed its leaders through prayer and fasting (13.1-3). Epaphras served as encourager to Paul by coming from Colossae to Rome to visit him in prison. • The church leader John is commended for the church’s hospitality, care, and financial support for missionaries as written in 3 John. • The church in Rome was challenged by Paul to participate in his pioneer ministry to Spain (see Romans 15). • Aquila and Priscilla were commended for coming alongside Paul and others in helpful assistance and discipleship of missionaries. • Paul named many people who provided special assistance in hospitality, encouragement, provision, and prayer for his missions efforts. Check out the usual greetings and lists of people at the close of Paul’s epistles. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Pray

How is prayer related to missions?


Prayer is intricately related to missions. The advancement of God's Kingdom into dark places where Satan reigns is a war that Satan will not give up easily. The mission field is one of the primary battlefronts of spiritual warfare. In many places in the Bible missionaries ask for prayer, including Rom. 15.30, Eph. 6.19-20, Phil. 1.19, and Col. 4.3. Among the few things that Jesus mentions specifically for prayer is the command to pray for missionary workers in Matt. 9:37-38. Prayer is unique among missionary endeavors because it is not limited in geography, language, culture, or specialized training. Any believer can pray. Pray is one of the key weapons of spiritual warfare. It is a call to heaven-sent, “laser-guided” support, assistance, protection, etc. for people and ministry taking place thousands of miles away. God promises to hear and answer sincere and faithful prayers according to His will. And, we know that it is His will to glorify Jesus among all nations and through our instrumentality to bring some from every tongue, tribe, and nation to worship Him before the Throne of God in heaven. (see Revelation 5:9; 7:9) So, we have assurance that our prayers so directed will be effective. Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Why should I get involved through prayer?


Involvement in prayer benefits both those who pray, and those who are prayed for. Personally, prayer increases intimacy with God, helps develop a healthy dependence on God, and changes primarily our hearts, rather than God. Additionally, when we pray consistently for change that honors God, seeing God affirmatively answer our prayers encourages our faith. We bless missionaries when we pray because we are actually co-laboring to break up hard spiritual ground. Missionaries have told many stories of specific times when it was clear to them that people had prayed at a specific time, or stopped praying. A particular spiritual breakthrough occurs, or borders are crossed with possessions that normally would be caught and removed in customs lines. Money and supplies last longer than they should have. On the other hand one missionary couple in Italy went through a particularly tough term and could sense that their home church had stopped praying consistently for them. They later found out that during that specific 18-month period, the church became consumed in fighting about a doctrinal issue and ceased praying as fervently. It’s our great privilege to pray fervently for missions! We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What difference does prayer make for missions?


The issue of prayer is not God needing His people to plead with him enough to convince him to act. Rather, the issue is dependence. The quality of our prayer lives is directly proportional to how utterly unable we (and those engaged in missions) are bring about substantial advance for God's Kingdom. The more we depend on our skills and gifts, the less we depend on God. As Ray Ortlund has said, "Doing what we can on our own with our own brilliance and savvy is the exact opposite of what God can do." Missions is arguably the ultimate battle against powers and principalities rather than flesh and blood (Eph. 6.12). Prayer is the most critical weapon we bring to this battle. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What does it mean to be on a missionary's prayer team?


To serve on a missionary’s prayer team means committing to pray regularly (whether individually or with a group) for many aspects of the missionary’s life and ministry. Critical elements for which to pray for a missionary include :

  1. A healthy and growing love for God
  2. A great dependence on the power of the Gospel and Scripture to change lives; a decreasing trust in one’s gifts and strengths for ministry
  3. A healthy marriage, if married
  4. Godly parenting of children (if applicable)
  5. A ministry team that keeps short accounts of interpersonal problems by managing conflict through Matthew 18 guidelines
  6. An ability to recognize and engage in spiritual warfare
  7. Increasing ability in the local language and culture, resulting in presenting the Gospel in as indigenously effective a way as possible
  8. The boldness to sow the Gospel widely and frequently, among as much good soil (receptive hearers) as possible, resulting in God’s salvation of many
  9. A guard against discouragement and depression
  10. Connection to a person of peace who will provide gateways of opportunity and relationship for the team
  11. For the city/people group among whom the ministry is happening; for its receptivity and for a church planting movement to emerge
We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What information can I use to help me pray?


Many fine resources are available to help you pray intelligently and effectively. Just a few include : Operation World will help you pray for every nation in the world. Visit and sign up to receive a daily email. The Global Prayer Digest helps you pray daily for an unreached people group. Compass Direct provides current news items for prayer. Most mission agencies that work in places or among peoples that interest you provide information for prayer by web, email or mail. Many books, websites and email services provide updated prayer information for prayer for specific countries or regions. Examples include : Africa ( http://prayafrica.org/) Arabian Peninsula ( http://www.pray-ap.info/?) China (Operation China, available at amazon.com) Europe (http://prayeurope.com/) France ( http://www.prayforfrance.org/) Indonesia ( http://www.prayingforindonesia.com/) Kurds ( http://thekurds.net/) Muslims during the month of Ramadan ( http://www.30-days.net/) The 10/40 Window ( http://www.win1040.com/) The persecuted ( http://www.opendoorsusa.org/pray/) Somalia ( http://www.prayforsomalia.org/) Tunisia ( http://www.pray4tunisia.com/en.html) Yemen ( http://www.pray4yemen.com/) Google “Pray for (name of country)” and you will often find many prayer resources. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation




Is there a systematic way to pray for missionaries?


Many methods have been developed for systematically praying for missionaries. Most methods focus on prayer about seven key topics: 1. The missionary’s intimacy with God. As one pastor once said, “you can only give others what’s in the refrigerator.” If a missionary neglects intimacy with God at the expense of busy-ness in ministry, soon the missionary will have nothing of substance to give those he works among. Knowing God well is the starting point for any fruitful ministry. 2. The missionary’s character. Pray for a Christlikeness that proceeds not from human effort, but from a lifestyle of humility and repentance. Pray for his insight into his sin and an unwillingness to feed it and give it life. Pray that those around him will see Jesus. 3. The missionary’s family. The family unit is a prime object of attack by Satan. Effective missionaries have to return home often due to family members’ inability to adjust to the field, or illness that develops. Pray not only for missionaries’ families on the field, but also for their families back home who are sacrificing 4. The missionary’s team relationships. Studies show that most missionaries return home from the field due to conflict with other missionaries. Pray for missionaries to keep short accounts of anger, misunderstanding and frustration with fellow missionaries. Pray against Satan’s ability to work in such vulnerable circumstances. 5. The missionary’s spiritual warfare. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6.12, ESV) Missionaries are subject to personal spiritual attack, as are the many people around them who don’t know Christ. Pray against attacks by the enemy. 6. The missionary’s ministry. Pray for the missionary’s fluency in foreign language and culture; for wisdom in developing strategy and spending time with the optimal people on the field; for boldness in sharing the Gospel; and for careful and wise use of time. 7. Pray for the nation and people group the missionary serves. We often focus on praying for the missionary that we forget the lost people whom he serves. Pray passionately for the lost: their freedom from oppression and spiritual blindness, their understanding of the Gospel, and their willingness to forsake all to follow Christ. Pray not only for individuals’ salvation, but also for whole families and communities to come to Christ, and for church planting movements. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get others interested in prayer for missions?


A key to motivating people to pray for missions is meeting them at their level of interest and availability. Most people need to work up to a weekly hour-long prayer meeting or monthly three-house Concert of Prayer. Doug Christgau is a missions pastor who has successfully helped hundreds of people in his churches become a consistent prayer partners with missionaries. He starts by allowing people to define "consistent": daily, weekly or monthly. He provides prayer information based on the person's interest. Some are interested in a particular interests. For example a high school teacher finds it easy to pray for someone teaching missionary kids in Europe or Africa. Provide consistent, up-to-date information that doesn't require immense reading and is easily accessible (via email or secure website). When a core group of people is prepared to pray together consistently, define the prayer purpose of the group and determine a regular time to meet. Pray not only for missionaries, but also the unreached people among whom they work. Integrate worship, visual aids (such as maps) and video clips that will foster engaged prayer. Tools Together in Prayer (Andrew Wheeler, IVP; available on amazon.com) is a book that helps prayer groups avoid common mistakes that praying groups can make. Operation World will help you pray for every nation in the world. Visit and sign up to receive a daily email. The Global Prayer Digest helps you pray daily for an unreached people group. Visit . We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I influence my church to pray for missions?


Our culture, including our churches, is reticent to add more meetings and events to our schedules. One of the best ways to help a church begin praying for missions is by integrating it into situations where people are already praying. For example: Children's Sunday School classes are a great place to integrate prayer for missions. Provide teachers with a short, simple prayer point, written in kid-friendly ways, such as the THUMB prayer cards. Ask what adult small groups or Sunday School classes might be willing to pray for a nation or a missionary once a month of quarter to start. Ask your pastor if he might be willing to integrate missions into his pastoral prayer with some frequency. Propempo has promoted the idea of "Missions Advocates" for adult Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, each small group of a small group ministry, etc. A search for "missions advocates" on Propempo's site will yield several articles and resources. One of the key responsibilities of a Missions Advocate is to keep informed and remind people in their particular context to pray for the missionary or ministry for whom they are advocating. Pastors, teachers and small group leaders are busy people who are challeneged to prepare for their groups. You will need to regularly provide leaders with relevant and timely missions prayer requests. Hopefully consistent prayer opportunities will help a group emerge that wants specifically to pray for missions. When a core group of people is prepared to pray together consistenetly, define the prayer purpose of the group and determine a regular time to meet. Pray not only for missionaries, but also the unreached people among whom they work. Integrate workship, visual aids (such as maps) and video clips that will foster engaged prayer. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What biblical examples do we have for prayer for missions?


Here are but a few examples. In the Old Testament, we read prayers by the authors that God's name would be exalted among the nations, or declare that God will accomplish this as He has said. • At the dedication of the temple in I Kings 8, Solomon prays that if foreigners pray at the temple, God would hear their prayers, "in order that all the peoples of the earch may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name." (8.43) • "All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name." (ps.86.9, ESV) • "Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord and declare his praise in the coastlands. (Is. 42.10-12, ESV) In the New Testament, we began to read missionaries, particularly Paul, asking for churches’ prayer for the advance of the Gospel among the nations:Eph. 6.19: Paul asks for prayer for the ability to proclaim the Gospel boldly.Phil. 1.19: Paul says that he knows that the Philippian church is praying for him.Col. 4.3: Paul asks for prayer for open doors to proclaim the Gospel.Jn. 17.20-23: Jesus prays for the unity of his disciples across the span of history, “so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Share Your Faith

What is my biblical responsibility to share my faith?


Your biblical responsibility to share your faith includes: • Loving unbelievers to the extent of a reputation of being with sinners (Luke 7.34) • Maintaining a sufficient presence among unbelievers so that you can sow the Gospel liberally by asking penetrating questions and sharing the hope in you (Luke 2.46) • Being apologetically and spiritually prepared for questions and conversation about the Gospel (I Pet. 3.15) • Being willing to play your role in the evangelism process (I Cor. 3.6-8) • Asking God for open doors (Col. 4.3) • Acts 1:8 is often used as a missions text. But it is really a “witnessing” text. It states that we, as believers, ARE witnesses. It’s up to us, by God’s grace and enabling, to be faithful or not to our identity as followers of Christ and witnesses for Him. It is neither your ability nor your responsibility to convert people to faith in Christ. This is a sovereign work of God in a person’s life. ============================== It should be obvious to any Christian who has read the New Testament, that all believers are responsible to witness to others about Jesus Christ and His gospel. When Jesus gave the great commission in Matthew 28:19, the command was to the whole group of disciples to go and make disciples of all the nations. “Go and make disciples”. Those eleven disciples made up what would become the church, so the command is to the whole church. Some will be goers to another country or culture, and others will be senders, but all are to share their faith, as God gives opportunity, in our own culture or in another culture. When Jesus said, “make disciples of all nations” and then “teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you”, that includes the last command to make disciples. That is, after a person becomes a disciple, then they are also to obey Matthew 28:19 and seek to make disciples, which starts with evangelism and witnessing. These verses speak of personal responsibility to witness and share our faith: In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be My witnesses . . . “ I Peter 3:15 is a command to individual believers to always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is within you. Colossians 4:5-6 says that we are to conduct ourselves with wisdom with outsiders, unbelievers, and have our speech seasoned with salt – speak in a tasteful and kind way so as to make people thirsty for more! Jude 20-23 are commands for all believers, “keep yourselves in the love of God” and “save some, snatching them out of the fires (of hell), hating the sin (but loving the sinner). That is an intense description of evangelism! Romans 1:1-7 – Paul says he was called to be an apostle, and that the church at Rome is also called, which includes a call to salvation, to sanctification, and to serve in evangelism. In John 9, the man that was born blind is a good model of giving our testimony when we don’t know the answer to some questions. “all I know is that I was once blind, but now I see”. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 is also about how the fear of the Lord gripped the apostle the Paul to seek to persuade people about Christ and how the love of Christ controlled him to live for the Lord. We should also.




How does my sharing Christ help the cause of missions?


One cannot speak of missions “over there” without living it out by being willing to share their faith in their own culture first. When Jesus sent out His disciples in Matthew 10, it was a short-term training mission, as he said, “don’t go the way of the Gentiles, but only go to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). One cannot suddenly become a disciple-maker and evangelist by going overseas if that person has not been doing it in their own culture and language first. Jesus said they would eventually go to the Gentiles (Matthew 10:17; 28:19), but they needed to start in their own language and culture first. By sharing your faith first in your culture, you show that all people need the gospel and all are sinners and you are not “being radical” just for the sake of being radical. One must be willing to be an unknown servant and not romanticize being a missionary. Being faithful in the little things builds credibility for the cause of missions as you grow and reach out and listen to your church leaders. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do I develop skills at sharing the Gospel?


People’s giftedness in evangelism varies, but everyone can learn how to share the Gospel more effectively. Some possibilities for increasing your skill include : Study the Bible and notice how key evangelists such as Jesus, Paul and Peter shared the Gospel. How did they present the Gospel? With what kind of people did they frequently interact? (tax collectors, Jews, Gentiles, prostitutes, etc.) What questions did they ask? What stories did they tell? What facts about the Gospel did they deem important? Do you know someone who is gifted in evangelism? Ask them what they think is important about sharing the Gospel. Ask them if you might be present with them sometimes when they share the Gospel. Read and study. Many materials are available for purchase on the web (cf. amazon.com), such as: Out of the Salt Shaker (Becky Pippert) The Master Plan of Evangelism (Robert Coleman) Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (J.I. Packer) But most of all, engage in evangelism. Learn from your mistakes. Ask God to give you plenty of opportunities, and a gentle boldness. ======================================== The only way to develop those skills is by stepping out and doing it. Pray for opportunities and start simply. The most important skill is to know what the Bible teaches as a whole and use Scripture as you explain the gospel to people. If you have verses memorized, you can use them in speaking to others. If you know the word, you will be prepared to answer people’s questions. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it up front. You could say that you will do some more research on that issue and get back with the person. That gives you an opportunity to get together again and talk some more. Practice hospitality as the context for sharing your faith. From my own experience with reaching out to Muslims in the USA, the first thing I did was ask others who had already been reaching Muslims, how do you start? He told me to go down the major University in that city I lived in at the time, and there was a field on a certain day that lots of Muslims were playing soccer (the “true football”), and ask if you can join them. That was great for me because I loved soccer and played 5 years in high school. Sure enough, they accepted me and also later made some interesting comments that I was the first “white guy” that wanted to play soccer with them. Another method that I did to meet Muslims was to visit the local mosque in my area without announcing, just dropping in. When I made a phone call, they always avoided me and never called me back after I left a message. I remember just walking up to the mosque and meeting several Muslims and then it turned into a two or three hour discussion. Once I met a few Muslims and got their phone numbers, I was able to get into their lives more and have them over to our house and they invited me for coffee and meals at their homes. It was amazing. I also learned to ask questions about their language and history and poetry. I studied the issues of the Israel-Palestinian issue, becoming familiar with events. I asked how to say certain polite phrases in Arabic, like “thank you”, “hello”, etc. Later, I learned Farsi (also known as Persian), the language of Iran. I learned some of their poetry, and even learned how to cook some of their food (even after my wife was already really good at it.) I loved their food, language, culture of hospitality, and was not afraid to make mistakes (that is really important – they love it when you try hard and don’t give up and also when you say words funny or even say a bad word – it makes for a great time of laughing and fun. Learn to laugh at yourself and your own mistakes. I learned to appreciate the Muslim’s architecture, their music forms, their contributions to medicine and science, and over-all culture of hospitality and family values, even if there are some Muslims who are terrorists. We also need to not be afraid of people. They can sense that. All the Muslims I have ever met were amazed that I wanted to “just hang out” with them. That context gave me thousands of opportunities to share the gospel and answer apologetic type questions with them. These principles are transferable into other cultures also. In general, not just with Muslims, but with others, ask someone, “What do you think about God and Jesus and the Bible?” Get their opinion and go from there. The way I got started in College / University years was with a campus ministry that did outreach. We would set up a table and put up a C. S. Lewis quote or Francis Schaeffer quote to get people to think. It was usually intellectual or philosophical types that wanted to talk – Marxists, atheists, skeptics, liberals, homosexuals, etc. The “party animal” type person did not stop to talk. Anyway, I learned my initial evangelism there and also by door to door outreach through my local church. Read some good books and take a training course in Evangelism. Learning the material is helpful, but don’t be dogmatic about what method to use. But these training courses are good to give us some kind of structure on the main issues in sharing our faith and preaching the gospel to lost people. Another amazing thing that happened after I first met Muslims through soccer and going to the Mosque was when I went to Dearborn, Michigan in 1985 and New York City in 1986, and we went door to door. The missionaries who already had years of experience had already found all the Muslims’ addresses and so we went straight to them and knocked on their doors. When they opened the door, we said, “Salaam O Alaykum” (Peace be unto you). They loved that! They were amazed. They kept saying “We have lived in your country to 5 or 10 or 15 years and no one ever came to our door to wish us peace”. Usually, about 90 % of the time we would have a 2 hour conversation and they would invite us in for coffee, or hot tea and sweets, fruits, pistachios and other Middle Eastern snacks. Then, about 50 % of those times, the husband would turn to his wife and command her in Arabic to fix dinner and he would turn to me and say, “You must stay for dinner – we are having the best shish kebab, rice, and hot pita bread with hummus that you have ever tasted!” We visited Muslims all summer and it was a great experience. They love to talk about God and religion (and politics also), and they liked to argue a little when we got into issues like the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, the crucifixion and death and atonement of Jesus, original sin, salvation by grace alone through faith alone – but it was great. You have to not be afraid of tension and some argument. The Muslims would say to me: “Mr. Ken, thank you for being willing to talk. We are not angry we are just passionate about our religion. And you are passionate also. Thank for being honest about heaven and hell. We have never met any Christian before who was willing to defend their faith. We respect that.” and “Why don’t Christians defend their faith?” Three Training courses in Evangelism: 1. Evangelism Explosion (the book and course written by D. James Kennedy) 2. The Way of the Master (Ray Comfort) 3. Continuing Witnessing Training. (The name of the Southern Baptist Course I took in a baptist church around 1981-1983. It was basically the same content as Evangelism Explosion, but in a different format, as I recall.) Helpful books: 1. “Out of the Salt Shaker and Into the World” by Becky Pippert I read that book many years ago, so I cannot vouch for every detail of it anymore. But I remember that it helped me relax with people and be more personable at the beginning. Most people are turned off by a canned speech or a memorized “schpeel” one goes through. I also read the first 3 books below about 30 years ago – they helped me in Evangelism in being better prepared for questions that would come up. There are some things in them that I don’t agree with today, but overall they are good books. Use discernment. 2. How to Give Away Your Faith, by Paul Little 3. Know Why You Believe, Paul Little 4. Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis These two I have read more recently – The Case for Faith about 10 years ago. It is from an Evidential perspective and has good information in it. 5. The Case for Faith, Lee Strobel 6. Josh McDowell’s books, “More Than a Carpenter” and “The Evidence that Demands a Verdict” 7. Always Ready, by Greg Bahnsen This one I read about half the book, a couple of years ago and it basically says don’t be afraid to use the word of God in evangelism. (From a Presuppositional Apologetics point of view.) There is ongoing debate among Evangelicals about what is the best method of Apologetics to use with people. The Presuppositional Method says that we don’t let the other person judge God or the Bible, that we don’t give ground to them by trying to be neutral in our argumentation. Personally, I don’t think we can stop people from saying that or arguing that way. It says that God exists pre-suppositionally, and we don’t allow an atheist or agnostic to say, “there is no evidence that God exists”. How can anyone just stop someone from saying or thinking this? This method already presupposes that God, the Trinity exists and He has spoken in His word, and His word is sufficient for evangelism and that unregenerate people are in bondage to sin and they cannot understand unless the Spirit of God opens their heart and mind to understand. 8. Covenantal Apologetics by Scott Oliphant – I am reading this now (Sept. of 2013) and it is helping me understand the Presuppositional method better. Dr. Oliphant prefers the term, “Covenantal Apologetics” 9. 5 Views on Apologetics. 10. See also my earlier article here. (about the importance of combining sound apologetics with loving hospitality in our Evangelism.) —————————— We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Is the Gospel exclusive?


Christianity is the only religion in the world that claims that man is utterly incapable of doing anything to commend himself to God, and earn any merit in God’s site. Christianity is also the only religion in the world that points to a person—Jesus Christ—as being the only mediator between God and man. Every other religion in the world urges people to live as holy and beneficent a life as they can manage, and trust that being a mostly good person will be sufficient for their salvation. Clearly both positions cannot be true. Man cannot be simultaneously able and completely unable to do enough good works for a relationship with God. Jesus’ claims of being the only way to God are either true or false. In that sense, Christianity is exclusive. ============= Short answer: Yes, the gospel is exclusive. All people are sinners and already condemned. Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. John 3:18 – whoever does not believe in Christ is condemned already . . . John 14:6 – the solemn words of Jesus Himself. He is the way, the truth, and the life. The way the Greek article “the” is used, it means that He is the only way to be saved from sin; the only truth, the only life. No one can come to God the Father except through faith in Christ. Mark 9:48 – hell is real and eternal and painful. (see also Matthew 5:21-30; 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, Matthew 25; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 20:10-15) Acts 4:12 – there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. John 3:18 – the name of Jesus means His person and character; all that He is. Romans 10:13-15 – everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him in whom they have heard? And how can they hear about Him unless someone goes and preaches? And how can they go and preach unless they are sent? _____________________ We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I build my confidence in the Gospel?


Fortunately the Gospel needs neither our confidence for its power and effectiveness, nor our skill in telling it. Rom. 1.16-17 (ESV) tells us, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” In fact, the Greek word used for “power” in this passage is the root word for dynamite. The Bible contains several people who were asked by God to speak on his behalf, but who feared that their weaknesses would hinder the message. Or they feared what those who heard would do to them once they spoke the message. Examples include Moses (Ex. 4.1-17) Jeremiah (Jer. 1), and Jonah (Jon. 1-2). In each case God declared that He provided the power of speaking; that He was responsible for the results; and that His people needed only be faithful to do God’s request, and receive His empowerment. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What if I encounter objections?


Sooner or later you will encounter objections to the Gospel. Objections to Christianity and the claims of Christ come for varying reasons. Some people have objections because it’s attractive in our culture to seek but never find. To continue to raise objections can be a product of a person wanting to pick and choose elements from different faiths and craft their own customized set of beliefs. Other people who raise objections may not want to face the implications for their lives if Christianity is true. To continue to raise objections about issues that ultimately cannot be definitively decided apart from faith, this side of heaven (such as the philosophical problem of evil) puts off the need to confront Christianity’s ultimate claims on one’s life. Still other people have authentic objections and are seeking real answers. These are the people with whom it’s reasonable to interact about objections. I Pet. 3.15 urges us to be ready to give an account for the faith we have. Some Christians are philosophically and intellectually bent toward apologetic conversations with non-Christians. Such discussions would address topics such as “How do I know the Bible is reliable?”; “What does God do with people who have had no opportunity to hear the Gospel?”; and “How can I trust God when there’s so much suffering in the world?” You may not be one who is bent toward apologetics conversations, but it is appropriate to do some study to be prepared to give a reasonable answer to such questions. An easily readable book about apologetics would be More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell, who skeptically set out to prove that Christianity was false. Through his research he became convinced that Christianity is true. ================== Realize that we will always encounter objections. Get a good book that explains difficult passages of the bible and apparent contradictions. Atheists, skeptics, agnostics always bring objections. It is good to have one of the following books: Gleason Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties or Norman Geisler’s When Critics Ask and When Skeptics Ask on issues relating to Genesis and Creation and God as Creator: see http://www.answersingenesis.org Dr. James White of www.aomin.org has lots of information, articles, books, videos, debates on: Roman Catholicism Church History Reformed Theology Islam Mormonism Atheism Textual Variants issues – The King James Only Controversy is an excellent book. _______________ We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What if I encounter hostility?


Sooner or later you will encounter hostility when sharing your faith, as the message of the Gospel is by nature offensive. The Gospel declares that we are dead in our sin, and utterly incapable of doing anything that redeems ourselves in God’s eyes. Peter called Jesus “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense” (I Pet. 2.8, ESV). Assuming that we’ve presented the Gospel with humility and kindness, we need not fear others’ hostility, as it is not against us, but the person of Jesus. In fact, hostility indicates some level of spiritual sensitivity or interest, which is a better response than apathy. Other times when sharing your faith, you will encounter a positive reception, or a willingness to “hear you again about this.” (Acts 17.32) The key issue in sharing your faith, by God’s grace, is for Jesus and his claims to be the only offensive part of your Gospel presentation. We seek to be patient and kind in our words and tone. We seek to honor our friends’ current place on the path to Christ, and to not force any artificial response. We seek for our lives to align with our words, and to clearly exemplify the character of Jesus. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What if my spouse is unsaved?


If you are married to an unbeliever, undoubtedly you long for his or her relationship with Christ to begin. It’s appropriate to do all that is in your power to sow seeds toward that end. Nagging, arguing and begging are among the least effective means of grace! Scripture would commend several ways to till the ground for your spouse’s faith in Christ: Pray fervently for your spouse’s salvation, as the widow pled before the judge in Jesus’ parable in Luke 18.1-8. Demonstrate Christ through your lifestyle. Peter tells wives that their unbelieving husbands may be “won without a word” by their conduct (I Pet. 3.1). And while this command was given to wives, there is no reason it can’t apply as well to husbands’ behavior toward their wives. I Pet. 3.15 also commands us to be prepared to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Be prepared for spiritual discussions when your spouse is ready. Weave references to your faith into your natural conversation. Demonstrate contagious Christian community to your spouse by cultivating authentic friendships with other believers. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I develop a lifestyle of sharing Christ?


Winning souls for Christ is called wise in Prov. 11.30, therefore a desire to do that is wise as well! Effective lifestyle evangelism is most often a product of: A growing love for the Gospel. As we increasingly are amazed by the grace through which God pursued us, we will hunger for others to know it. And we will more likely talk about it more naturally, in a way that infuses our entire lives. Getting to know your neighbors. Ask them how you might pray for them. As you build bridges of friendship and trust, God will give you opportunity to share Christ with them. Using opportunities through your kids’ connections on sports teams, hobbies, Scouting, community clubs, etc. A growing love for the lost. If we have little concern for the lost, we will not sense any urgency to connect them with Christ. We need to ask God to give us such a love. We should also consider what stifles such a love for nonbelievers, such as excessive busy-ness, pursuit of the American Dream, or a life that revolves primarily around family. Intentionality. If you don’t naturally intersect with non-Christians consistently, you will have to be intentional about creating such intersections. (Examples would include if you are in ministry full time, or you work for a company that employs mostly Christians, or you are a stay-at-home mom whose days take place mostly at home and out on errands.The key to intentionality is not to add more events to your schedule, but to be more intentional with unbelievers in what you are already doing. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get others involved in sharing the Gospel?


Model. Invite people along with you to the settings where you share your faith with non-Christians. • Train others. Lead a small group in a study about sharing the Gospel. Potential tools include : Classics such as Becky Pippert’s Out of the Salt Shaker and Jim Peterson’s Living Proof are still gold standards for personal evangelism, available through web portals such as Amazon.com. Willow Creek’s Becoming a Contagious Christian and Just Walk Across the Room are both books and DVD series that have trained many in intentional relational evangelism. Bothe are available through web portals such as Amazon.com. Deploy others. If a sufficient number of people are ready to take next steps in evangelism, developing missional communities (MCs) is one of the most effective current ways to accomplish that. MCs bring together people who are already friends, or who all have a passion for sharing the Gospel among a local group, such as a neighborhood, college students at the local university, or local Kurdish refugees. A simple model for a missional community is Austin Stone Community Church’s 3-2-1 model, where members of the community commit to weekly spending at l east three hours alone with God, two hours with an unbeliever who is part of the group that the MC is trying to reach, and one hour of prayer for the people group you’re trying to reach. The group typically meets together once every 1-4 weeks to pray, study scripture and encourage each other. Resources for Missional Community The Verge Conference is a conference held annually in March in Austin, and brings together many churches and leaders who are using the missional community model in their churches. Gather friends to go together; or, if this is not possible, access past Verge Conference videos free online, and discuss them. Mike Breen’s blog and book Launching Missional Communities (available at amazon.com) are tremendous resources for MC’s. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get my church more involved in evangelism?


The answer to this question depends on your level of influence in your church. If you are a member or attender who does not hold a leadership position with formal influence, at this point your most effective avenue is to mobilize others for evangelism as described in How can I get others involved in sharing the Gospel?. Be encouraged by the fact that often you can make the most impact in a Daniel-type capacity. Daniel had no official position, but was personally respected and had much influence without a committee membership or staff position! If you are a recognized leader in your church charged with helping develop its vision and strategy, or you have influence with recognized leaders, getting your church substantially involved in evangelism is more an issue that relates to the wider life and ministry philosophy of your church. It is tempting for church leaders merely to adopt an evangelism program, offer training, and appendage evangelism on to your church as a program for those who are interested in it. While this approach is better than nothing, it does not address the fact that our culture has drastically changed, and the typical American church must reformat much of how it is structured and operates before the church will see people coming to Christ through its ministry. Indeed, at the heart of the issue is how your church disciples its people. A more canned, programmatic approach to evangelism also neglects the Biblical mandate that evangelism is everyone’s responsibility. If your leaders are uncertain where to start in thinking through these issues, resources such as the following are available: Explore God is an example of the efforts of 370+ churches in the Austin, TX area to work together to share the Gospel vigorously in their city. Tim Keller’s Center Church is fast becoming a gold standard for churches thinking through and re-structuring their ministries for maximal disciplemaking and evangelistic impact in their cities. Available at amazon.com and similar web portals. Mark Mittleberg’s Becoming a Contagious Church helps church leaders consider the foundational conditions necessary for the entire church to be effective in evangelism. Available at amazon.com and similar web portals. The Navigators’ Church Discipleship Ministries arm will work with your church to consider how to move your church toward a greater disciplemaking purpose, which includes the church’s evangelistic outreach. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What do I do with new believers?


Should God grant you the joy of leading someone to new faith in Christ, the new believer needs some initial help in walking with Christ. In some cases, you may not be the ideal person to help the new believer. Perhaps you don’t live anywhere near the person. Perhaps a church that the person begins attending has a great process for discipling new believers, and to allow the church to play that role will help that person integrate into a church most easily. If you are the person best suited to give a new believer initial help in walking with Christ, there are a few basic issues in which he or she should become grounded. They might include : • The importance of taking up one’s cross daily and following Christ. (Luke 9:23) • The importance and meaning of water baptism. • How grace and repentance continue to play roles in our lives after conversion • How to pray • How to study the Bible • The importance of being a member of a local church and submission to church leadership; and regular worshipping at a local church where one is a committed member. • How to begin sharing your faith with others even now • God’s grip on our lives: we cannot lose our salvation An example of a classic guide for discipling a new believer is the Navigators’ Design For Discipleship, volume 1: Your Life in Christ. However, it is tempting to believe that simply intellectually working through lessons in a book means that the new believer is grounded. Working through a book can be good, but discipleship means working with someone until these sorts of issues above become habits, skills and convictions. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Support

What does it mean to support missions?


Just as a deep-sea diver needs a crew in a boat overhead feeding him oxygen and monitoring his safety, so missionaries need helpers back home who enable them to healthily stay on the field. To support missions involves sacrificial disciplines of giving, praying and serving for the advancement of the Great Commission. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What is a "sender"?


A sender is a Christian who is committed to personal involvement in world missions. He or she has determined that his/her optimal role is to remain at home and provide resources of time, treasure and talent that will help missionaries on the field thrive. Often a sender has made a commitment to a particular missionary, ministry, nation or people group. A “sender” is also a “World Christian”: “A World Christian is a disciple for whom Christ’s global cause has become the integrating overarching standard, affecting his/her values, perspectives, and life decisions.” Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Serving as Senders




Are there "senders" in the Bible?


The importance of sending is mentioned by Paul in Rom. 10:14-15, when he wrote, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (ESV) Examples of senders in the Bible include : The church at Antioch, which became the first sending church in Acts 13.1-3 when they set apart the first missionary team. The church at Philippi, to whom Paul refers as “partners in the Gospel” (1.5). Their support has included prayer (1.19), personal concern for him and his team (2.19-30; 4.10, 14), work alongside Paul (4.2), and financial and material support (4.14-18). Gaius, urged in 3 Jn. 6-8 to “support people like [those who] have gone out for the sake of the name, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I become a supporter or sender?


If God is calling you to support or send, He wants to connect you to the people and organizations with which you are primed to partner. Begin by asking God what your specific supporting or sending role might look like. • What resources are you best able to give: time, skills, finances, etc.? • Do you need to research options? • Is God leading you to join a specific group of other supporters/senders (such as a group of Phoenix businessmen who together decided to give a mission agency the funds for a new headquarters building)? • About what missions endeavors are you passionate? • Are there any hurdles you need to get past before beginning to support or send? Do you need to get out of debt to free up finances? Do you need to eliminate some responsibilities so that your time is freed up give your skills to serve a missionary or organization? Your next step is to work past those hurdles. Once the answers to these questions are clear, your specific involvement should become clear and you are free to start supporting or sending. The gold standard resource for sending missionaries well is the book Serving as Senders. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How important are "senders"?


Senders are vitally important to the effectiveness of world missions. At a minimum they provide the funding necessary to keep missionaries on the field. Effective senders also exponentially make a difference in missionaries’ quality of life that enhances their effectiveness. Some actual examples of senders’ ministries include : • Giving missionaries who are back home usage of a timeshare that allows for some well-deserved vacation. • Providing new clothing for missionaries returning home to a different climate and level of formality. • Debriefing children of missionaries before re-entry on current culture and music so that they will not appear out of touch with peers. • Sending packages of treats or important staples that are not available locally on the field. • Serving as an advocate for the missionary in the home church, assuring that others are mobilized to pray, and supplying up to date information for intelligent praying. • For pre-field missionaries close to leaving for the field, helping prepare their home for rental, providing childcare while missionaries wrap up last minute business, and helping them raise support through garage sales and other events. • One southern California church periodically sends a women’s ministry team to Europe to care for their missionaries in Europe and North Africa. They offer a free 10 day retreat for their regional women missionaries where women are showered with gifts and beauty makeovers; they hear a speaker teaches about issues relevant to thriving on the field; they go on a shopping trip and day of touring in a nearby city; and they receive private counseling as needed. If your primary niche in missions is sending, know that God can use you in many ways to significantly impact world missions. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Serving as Senders




What does a sender do?


Senders serve in a variety of creative ways, including giving financial support, visiting on the field, mailing care packages and birthday greetings, and providing or paying for services for missionaries while back home (dental visits, vacations, car repairs, financial consulting, etc.). Neil Pirolo in his defining book on senders’ roles, Serving As Senders, poses six areas in which senders help missionaries: • Moral support (encouragement) • Logistics support (shipping, transportation, housing) • Financial support (fund-raising, partnership developing/maintaining) • Prayer support • Communication support (basic communication, prayer letters/emails) • Re-entry support (“furlough,” and ultimate re-settling back home) We would add three other possible areas of concern: • Children’s education • Technology • Security & contingency You may be unsure about your role in general. Being a “Sender” is a crucial and exciting role, being a critical part of what God is doing around the world. If you are feeling unsure or unfulfilled in your direction, you might take some time for prayerful self-examination as described in this article, entitled, “What is God’s Purpose for Your Life and How to Find It.” We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What describes a good supporter or sender?


A supporter generally refers to someone who gives financially so that someone is freed up for the propagation of the Gospel. A good supporter not only gives regularly from his/her regular income, but also thinks of creative, sacrificial ways to give above and beyond normal means. For example, a supporter may give up going out to eat twice a month so that she can send those funds to support a child in poverty on another continent. Or a supporter who is ready to buy a new car may give his gently used car to a church to lend to its missionaries when they’re back home. A sender refers to giving financially, but the term also infers someone who is relationally well connected to a person or organization. So in addition to the type of material giving we’ve described that supporters do, a sender also gives time, services and care. For example, a sender who is a dentist may give all his church’s missionaries free dental care when they return home. Or a sending family may mail a box of dorm room start-up supplies to a missionary couple’s daughter who has just moved back to the US to start college. That same family might pay to fly the daughter back home to her parents on the field for a holiday, or might fly the daughter to their own home for the holidays. In short, a good supporter or sender is regularly considering how to release resources so that missionaries can stay healthy and effective on the field. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What or who should I support?


A supporter typically gives most generously and authentically to a person or type of ministry about whose ministry the supporter is passionate. As examples: • A person who significantly impacted your walk with Christ decides to serve as a disciplemaker in Europe. You are eager for this person to make the same kind of impact in Austria as he has had in your life. • One of your best friends is a Muslim international student. You long for him to come to Christ and are enthused about a ministry that reaches Muslim international students. In short, you’ll most faithfully support people and organizations: • Whom you’ve observed in effective ministry. • Who minister to types of people and places about which you’re passionate. • Who are involved in types of ministry about which you’re passionate, such as Biblical teaching, relief and development, or discipleship. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Are there causes or people I should avoid supporting?


We’d suggest that the following people and organizations are never worthy of your missions support: • Outreaches that do not seek to share the Gospel in any way. They function purely as humanitarian, relief, social development and social justice organizations. • Outreaches that do not subscribe to orthodox Christian theology. Sample orthodox doctrinal statements would include the Apostles’ Creed or the Lausanne Covenant. Your personal theological convictions may lead you to develop stricter doctrinal standards within evangelical Christianity. • Outreaches that lack complete transparency about their income, how they spend money, their standards of accountability, and who leads them. Beyond such non-negotiable standards, we’d encourage you to consider these standards: • Are disciplemaking and church planting the ultimate tasks of the ministry? This is the essence of the Great Commission. • Does the ministry work in places that are more or less reached with the Gospel? • Does the ministry actively partner with national churches and leaders? We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What guidelines should I follow as a supporter or sender?


We apologize that this content section of the “Personal Involvement” book in the “Support” chapter has not yet been posted. Please visit this page again at a later date. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I form a group of senders for a missionary?


The optimal members of a sending team are people who substantially know the missionary, are passionate about his/her ministry, and believe that their most effective role in missions is that of sending. In fact, an increasing number of churches are requiring that all “home-grown” missionaries assemble a sending team before leaving the country. This insures that the team is comprised of close friends who need not be goaded into sending the missionary. Other ideal sending team members have specific skills for providing the care and support that a missionary needs. For example, if the missionary would prefer not to be creating and sending emails to supporters from within a closed country, someone with talents in writing, graphic design or secure website development would be an ideal sending team member. Once such a team is assembled, it is important to clarify requirements for being on the team, through job descriptions. How often will the team meet, and what will happen at team meetings? What do team members do between team meetings? What specific roles will each team member play? (cf. , prayer coordinator, communications coordinator, etc.) Finally, train the team. While training should not be burdensome, at team meetings the team could occasionally read and discuss web stories or books such as Serving as Senders, and discuss what best practices the team could begin.




What should a "sending team" do?


An effective sending team does many if not all of these types of tasks: • Prays consistently both for the missionary as well as the unreached people he/she works among. • Communicates regularly with encouragement, news from home, and requests for information that will fuel specific, effective prayer. • Financially supports the missionary. • Cares for the missionary on the field by sending gifts and visiting on the field, if possible, to provide counseling, childcare, or encouragement. • Cares for the missionary when he/she is back home. Examples would include loaning a car, securing housing, or giving access to resources for rest and recuperation, such as frequent flyer miles, timeshares, or counseling. Care might also include providing services for free such as financial planning or dental work. • As requested by the missionary, assists in the ministry on the field, both from a distance and on the field. As an example of assistance from home, the team may attend networking conferences in the US organized to advance the Gospel in the nation of the missionary’s work. As an actual example of assistance on the field, a church might send a team to teach a course on auto mechanics or carpentry in a technical school led by a missionary in a closed country. Neil Pirolo’s defining book on senders’ roles, Serving As Senders, poses six areas in which senders help missionaries: • moral support (encouragement) • logistics support (shipping, transportation, housing) • financial support (fund-raising, partnership developing/maintaining) • prayer support • communication support (basic communication, prayer letters/emails) • re-entry support (“furlough,” and ultimate re-settling back home) We would add three other possible areas of concern: • children’s education • technology • security & contingency We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I become a more effective sender?





What changes are needed for me to become a committed sender?


Committed senders are looking for ways to free up more resources, and to serve missions more sacrificially and creatively. Here are some strategic questions to help you increase your sending effectiveness.
• Is debt or other personal spending habits holding me back from giving freely? How can I systematically eliminate debt or free up more finances? • Is busyness robbing me of time that could be freed up for sending? What changes could I make in my use of free time and commitments? • Is a group of people already working to help send the missionary or organization I serve? Could I multiply my effectiveness by partnering with that group? • What might I research or learn or read that could better inform me or stimulate creativity in me for better sending? Pray consistently for God to give you wisdom, creativity, and connections with others that might boost your sending effectiveness. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can a sending team help our church in missions?


A sending team is an invaluable aid to a local church’s missions ministry. This is most true when the sending team is comprised of people who have known and been committed to the missionary long before he/she left. Some churches ask Sunday School classes and small groups “adopt” missionaries, but often such classes and groups do not know the missionary well, and are not passionate about serving as senders. The sending team, when led well, provides a proactive champion for a church’s missionary. It ensures a regular stream of prayer and care for the missionary, and a regular flow of communication back to the church. The presence of an effective sending team does not release the rest of the church from serving as senders. On the contrary, if the sending team is doing its job, it is finding creative ways to mobilize as many in the church as possible to take part in sending. As a result, another benefit to the church is the mobilization of more people to play their roles in missions through sending. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Go Short Term

What is "Short Term Missions" (STM)?


Short-term missions is defined in many different ways, but commonly refers to trips lasting between one and eight weeks. Usually involving overseas assignments, they may also occur in the United States, particularly in cross-cultural settings. Such trips originate through local churches and mission sending agencies. Participants are usually required to apply for service, and pay or raise the costs. Short-term trips most frequently include learning about the language and culture of the host country, and performing humanitarian ministries (e.g., construction, painting, medical care, teaching English, running programs for children, etc.) that assist long-term missionaries in some way. American short-term trips have become a $2 billion industry annually, with 1.5 million people going on trips annually. Two-thirds of the trips last two or less weeks.[1] Recently the effectiveness and financial stewardship of such trips has become a topic of debate. [1] http://www.missiondiscovery.org/researchers-weigh-value-short-term-missions Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission: The God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries




What are the Pros and Cons of STM?


Short-term missions assuredly has both pros and cons. Your experience will be greatly determined by making careful choices in light of the following: Advantages include… • STM helps people to make intelligent decisions about future service, including place of service, mission agency, field leaders and type of ministry. • STM can accomplish tasks that help long-term teams achieve even greater effectiveness. For example, one missionary business in the Middle East claimed a unique niche by providing the only business consultation and English training by Americans. Churches sent seasoned business people to do ten days of business training, which earned clients and kept the team on the field. • STM provides a laboratory for observing potential future missionaries in action. • The vast majority of missionaries who go to the field long-term today have first gone on an STM. STM’s are an invaluable recruiting tool. Disadvantages include… • STM can cost significant money that might be better used to employ nationals or be used by the team on the field. • STM participants, if immature or untrained, can make mistakes that destroy trust and set back the long-termers’ progress. • STM trips can create dependency. For example, one US denomination offers to send men’s teams to roof newly built churches in an African country. Churches in this country no longer finish their churches. • STM’ers can believe that an occasional trip completes their contribution to missions. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself




How does STM relate to long-term missions?


Sadly, many trips have minimal connection to long-term missions, except for orienting possible future missionaries and exposing them to another culture. Both of these objectives can also be accomplished in trips designed for long-term missions impact. In deciding on a short-term trip, choose in favor of trips that will make a tangible contribution to long-term church planting in some way. Short-term missions trips impact long-term missions in the following ways: The short-termer: • May return to the field as a long-term worker. • Becomes a resource for sending and debriefing future short-termers from his church. • May become an advocate back home for the long-term ministry he visited, by recruiting future workers, giving or raising money, caring for the long-term missionaries, and mobilizing prayer. While on the field, the short-termer can accomplish the following for long-termers: • Provides care for long-term workers, thus helping them to continue effectively (cf., a pastor who counsels a couple about their marriage). • Accomplishes a task that would risk long-termers’ expulsion (cf. mass distributing Jesus Film DVDs in bicycle baskets in China). •Accomplishes a task that enables the long-term workers to be more effective. (cf., if a missionary’s business on the field provides business consulting or English for business, key business people could travel to the field for two weeks and provide these services.) We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How does STM relate to my church missions ministries?


The wise local church has clearly considered short-term missions’ potential benefits and shortcomings. If it sends short-termers, it does so likely for the following reasons: • Short-term missions is part of a larger process of discipling its people as “world Christians.” • Short-term missions is a strategy for raising up long-term missionaries, and others who will mobilize and send them well. • Short–term missions directly serves the church’s long-term missions strategy, and its long-term workers’ field strategies. • Short-term missions allows people who will not serve long-term, to bless the nations with their skills and gifts. Poor reasons for a local church to engage in short-term missions include the following: • Exclusively accomplishing its missions ministry through short-term missions. • Reactively channeling money to short-termer workers who request it. • Seeking to engage in trendy ministry. • Accomplishing humanitarian work with little or no proclamation of the Gospel. We would strongly encourage the purpose and design of a Short Term Missions trip to create a win-win-win situation: win – the participants are well trained and discipled; win – the hosts on the field are blessed and encouraged, not simply used and exhausted; win – the recipients of the STM ministry gain some value-added ministry result that probably would not have occurred without the STM ministry. See agreed-upon criteria for excellent short-term trips at http://www.soe.org/. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Why should I get involved in STM?


Not everyone should serve on a short-term trip, but many should. Several good reasons for getting involved in excellent short-term missions include : • A well-designed short-term trip can play a significant part in helping a team of missionaries achieve its long-term church planting goals. • Your unique skills can be an important part of helping a short-term team succeed. • Regardless of what role you eventually play in missions (goer, sender, welcome, mobilizer, etc.), you will catch a glimpse of life in a country that will teach you about how God is working in the world. • A short-term trip may confirm where God wants you to return long-term. • A short-term trip may clarify that going to the field should not be your long-term role in missions. • A short-term trip should increase your commitment to living a World Christian lifestyle back home. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission: The God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries




Who is qualified to go on STM? (and who is NOT?)


Different churches have established varying criteria for appropriate short-term missions team participants. For example, some churches insist that any short-termers be mature Christians who are equipped to share their faith. Other churches are willing to allow non-Christians as team members, viewing it as part of their pre-Christian discipleship. Churches should set clear criteria for appropriate qualifications for short-term participants. Questions to consider: who is an appropriate short-termer? • What is the purpose of the trip? Does the purpose require that one be a Christian or be able to share one’s faith? • Will the team serve in a security-sensitive place that will require maturity and discretion? Seeming minimal guidelines for any short-termer would include : • As healthy a spiritual life as is necessary to accomplish the purpose of the trip. • Demonstration of a willingness to serve however asked in one’s current context. • No current angst or upheaval in one’s personal life. C.f., a teenager in current rebellion against her parents will likely rebel against trip leaders. • Old enough to benefit rather than hinder the team’s daily life and ministry. • Flexibility. • The posture of a learner. • The skills necessary to carry out the tasks of the team. Additional guidelines might include : • Demonstrated interest and participation in local cross-cultural ministry. • Willingness and/or desire to serve long-term, should God lead. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do I select a STM opportunity?


Your optimal short-term missions opportunity will align with as many possible of following short-term trip quality benchmarks as possible: • The trip offers excellent pre-field, on-field, and post-field training. • Those with whom the short-termers will work on the field have actively requested short-termers to come. The trip has not been forced upon field workers by a mission agency’s home office. • The trip will perform ministry that as much as possible directly contributes to fostering church planting movements. • The trip works among as least-reached people as possible. • Where a national local church exists, the trip seeks to serve and accomplish ministry through the local church. • The trip will neither foster financial dependence on the field, nor introduce ministries that cannot be duplicated or sustained by the national church. • The trip will not replace employment opportunities for local nationals. • The trip’s cost aligns as economically as possible with the trip’s purpose. For example, if the trip seeks generally to evangelize Yemenis, this can be accomplished in Dearborn, MI. If the trip seeks to provide upgraded IT capacity for a technology training school in Yemen, run by missionaries, the trip must occur in Yemen. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How is STM financed?


We apologize that this content section of the “Personal Involvement” book in the “Go Short Term” chapter has not yet been posted. Please visit this page again at a later date. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Is STM a waste of money, time, and human resources?


Recent discussions questioning the validity and effectiveness of short-term missions have centered on issues such as: Is STM a wise stewardship of funds that could be used in other ways? How distinctly Gospel-driven are many of the humanitarian project trips that we increasingly send? Are0 churches truly being planted because of such trips? One missions pastor in Indianapolis is receiving an increasing number of short-term applications for funds, for trips with secular organizations that have no intentions of presenting the Gospel. Would it be more effective and efficient to send short-term trips to cross-cultural sites in the US? Here are but a few articles discussing the pros and cons of short-term missions: Short-Term Missions: Is the Price Tag Worth It? Are Short-Term Missions Trips Worth The Trouble? Re-Thinking the $3,000 Missions Trip Short-Term Missions: Are They Worth The Cost? In Praise of Short-Term Missions
Churches Re-Tool Mission Trips Short-term missions trips can be either a waste or an effective use of money, time, and human resources. The answer depends upon several factors. Does the project have clear goals? Do all parties involved understand the purposes of the trip and how they will be accomplished? Are the right people participating? Are field missionaries receiving the team eager to do so? Does the team have a qualified leader? Are team members qualified and eager to learn and serve, or are they anticipating a vacation? Do the team’s skills match the needs of the field? Will the sending church, short-term team, mission agency and field all benefit from the trip? Will the team receive appropriate training, before, during and after the trip? Will the trip avoid typical pitfalls such as creating financial dependence? Assuming roles that nationals can, should or need to play? While anticipated results depend on God, do they align with God’s heart as revealed in scripture? • I s the trip a good stewardship of funds? Or might giving the cost of the trip to the field be a greater benefit? We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission: The God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries




How should we prepare for a STM trip?


Whether your church is sending its own team, or sending individuals through mission agencies, pre-trip training should prepare those going in the following areas: 1. Spiritual. Pray together as a group. Learn about what spiritual challenges you may face on the field, such as engaging in spiritual warfare, processing extreme poverty you’ll see, maintaining a walk with God while on the field, etc. 2. Travel plans. Cover what paperwork is necessary, when it’s due, and what are the deadlines for passports, plane tickets, immunizations, etc. What should you (not) bring, and how should you pack? How will the team move together in transit to the field (staying together, what to do if someone gets lost, etc.) 3. Culture. What do you need to know about the host culture—basic language, food, religion, standards of modesty, men/women relationships, what is culturally rude or taboo, etc.? 4. Ministry. You should be prepared to share your testimony, in brief and longer formats. If your team is going to sing or perform drama, rehearse and go prepared. If your team is going to do construction, pull out all the tools at one meeting and explain how to use them. 5. Fundraising. How will you raise support, and what are the deadlines? Will you raise support as individuals or as a team? Can you approach individuals in the congregation if the church is giving you money? Resources for short-term trip preparation Dearborn, Tim, Short-Term Missions Workbook. Elmer, Duane, Cross-Cultural Servanthood. Livermore, David, Serving With Eyes Wide Open. Ragan, Larry, Help! I’m Going on a Short-term Trip is a multi-week training event. Having taken the training is strongly suggested before one leads it. The website also shows where Culture Linc is offering the training around the country. http://www.culturelinkinc.org/ The Essential Guide to the Short Term Mission Trip Before You Pack Your Bag, Prepare Your Heart We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What do we do when we come back from a STM trip?


Post-trip debriefing makes the difference between the trip being a life-changing experience, or a mere memory (whether good or bad). Debriefing seeks to help short-termers to: • Process what they saw and learned while on the field • Decide what next steps are best for continuing their participation in God’s global mission • Give feedback as to how future trips should be run, what mission agencies are good and poor future partners, etc. Short-term debriefing specialists agree with the above key goals for debriefing, but vary in how and where debriefing should occur: • In the country of service or back home • Written or verbal • Individual or group • Duration of debriefing Here’s a list of ten solid questions to use in debriefing short-termers, adapted from questions from Tim Dearborn and David Livermore: 1. What did I learn about myself on my short-term mission? 2. What did I learn about God? 3. What did I learn about the people, the church, and the Christian community in the area where I served?
4. What did I learn about how culture impacts the ways people live and understand the Gospel? 5. What did I learn about justice, economics, poverty, and politics during my short-term mission? 6. As a follower of Christ, what did I learn that can help me be a more fully devoted disciple? 7.How might my faith be different if I had grown up where I was serving, as opposed to in my home community? 8. What did I learn or experience that will change the way I live and represent Jesus in my home community and church? 9. What have I learned about my own Christian calling? 10. How can I continue to support the ongoing work in the area where I served? A qualified leader who has substantial short-term missions experience and has successfully mentored returning short-termers should lead debriefing ideally. Most churches that have sent short-termers will ask for a report when they return. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. The Essential Guide to the Short Term Mission Trip




How can we transfer all the benefits of the STM to the church?


A short-term missions trip ideally impacts not only those who go, but also the church that sent the team. To maximize a trip’s impact in the life of the church will require some advance planning. Here are some avenues for helping a sending church fully benefit from a short-term trip it sent: The team should report on the trip as widely as possible, not merely at the worship service. Send team members to classes and small groups open to hearing from the team. Post information through the website, blogs and emails as appropriate, while judiciously reporting on security sensitive details. The team should report about the trip creatively, not just verbally. When possible, include media, sounds, food, games and clothing from the host culture. Include host culture games and toys for kids. Develop an advocacy group for the people group/area where your team went. Such a group would continue to disperse prayer items, and might be the group that recruits and screens future workers to the area. Debrief team members for feedback on improving any future trips to the area. Is a repeat trip a good idea? How could the sending process be improved? Should the purpose and goals of future trips be changed or refined? Should future teams work with the same host team and mission agency in the future? Call or Skype the field a few weeks or months later and ask the hosts about the ongoing impact of the last team. This could be used as part of recruiting the next team. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How often should I go on a STM?


Stewardship of time and money calls us to ask this appropriate question. Some people return to their favorite short-term site frequently to continue ministry in an ongoing way. Others like to serve on a wide sampling of short-term trips around the world. Here are some suggestions for how to determine whether or not to serve on your next potential short-term trip. Go on the trip if… • You are seeking a first-time exposure to a new culture, or to learn what God is doing around the world. • You are considering serving longer-term at the site of the trip. Return to the same site if… • You’re serving as a leader of the trip. • You provide a unique and necessary service to the team that will go unfilled if you don’t go. • The trip is accomplishing the next stage of an ongoing partnership. (C.f., don’t go to continue construction on the same Mexican church building.) Go to a new location if… • You are considering serving longer-term at the site of the trip. • You provide a unique and necessary service to the team that will go unfilled if you don’t go. Don’t go on the trip if… You simply like going back to the same place. If God is calling you to impact a particular place from a distance, move into a role of greater impact, such as mobilizing others to go, leading teams, getting involved in a regional advocacy network for a people group, etc. You view short-term involvement as a replacement for longer-term involvement to which God is calling you. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Reach Internationals

What is "welcoming"?


Welcoming is the process of intentionally extending love, service and hospitality to the foreign-born immigrants, refugees and international students God has sovereignly placed in our midst. Some come temporarily; others settle in the US permanently. Many Americans fear overcoming language and culture hurdles, and never engage with these folks. Others are simply afraid of people different than they. As such, many of these new residents and guests never develop a relationship of depth with an American. Most foreign students and immigrants have never had the opportunity to develop a friendship with a Bible-believing Christian. Even living in the United States, most of them will never see the inside of an American Christian home. Most of them don’t really know the Christian meaning and roots behind national observance of Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. English tutoring, community orientation, legal immigration advocacy and assistance are all big areas of need. Foreigners really appreciate extension of “welcome” and aid in just finding out things we take for granted: Where are the best grocery stores? How can I get my car fixed reliably? Where do I go to get medical help? Regular checkups? How do I get a library card? Drivers license? What are reasonable and secure banking services? Helping (or not helping!) our foreign visitors, friends, students, and immigrants can leave an indelible impression for the sake of the Gospel and the cause of Christ. Students, especially, will go back to their home country and become leaders in government and industry. Lovingly sharing life and the Gospel with them here can have huge dividends in potentially reaching into their home cultures, without you ever leaving home. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Why is "welcoming" important or strategic?


Welcoming is one of the most strategic avenues for personal involvement in missions. The Old Testament is full of commands for Israel to love the foreigners in their midst and treat them with kindness and justice. Such treatment is commended as a way that God’s glory will be extended to the nations. (Lev. 23.22; Deut. 27.19; Ex. 22.21; Ex. 23.9; 2 Chr. 6.32-33; I Kings 8.41-43; et. al.) Refugees, international students and immigrants frequently come from countries where it is difficult to acquire a visa for entry and stay long-term. This makes a consistent witness difficult. • These guests in our midst often return home to visit relatives, or re-assume residence. If they return home with a faith in Christ, new churches may begin in their countries of origin. Ministry to internationals does not require completely learning a new language. Our guests already speak sufficient conversational English, or are eager to learn English in order to thrive in the US. Substantial numbers of internationals are accessible in the United States, many from nations difficult to access by many westerners. The US is host to 262,000 refugees, with most refugees coming from such “closed” nations as Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.[1] More than 700,000 international students study in the US currently, with most coming from China and Saudi Arabia.[2] Many international students in the US have been sent by their nations because they are anticipated to assume influential positions in government and business when they return. By welcoming, we are influencing future national influencers. See such a list of government leaders here. [1]http://unhcr.org/globaltrendsjune2013/UNHCR%20GLOBAL%20TRENDS%202012_V05.pdf [2] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/12/record-number-of-international-students-enrolled-in-colleges/1698531/ We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Why should I get involved in welcoming?


Apart from the strategic reasons already described at Why is “welcoming” important or strategic?, several personal reasons may encourage your involvement as a welcomer. You may find outreach to internationals easier than same-culture outreach. Internationals are eager to learn English and learn about American culture. Most come from cultures that don’t consider discussions about faith to be offensive; indeed, to not discuss one’s faith would be considered odd. If you have children, bringing them along in a welcoming ministry models a missional family for them, and helps them feel comfortable around people of different cultures. It’s also a great way to teach your children about other nations’ languages and cultures. Ministry as a welcomer is perhaps the best possible training for future short-term and long-term cross-cultural ministry. Your church can send you more confidently when it has seen you proactively and fruitfully minister to internationals locally. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What does it take for me to become a "welcomer"?


Get involved! If your church does not offer ministry to refugees, international students or immigrants, some other possible avenues for engaging internationals include the following: Some campus ministries have international student specialists who seek to mobilize local churches for ministry. Examples would include IFace , ISI , InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Reformed University Ministries. Crescent Project helps Americans form Outreach Groups to reach Muslims locally. Go to such organizations’ websites to find contact information, and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Several organizations help re-settle refugees in the US. Examples would include World Relief and Catholic Relief Services. Go to such organizations’ websites to find contact information, and inquire about volunteer opportunities. Where do concentrations of internationals live in your city? Begin to shop and eat out in those neighborhoods. Find a “third place” such as a coffee house in such neighborhoods to meet friends or work on your laptop. Begin conversations as appropriate with those who work there. Do you know of nearby missions-minded churches located downtown or near universities? These churches may offer avenues for your personal involvement with internationals. Large urban community colleges are frequent, inexpensive starting places for refugees to learn ESL. Contact the international student department at the local community college and inquire about opportunities for working with ESL students as a tutor or conversation partner. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I become a better welcomer?


• One of the best ways to stay encouraged and engaged in cross-cultural ministry is to find like-minded folks and do it together. As internationals come from cultures that value community, they typically are more attracted to groups of strong community rather than to individuals. Such groups are increasingly called missional communities. Some great resources for learning about and forming missional communities include : Austin Stone Community Church (Austin, TX) is arguably the most fruitful model of missional communities in the US. They post videos explaining missional communities and showing them in action. Austin Stone’s pastor of missional communities, Todd Engstrom, blogs regularly about missional communities at http://toddengstrom.com/. Soma Communities in Seattle offers good videos that teach about how they conduct missional communities. Helpful books about missional communities include the following, all available at online portals such as Amazon.com: Breen, Mike, Launching Missional Communities. Halter, Hugh and Matt Smay, The Tangible Kingdom. Timmis, Steve and Tim Chester, Total Church. Get training as needed. Need to learn more about a particular religion or culture in order to understand the people to whom you’re ministering? Materials and courses especially have been developed for outreach to Muslims, such as Bridges and the Oasis Conference. Encountering the World of Islam is a 15-week event for learning about Islam. ISI produces several resources for understanding cultures and religions. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get my family involved in "welcoming" ministry?


The answer to this question depends on many factors, including your family members’ ages, interests, and schedules. For example, on one hand, young children are flexible: they can be brought along in almost any activity two spouses do. On the other hand, young children require more logistical help and attention wherever they are, and as such can detract from what two spouses are doing. Ideally a family engages in a welcoming ministry together. Local internationals come from cultures that highly value family, and they are interested in understanding how American families function. Some internationals have come to know Christ in part by watching Christian families interact, particularly husbands and wives.
Start by engaging together in activities of exposure. Go to local cross-cultural festivals (such as Chinese New Year). Eat at cross-cultural restaurants. Attend a local class on Islam at a mosque. Gauge how open your family is to wading in deeper to welcoming. In this process, get to know potential cross-cultural friends. Next, begin bringing cross-cultural people in to what your family already does naturally. Invite them over for a meal. Go to a park together for a picnic. Go to a baseball game together. Develop natural relationships. Finally, if your family does well at these levels, proceed to more proactive cross-cultural ministry. Help a refugee family move into an apartment, or teach them to shop at the local store. Some families rent or give a room to a local international student. Through experimenting, determine what level best fits your family’s life stage and abilities. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get my church involved in welcoming?


First consider several factors. How interested are people in your church about interacting with people from different cultures? Are they afraid or apprehensive of the idea? Or are are they already doing it? How close to your church are people of different cultures? If you live in a largely homogenous, isolated or rural community, it will be more difficult for people to intersect with other-culture friends. Are partnerships in place or possible with local organizations that can serve as gateways for your church to enter local cross-cultural communities? For example, has World Relief or International Students, Incorporated placed a staff member near your church? The answers to these questions will determine how much foundational work must be done for your church to become a community of welcomers. Assuming your church is sufficiently close to a cross-cultural population, here are serveral stages of helping a church begin welcoming. Where is your starting point? Begin praying for your church to develop a welcoming culture. Identify what cross-cultural people live in your city. What group might your church begin serving? Identify potential partner chruches and organizations in your city that could serve as bridges into local cross-cultural communities. Begin personal engagment with local cross-cultural people. Bring people along with you who might also be interested. Begin looking for people in your church who might join you. Get your church’s permission to use the newsletter and website to find such people to form a team. • Once potential team members have surfaced, begin praying for and engaging in outreach. You may all reach the same people group, or you may individually reach different people groups, gathering to pray for your individual outreach. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Mobilize

What is "mobilizing"?


Mobilizing is the process of motivating and encouraging maximum involvement in world missions. With individuals, it refers to helping and mentoring people find their optimal role in missions (goer, sender, welcome, mobilizer, etc.), and helping them order their lives in such a way that they are freed up to pursue their calling as fully as possible. With churches, it refers to helping a church understand the centrality of missions in the local church’s Biblical purpose, understand and implement God’s strategy for its unique missions handprint, disciple and deploy all members as World Christians, and remove obstacles hindering missions from flourishing as a primary purpose. Here are two quotes from wise missions leaders on the importance of mobilization: “Suppose I had a thousand college seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to mobilize [i.e. – be instrumental in sending out others]. All of them.” –Dr. Ralph Winter founder of the US Center For World Mission “Someone must sound the rallying call. Those who desire to see others trained, prepared and released to ministry are known as mobilizers. Mobilizers stir other Christians to active concern for reaching the world. Mobilizers are essential. To understand the role of mobilizers, think of World War II as a parallel. Only 10% of the American population went to the war. Of those, only 1% were actually on the firing lines. However, for them to be successful in their mission, the entire country had to be mobilized!” –Phil Parshall missionary to the Muslim world Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Why is "mobilizing" necessary?


Mobilizing is a necessary missions activity because historically the corporate Church and its individuals have often lost sight of the Biblical primacy of world missions in the life and purpose of the church. Mobilizers can act at different times as prophets, servants, encouragers and resources. They call the church back to its missions mandate, and practically help churches and individuals find practical avenues for obeying that mandate. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What is involved in mobilizing?


Mobilizing is a highly relational endeavor that requires developing trust. Foundational to successful mobilization is first living a life both of intimacy with God, and of modeling the missions involvement to which the mobilizer calls others to live. Mobilizing also involves constant learning about what God is doing around the world, and the many avenues through which people can get involved. An effective mobilizer is also consistently networking with missionaries, agencies, and churches that are effectively engaged in world missions. This exposes the mobilizer to best practices that (s)he can pass on to others, and also creates contacts that the mobilizer can connect to new contacts. Effective mobilization is done with a posture of love and servanthood. The effective mobilizer has a “Kingdom” mindset, rather than an agenda, which leads to helping people to obey what God is telling them to do in world missions. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get started in mobilizing?


Start by regularly asking God to use you to influence others toward greater missions involvement. Begin widely reading about the world and how God is advancing his kingdom around the world. Take the Perspectives course if you have not already. Read mission agency websites to learn about God’s work in particular regions. Begin praying through Operation World regularly. Ask lots of questions of missionaries and mobilizers you know. Learn what they know about missions. Ask missionaries to include you on their prayer letter mailing list. • Begin to offer your services for regional mobilization events. Serve on a planning team for a local Perspectives or Encountering the World of Islam course. Several cities, particularly on the US west coast, host annual Missions Fest events that need volunteers. (Example: Missionsfest Seattle, • If you have significant connections with several churches in your area, offer service to a parachurch ministry in your area (cf. international student/refugee ministry) to connect people in these churches to volunteer opportunities with the parachurch ministry. Offer to serve in any events at your church designed to mobilize your church. Examples would be missions prayer meetings, short-term trips, or a missions conference. • Once you’ve begun to gain experience and credibility in helping mobilization events, ask your church to consider allowing you to serve as a mobilization specialist. This would involve counseling people who express interest in missions, and editing/publicizing missions opportunities in church publications (website, social media, newsletter, etc.) We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What do I have to know to be a good mobilizer?


An effective mobilizer is a veritable database of wisdom and resources. Some key important areas of competency would include : Missions issues and trends World religions and the key challenges they present to world missions Major current world events and how they effect missions Potential mission agencies with which people can serve; key differences between them (type of ministry, theological stance, locations they work) and what types of missionaries best fit in those agencies. Current issues and trends in the American Church, particularly pertaining to evangelism and missions Some key books, periodicals and guides to read (regularly) would include : Operation World Christianity Today Evangelical Missions Quarterly Leadership Brigada weekly email Missions Catalyst (Marti Wade) Missions Catalyst (Ellen Livingood) Radical Radical Together The Church is Bigger Than You Think We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Are there biblical examples of mobilizing?


The Bible gives several examples of people mobilizing God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes, including the following: After a spying expedition, Caleb was one of only two who believed God’s promises and urged the taking of the land despite its daunting inhabitants (Num. 13-14). While the immediate battle was not successful due to Israel’s disbelief, eventually Israel did take possession of the land. Joshua mobilized Israel to move into the Promised Land (Josh. 1). Gideon mobilized 300 to defeat the Midianites (Judges 6-7). Jesus mobilized twelve disciples who in turn started a church planting revolution that swept the world. Paul mobilized the Corinthian church to give generously toward Jerusalem’s famine relief (2 Cor. 8-9) We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I encourage others to help me mobilize?


As you become more involved in mobilizing, your network of contacts will widen. In this process you will likely find others in your church or area who want to mobilize as well. Possibilities may open for groups to mobilize together. Such group mobilization best occurs when all share a clear and common vision for the results of mobilization. Bring folks together for a season of prayer and planning to determine if God is leading you together to mobilize. Some examples of group mobilization occurring in the US now include : Teams that plan regional training events such as Perspectives classes Teams that plan multi-church events such as a summer Vacation Bible School that focuses solely on teaching children about the Great Commission and unreached people groups. City networking events such as current ones in Dallas and Minneapolis. Such monthly and quarterly events help mobilizers do their jobs better. Sometimes these groups lead to multi-church short-term trips, assisting ministries in the city, and hosting training events. Within individual churches, sometimes a missions leadership team will develop a subcommittee devoted exclusively to mobilizing in the church. This team might have responsibilities for leading missions education, and recruiting and training the church for short-term missions trips, cross-cultural ministry opportunities, and missionary care. We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I enable my church to mobilize for missions?


It depends on whether your influence in the church is more formal or informal. If your influence is more informal (meaning that you don’t hold a leadership position), you can engage in the activities described in [HYPERLINK TO HOW CAN I GET STARTED IN MOBILIZING]. Be encouraged by the fact that often you can make the most impact in a Daniel-type capacity. Daniel had no official position, but was personally respected and had much influence without a committee membership or staff position! Steps you could take would include : Begin talking with the pastor(s) and missions committee members at your church. Ask to meet with them to learn more about how missions is led, and what the church does to mobilize its people for missions. • If the church has an effective plan for mobilizing, ask leaders if you might begin to help in the mobilization process and events. • If the church does not have a plan for mobilizing people for missions, and you’re respected as someone who’s informed about missions, you might next: Ask if you could serve as a point person for publishing missions opportunities on the church’s website, social media, or in any printed publications. Ask if you could start a missions interest group that would meet monthly or quarterly. Such a meeting would feature prayer for missions, and possibly a speaker to discuss topics of missions interest. Offer to pass on to the missions committee samples of other churches’ mobilization practices. If you are on the church staff, or on a missions/outreach team, you have the power to help lead the church in the process of mobilizing others. Assuming that other pastors/leaders object to developing a mobilization process, you can: Determine your sphere of mobilization. Are you mobilizing for the mission field, for local cross-cultural ministry, etc.? Develop guidelines for how to engage major types of people in your church: homeschooling moms, downtown businesspeople, college students, youth, etc. Develop tiered avenues for involvement (crawl, walk, run). Plan for how you will engage people and bring them into the mobilization process, such as: Through the church’s website, bulletin and social media Through personal conversations Through an interactive website such as is available at http://www.onthecity.org/. Through a monthly or quarterly missions interest group which would feature prayer and a speaker First and last, pray for God to raise up people from your church for active involvement in missions! We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I measure the results of personal mobilizing efforts?


It’s wise to determine what results you’re seeking to accomplish by God’s grace, and to periodically gauge if your methods are succeeding. Potential gauges might include : • People entering short- and long- term missions service • People who are engaging in local cross-cultural ministry • People who are identifying and engaging in their optimal Great Commission role (goer, sender, welcomer, mobilizer) • People who are re-ordering life decisions and priorities in order to be maximally involved in missions • Increased personal or church giving to outreach efforts • People who are interested in learning more about missions and are engaging in learning activities (cf. Perspectives) • People coming to faith in Christ due to efforts of those who were mobilized We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Please check back often and subscribe to our feed at https://propempo.com/rss.xml to be notified of updates. Interact with the content. Post links in email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Recommend Propempo.com to friends. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Advance to Local Church Mobilization

Advance to Local Church Mobilization


The next path-book, “Church Mobilization,” on Propempo.com will help you walk through seven stages of growth and development in building an effective local church missions ministry. These steps include learning how to plan, organize, celebrate, inspire, focus, and train for strategic missions outreach. Every biblical and committed local church can learn to grow in effectiveness, can change from a unprincipled “shotgun” approach to a custom-fitted rifle focus on your church’s part in the Great Commission. You can learn about the practical nuts and bolts of each role and pray about how God might have you and your church further your corporate goals and ministries in world missions. Look for resource links to documents and resources in each section. Walk on! Please prayerfully consider supporting Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International





CHURCH MOBILIZATION

Learn

What is involved in local church mobilization?


"Mission mobilization activity is more crucial than field missionary activity," observes Dr. Ralph Winter of the U.S. Center for World Missions. "Wouldn’t it be better to awaken one hundred sleeping firemen than to hopelessly throw your own little bucket of water on a huge fire yourself?" The concept of local church mobilization is to redirect the natural regression of church organization –
from: the Missions Committee does missions on behalf of the church
to: the Missions Committee mobilizes the church to do missions It is essential to understand the distinction. If a local church missions pastor or staff coordinator expends their energies in doing all the administrative work to keep in touch with missionaries, monitor their ministry, and makes all the decisions about who and how much to support them, then no one else gets the blessings, no one else shares the burdens, no one else knows how to pray. People need to have ownership, relationship, and partnership in order to be stakeholders and investors in the vision for ministry on far-flung fields. They don’t get that automatically. Team performance and productivity is hugely impacted by the contribution of everyone on the team pulling in the same direction. It is the local church mobilizer’s work to education, inform, inspire, and provide opportunities for that to happen. Local Church Mobilization is winning the participation and ownership of others to do their part in a Great Commission, both as individuals and as a body.




How can I help my church become more effective in missions?


Here is a short checklist typical of churches that are ineffective in missions:

  1. We never hear about missions
  2. We don’t know any missionaries
  3. We support missions (or missionaries) but we don’t know why
  4. We support missionaries by we don’t see the connection with our church
  5. We support so many missionaries we can’t keep them all straight
  6. We support missions work “all over”
  7. We’re working on our Jerusalem before we go to the uttermost parts
  8. We don’t even know how to begin to be involved in missions
  9. We let our denomination (or association) handle that
  10. We just don’t care. We have enough needs in our church to take care of.
Here are basic categories of way to help your church become more effective:
  1. Get some resources to help people pray for missions.
  2. Submit prayer requests reflecting God’s heart for the nations.
  3. Build relationships with real missionaries.
  4. Put up some excellent graphics of the world, or unreached people, or cross-cultural needs.
  5. Give John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad to your Pastor.
  6. Attend another church’s missions conference or emphasis event and take notes.
  7. Provide overnight hospitality to a missionary or missionary family.
  8. Find out the census demographics of your community.
  9. Get Operation World and use it to pray and encourage others to pray for the nations.
  10. Ask about getting a Missions Team (or Missions Committee) started, if you don’t have one.
  11. Ask about serving on the Missions Team.
  12. Help plan and execute a Missions emphasis event or conference.
  13. Find out how and how much your church supports missions financially.
  14. Give more to missions, however your church supports it, through designated giving or project giving or other means.
  15. Write a missionary or missions organization asking for critical or strategic projects your church can support.
  16. Become a prayer partner for someone from your church preparing for missions.
  17. Get involved with (or initiate!) a short-term mission team from your church in support of a ministry the church supports or is related to in some way.
  18. Pledge support to someone from your church going on a short-term missions trip.
  19. Become a mentor for a missionary candidate from your church.
  20. Encourage your pastor to use illustrations from missionary work in his sermons.
  21. Read missionary biographies and share them with your church friends.
  22. Offer to teach a class on missions.
  23. Create a fund-raiser for missions.
  24. Start a missions/missionary newsletter for your church.
  25. Add missions books (Bible studies, biographies, etc.) and other missions resources (CDs, DVDs, etc.) to your church lending library.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Today’s All-Star Missions Churches: Strategies to Help Your Church Get Into the Game




Why is church missions mobilization important?


Local church missions mobilization is important because: • The local church is the primary entity in God’s plan for fulfilling the Great Commission. The natural inclination of people and churches is to focus on themselves rather than to focus outwardly. • People need encouragement, inspiration, and relevant information in order to act. • Without advocates for the cause of missions, the myriad distractions of everyday life and programs of the church easily eclipse the Gospel-needy unreached people beyond the normal reach of the church. • Without specialists in missions, the church doesn’t have a local interpreter to communicate the differences and challenges of cross-cultural ministry “on the field”. • Without a mobilizer, many opportunities would never even be seen, many potential candidates never committed, many resources untapped, many blessings missed, many partners never connected, many lives among unreached people groups (humanly speaking) never touched with the Gospel. • “As long as there are millions destitute of the word of God and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will be impossible for me to devote my time and energy to those who have both.” – J.L. Ewen • “The command has been to “go,” but we have stayed – in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth… but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland.” – Robert Savage • From a human perspective, it is maddeningly unfair that so few of us would soak in oceans of access to the Gospel and the teaching of God’s Word while billions perish, spiritually languishing for a drop of knowledge of Christ. What is a “mobilizer”? A mobilizer is passionate about God and His mission for the world. Mobilizers make it their mission in life to spread God’s mission. They use all the resources they possess to spread the Word and reach people in need of God. Mobilizers spend time, money, and resources to influence others to follow Jesus and to be part of His global mission. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How is church missions mobilization different?


Most of the resources in the missions world referring to mobilization actually refer to mobilization of individuals. They want to get individuals committed to becoming missionaries. Propempo recommends and provides links to lots of good resources and well-intentioned organizations that think of mobilization in terms of the individual. But, that is not what we’re talking about here. Local church missions mobilization is intentionally mobilizing the whole congregation of a local church (as much as possible) toward involvement in the Great Commission. Church mobilization seeks to educate, motivate, and provide opportunities for the church to be involved personally and to develop a sense of ownership in every aspect of missions and missionary ministry. Local church missions mobilization is usually within the scope of one or more staff members of the church and/or a missions team or missions committee or missions board which handles the unique responsibilities of promoting and managing missions interests of the church. Due to the amount of information and relationships which must be processed on a continual and timely basis, Propempo recommends that a designated group of specialists, as a “missions team” or “missions committee”, the authorized to have responsibility for this function. Often, in order to have the full attention and commitment of the church in the arena of missions, the missions team or missions committee must work closely with the pastoral staff and leadership body of the church. So, one of the significant differences between local church missions mobilization and the mobilization of individuals is the skill and dynamic of coordination, communication, and focus of multiple layers of leadership and relationships within the church and its extended ministries. Church missions mobilization is challenging and exciting. It is incredible to see “the lights turn on” for a whole congregation. It is amazing to see the fruit of a church fired up for missions begin to give more, pray more, expect more, then become much more focused on kingdom values. The ripple effect of doing missions well impacts all the ministries of the church and the mindsets of its members. Growing to be more outwardly focused as a congregation of world Christians is worth the work and sacrifice. Seeing well-trained servants sent into cross-cultural ministry, both short-term and long-term, has exponential, catalytic power for everyone involved. Ralph Winter, founder and director of the US Center for World Missions, dedicated much of his life and efforts toward individual mobilization. This following quote is significant for highlighting the priority of mobilization. It has even greater importance when applied to a biblical church centered view of mobilization. He said, “Suppose I had a thousand college seniors in front of me who asked me where they ought to go to make a maximum contribution to Christ’s global cause. What would I tell them? I would tell them to mobilize. All of them.” p.s. – Here’s a short list of ministries typically focused on individual mobilization:
Caleb Project (dissolved)
US Center for World Missions
the “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement” course (“Perspectives”)
The Traveling Team
“Going Deeper” retreats
Finishers Project
Urbana
“Passion” conference Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What authority or permission is needed?


If the goal is to stimulate and encourage the whole congregation to be involved in missions (and we will advocate that it is), then it is essential that someone or some group within the church be authorized to fulfill that function. For most churches this means that a Missions Team or Committee or Board be formed. Many churches may already have some group or committee tasked with some function similar to a missions team. It may be a special interest group, a missions affinity group, a women’s missions promotional group, or a men’s group specializing in construction projects. We will address the most effective composition of a missions team or committee later. But, suffice it to say now, the acceptance and effectiveness of this specialized missions body will be greatly enhanced by working within the normal structures and authority of its local church. The specific structure and authority of a missions team may be significantly different from church to church. Some churches are largely run by staff. Some churches operate within a specific prescribed order or tradition or within certain denominational expectations. Other churches are quite flexible in their structure and designations for specialized ministry groups. The specific name designation for admissions team and organizational structural assignment is not as important as winning the approval, blessing, and authorized scope of authority for their function. So what should the scope of authority be? In our view, the missions team or committee (or other name designation) should clearly have responsibility and authority, under the designated leadership of the church, to do the following:

  1. initiate and manage missions education for the church
  2. initiate and manage two-way communication with missionaries and missions interests
  3. guide and direct its own proceedings, including selection, training, and ongoing development of its own team or committee members
  4. provide for and promote a variety of means for its own church members to be involved in, relate to, support, and develop ownership of the missionaries and missions interests with which the local church has relationship and/or commitment
  5. plan and implement a church-wide missions emphasis event (at least annually)
  6. recommend and manage the churches missions budget and or financial partnership and support commitments to missionaries and missions interests
  7. facilitate the training and discipleship of would-be missionary candidates, including short-term missions participants and the logistical, strategic, financial, and service elements of short-term missions opportunities
What happens if the church is not ready to establish a mission team or committee? Is it possible for interested people to function like a mission steamer committee but without having the authorization as a recognized part of the church’s organizational chart? Yes, it is possible though limited. If the church leadership is not willing or prepared to establish a missions team or committee, then your first task is to persuade them to do so. Failing that, or if the timing is just not right, you and others interested in launching a missions team should strive to be respectful, positive, and encouraging toward your church leaders, while steadily praying and seeking to serve and fulfill as much of the above responsibilities as possible. At this point, you are simply church members functioning as an ad hoc affinity group with a special interest in missions. Through your helpful information, winsome approach, and unselfish service, you may went over the leadership. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can I get the ball rolling?


Here is a bullet point list of ideas to help you get started. Note that they’re not given in sequential order and some will be overlapping. Certainly you don’t need to do all of these; and, some may not even be possible or reasonable in your situation. You be the judge. • Simply ask your senior pastor, elder, deacon, or administrative council leader if you would be allowed to start a missions team/committee. • Begin asking around among your friends in the church who might be interested in forming a group to especially pray for, communicate with, and learn more about missionaries and missions interests of the church. • Find out if your church has ever had a missions team or committee. • Call, e-mail, or write your church association or denomination headquarters to find out if they have helpful information about forming a missions team or committee. • Ask someone who was on the missions team/committee from a sister or corresponding like-minded church in your area for ideas, foundational documents, and help in presenting the concept to your local church leadership. • Work on a rough draft of a founding missions team charter document or policy to present to your church leadership. • Brainstorm and compile ideas about how the missions team might help your church be more effective in missions and even have an impact on local outreach. • Pray together with friends from your church who are also interested in starting a missions team on a regular basis. • Discover resources listed on the side panel of this section or recommended resources from Propempo.com’s store or other places on the Internet. • Write a proposal for your church leaders and/or decision-makers regarding the benefits and activities of the missions team for your church. • Contact Propempo international about having someone make a presentation to your church leaders and have a missions team training seminar at your church.
• Organize an on-site or off-site retreat for those interested in the possibility of serving on a missions team/committee. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What do I need to know to get started with church mobilization?


First of all, if you haven’t done so already, you should read a few of the sections previous to this one to give you an idea of the function and spear of responsibility of a church mobilization missions team/committee. You should start by doing some research and asking a lot of questions about your church’s track record, opportunities, and commitments and missions. Find out: • What missionaries or mission ministries does your church already support or have a relationship with? • By what means are they supported? Directly? Indirectly through an aggregated fund on behalf of your denomination, fellowship, or association? • How does your church identify funds for missions? Designated giving? A percentage of the overall budget? Faith promise? Special offerings? An annual project fund drive? Pledges? Sunday school offerings? • How have the missionaries or missions ministries funded by the church been selected? • By what criteria are funding commitments made and sustained? • What visibility does missions have to the church body, from the platform in public meetings, in the physical decor and communication pieces of the church? • Is there an annual missions emphasis event? If so, what is the participation level and how much priority does it have in the church calendar? • Has the senior pastor ever visited a missionary or missions ministry on the field? • Has there ever been a member from this church that trained and served (or serves) on the mission field long term as their vocation? • What is the level of prayer awareness of the congregation for missions, missionaries, and missions interests worldwide? • What is the percentage of gross income into the local church (except for capital and infrastructure project funds) spent for missions? • How does the missions giving compare with gross income on a per-giving-unit basis? Next, you need to find out what it takes for a new committee or ministry team to be started in your church. It may be a simple as filling out a form and submitting it to leadership for consideration. It may take a little more work for you put to put together a proposal. You might have to do some groundwork to find out who the original members of the missions team might be and recruit them. If your church has never had a missions ministry body, you might need to request an implement a special period for training the new group. If your church has had a missions ministry team in the past or has a similarly functioning group, you will need to discover their founding documents, as much as possible, and learn what you can from them. It is likely that a sister church or other like-minded church among those your church has fellowship already has a functioning missions team or missions committee. You can learn a lot from their experience. A phone interview or exchange of e-mails could save you a lot of trouble. Ask them for their mission’s policy or guidelines documents. Assuming that your patient research and respectful requests to launch the missions team are approved, you will be well on the way to building momentum for a fresh start. Don’t forget to persistently pray through the process. The point of it all is that God would receive the glory due his name among all nations. That begins with you and your church. So how you do it is as significant as what you do, because you’re doing it for his glory. We believe that having a recognized missions team serving the best interests of the local church is a highly effective means of bringing glory to God and fulfilling the great commission. So you can proceed confidently in God’s will. Please prayerfully consider making a donation to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are the costs of chuch mobilization?


There are intangible costs:
– time and organizational effort for meetings
– long-distance communication with missionaries
– study and research to grow in the area of missions and keep abreast of current issues
– relational stretching, as you coordinate and work through issues with your missions team and church leadership There are tangible costs as well:
– expenses related to regular meetings and hosting those meetings
– increased expenses as the church takes ownership of missionaries and ministries in a new way
– significant expenses related to the shepherding and care of missionaries both on the field and home side including having church leaders visit them on the field
– costs related to education, publicity, and promotion of missions interests on church walls and bulletin boards, Sunday school rooms, publications, newsletters, etc.
– the costs of organizing and implementing an appealing, first-rate missions emphasis event on at least an annual basis
– procuring training materials and trainers or a consultant (e.g.-from Propempo) for ongoing leadership training of your church missions team, staff, pastors and leaders Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How does mobilization for local missions relate to overseas missions?


This question is aimed at discerning the difference between local outreach and international or overseas cross-cultural ministry. It is true that the Great Commission, as found in Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 24:45-48, and Acts 1:8, includes both local and long-distance evangelism and discipleship. It is not limited to faraway cross-cultural ministry. However, it was certainly not intended to keep our ministry vision lowered to the community immediately around us. It is not even appropriate to “balance” church outreach spending between “Jerusalem” and the “uttermost parts”. Acts 1:8 does outline the extension of the gospel of Jesus Christ through concentric circles beginning in Jerusalem. However, the grammar indicates that the geographical commitments are not sequential; rather, they are simultaneous. Taken this way, each local church should conscientiously be engaged in ministry in their immediate community to people just like them, in their community to people not like them, and outside the reach of their community to people not like themselves. We don’t reach our Jerusalem first, then proceed to our Judea, afterward moving on to Samaria-like places, and finally deigning to go to the ends of the earth. In order to obey Acts 1:8, our churches (your church) must think through how best to be involved in each of these arenas at the same time. Thankfully, there are common threads of passion and commitment between local outreach and overseas missions. Both have a heart to extend the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who need it most. Both put a premium on personal, flesh and blood, ambassadors to articulate the Gospel and disciple converts in the faith. Both use a wide variety of means to accomplish their ministry goals, e.g.-literature, media, personal testimony and witness, small groups, technology, and personal spiritual discipleship. However, we shouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusion that giving 50% of our missions funds to local outreach and 50% to overseas missions constitutes a proper balance. The church must be involved in equipping the saints for the work of ministry. But it takes much less training and much less cost to involve far more people of the church in direct local outreach. It requires a much higher level of specialized training at far more cost involving far fewer people of the church to sustain viable overseas missions ministry. The spectrum looks like this: LOCAL OUTREACH OVERSEAS MISSIONS many people few people little effort much effort relatively inexpensive relatively expensive little training much specialized training shorter-term goals longer-term goals The church could use Acts 1:8 as a model template for developing ministry. Ask yourselves the questions, “What are we doing for evangelism and discipleship” in:

  1. our immediate community (Jerusalem)
  2. our neighboring communities or metro area (Judea)
  3. our nearby cross-cultural community/ies
  4. the unreached peoples of the world
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What is the scope of work of a church Missions Team (MT)?


Ideally, the missions team is the primary liaison between the local church and the ministry out in the field. The missions team is the primary communications conduit between local church leadership and the missionaries, between the congregation and the ministries it supports corporately. As such, the missions team helps frame the priorities in missions ministries which best express the biblical and practical goals of their local church. The following is a typical list of roles and responsibilities of a local church missions team. • stimulate prayer for missions among the ministries of the church using the most current information available from the workers and work on the field • develop a relational foundation for missionary care and shepherding • set priorities, goals, and promotion for missions funding, budgeting, and management • plan and execute the missions emphasis event at least annually • provide for regular communication and accountability with supported missionaries and missions entities • assist church leaders with appropriate information and education enabling them to fulfill their leadership role in missions with current understanding • provide avenues and motivation for congregants to become personally involved in missions • facilitate guidance of missionary candidates toward appropriate missions career goals in alignment with the doctrine and priorities of the local church • organize and fulfill meaningful short-term missions teams and projects • educate, inspire, and motivate church members to embrace their role in commitments as world Christians • develop media, publications, and promotional materials to facilitate all of the above roles and responsibilities Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What documents do we need to get started?


At minimum, you need a decision in writing from the church leadership authorizing the development of the church missions team or committee or whatever title is appropriate for your local church. Soon after that you’ll want to have a simple one-page draft statement describing the projected roles and responsibilities of the missions team. At each point of development along the way it is wise to at least get the feedback of your churches leadership board, session, or council. Although it is always healthy to get their affirmation and approval of the details, it is even more important to win their support and positive ownership for the long-term effectiveness of the missions team. Sooner or later you’ll want to develop a larger policy or guidelines document which outlines sections which may include the following: • the biblical basis and foundation for missions • the role of the local church in missions • the qualifications, responsibilities of, and terms of service of the missions team and its composition • the financial and administrative reporting responsibilities of the missions team • the organizational framework of the missions team, its officers, and any supporting functions, e.g.-sub team, task force, ad hoc workgroup • a listing and description of the missions team’s roles and responsibilities • any established criteria or priorities for the selection of missionaries or ministries for support, continuing support, or termination of support • descriptions of internal processes for strategic decision-making, recordkeeping, budgeting and accounting, personnel selection, communication, etc. As time goes on and as experience dictates the missions team and/or its church leadership may want to adopt policies or guidelines for a mature and robust missions ministry in the church. You may want to research and/or develop policy or guidelines for other areas, such as these: • short-term missions ministry
• missionary discipline or termination • adoption of an unreached people group • adopting a strategic focus ministry or project • developing a mentorship and or approval process for missionary candidates to become missionaries sent out from your local church (even in partnership with an external missions sending organization) • developing and teaching missions courses for the congregation • establishing a program of missions education for children • developing and or recommending field partnership relationships between your church and a national church overseas or a specific strategic outreach goal overseas Please prayerfully consider making a donation to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Plan

What do we call this church mobilization function?


What do we call this church mobilization function? Churches have many different names for the group assigned to manage, administrate, and mobilize for missions. The old-fashioned name "missions committee" works just fine. However, we encourage churches to use the term "team", because is is usually viewed as a more active, dynamic term than committee. Here is a brainstorm list of terms taken from actual name designations from local churches. Though your church may have specific naming conventions already locked in, you might consider any of the following terms. You can mix and match appropriately.

  • global outreach team (go team)
  • missions commission
  • missions committee
  • missions team
  • international missions
  • missions board
  • international outreach
  • foreign missions
  • missionary
  • advancement
  • task force
  • commission
  • great commission team
  • Acts 1:8
  • Acts 29
  • global
  • local
  • domestic
  • group
  • mobilization
  • evangelism
  • world
  • strategic global impact
  • missions leadership team
One of the issues you will face early on is the distinction or integration of local and global interests. Technically, the great commission includes both. Practically though, there are very significant ways in which management, promotion, and involvement function between the domestic and international side. Certainly there should be good communication and coordination between those two functions on the spectrum. Your church may decide that both fall under the same umbrella of leadership. Or, you may decide to separate them as to different teams. We would suggest that, when it comes to some annual celebration or missions outreach event, both the domestic and international side are well represented and promoted. Bottom line: the most popular and functional current terms for this function of the church would be global outreach team or missions team. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How often should we meet?


There are seasons of missions team work and responsibility which will require you, or some subgroup, to meet more frequently. The standard meeting frequency is monthly. Often the missions team will take a break after the intense work of the annual missions event or over summertime when it’s harder for people to get together. If the missions team meets 10 out of 12 months per year, you’ll be doing well. On the other hand, it has been said that, “It’s difficult to operate an international enterprise with only one meeting per month.” For church having more than 200-250 people attending weekly worship services, it quickly becomes apparent that the missions team must grow and/or develop standing sub teams in order to accomplish all that needs to be done to effectively mobilize your congregation. So, while the team as a whole may only meet monthly, subgroups which report to the team and specialize in different areas of responsibility might also meet monthly. The annual mission celebration or missions emphasis event is often very time and labor intensive. Especially during the month immediately preceding and the week of the event, everyone on the missions team may be putting in extra hours to accomplish all the hospitality, logistics, promotion, and program management necessary to fulfill the event with a level of excellence. Another time intensive season is when you’re team is first forming or revising important policy or guideline documents which dictate the operation of the missions team. A lot can be delegated to competent people on an ad hoc task force or sub team for this purpose. Still, the entire missions team may add extra meetings to deal with the extra volume of work required. A third intensive season might be the annual budget process. Each church determines its own financial fiscal year. It doesn’t always coincide with the calendar year. But if your church has a budget process at all, at least your financial record keeping members of your missions team will have a significant amount of time invested in their part of the process. You’ll learn more about the comprehensive scope of missions team roles and responsibilities as we walk this church mobilization path together. For now, especially if you’re just beginning, think in terms of meeting monthly. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What kinds of policies or guidelines do we need?


Initially, the mission team needs written approval from the elders or leadership board of the church to create or form a missions team. Then, the first task of the designated missions team formation leader will be to draw up a charter document. Different churches may call this charter document different things; but, they all fulfill the same function. This charter document might be called:

  • missions team bylaws
  • missions team policy
  • missions team guidelines
  • missions team charter
or some equivalent. This formative document normally would include sections with some detail in categories such as these:
  • biblical basis of missions
  • definition of missions for this church
  • definition of missions terms for this church
  • qualifications for missions team membership
  • composition and term of missions team membership
  • job description for officers and/or sub teams of the missions team
  • extent and source of missions funds
  • budgeting principles of missions funds
  • criteria for selection of missionaries or missions ministries to support
  • parameters of support for approved missionaries or missions ministries
  • framework for short-term missions
  • authority, roles, and responsibility of the missions team with respect to church leadership, including accountability
We encourage churches and missions teams to adopt two levels of documents. The first or primary level would be the bylaws or team policy framework which should rarely be changed. The second level of documents would be working guidelines and practical process documents which can be changed more frequently as needed. Changing guidelines or process documents should not require as thorough a review or complicated approval process. It is a mistake to keep adding more and more sections to the basic missions policy documents over the years every time a new issue or difficulty arises. Then it grows like the US tax code and is very difficult to change. Keep the most crucial structural document solid and little-changed. Then maintain process and other decision-making guidelines documents more adaptable and fluid as the need arises. Again, your church tradition and ethos may dictate exactly what and how those documents function. Respect the system! Make the most of whatever opportunities the Lord gives you. There are plenty of sample church policy documents available through the Propempo.com website. Just do a quick search. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How should we write a policy?


Before you begin writing a policy, it is important to think of the goal as being as simple and concise as possible. Bullet points and numbered lists are allowed. You’re not trying to complete a complex body of legislation. Also, a policy level document is something that should not be changed very often. As we recommended in a prior section, it’s good to think in terms of process and procedure documents, along with guidelines, application forms, sub team documents, etc. being handled as guidelines which can be changed more easily as needed. The easiest possible way to write a policy is to take someone else’s and adopt it as your own. There are a number of good model church missions policy documents on Propempo.com. We know of at least one church that simply took one of those policies and did a “search and replace” function in their word processor to change the church name to their own churches name; and, voilà, they had an instant church missions policy. We don’t particularly recommend the “instant policy” method. However, gathering and examining several good church missions policies (or “guidelines”) can be an excellent way to shorten your development cycle. Put side-by-side, it is easy to notice and distinguish the meaning and applicability phrase by phrase and section by section. Doing so as a small editorial group could simplify the process using a virtual cut and paste method. It is important to get the right people on your policy (or guidelines) writing task force. You need to have people who understand the value of sound policy, those who are practical and people oriented, and those who have a knack for expressing things in a precise and down to earth manner. Often, it is necessary to include a cross-section of interested parties and leadership in the composition of your policy writing group. When the group first gets together, try to keep the big picture in mind. Start each session with prayer. Remember that the word you put on the page will have an impact on the lives of missionaries and their families, strategic field ministries, and ultimately the souls of the people they are trying to reach. An organization named ACMC (Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment, which no longer exists as a separate entity) published three editions of the Church Missions Policy Handbook. You might find a copy of this now out-of-print handbook. It doesn’t tell you exactly what to write in your policy; but it does give you a comprehensive checklist of issues or concerns for each item you might want to include in your policy. At a minimum you’ll probably want to address the following sections:

  • purpose statement, including scriptural basis
  • missions leadership team structure
  • roles and responsibilities for the MLT
  • boundaries, criteria and priorities for support relationships
  • financial priorities and processes
  • ministry philosophy with respect to alignment in doctrine, local church centeredness, missiology/methodology, missionary accountability, and the special relationship of “homegrown” missionaries sent out from your church
How long will it take? It depends largely upon the time available to dedicate to the task and the number of people involved. One person giving a lot of personal attention to it might be able to create a reasonable draft in one week. If your church ethos demands that you coordinate the input of a 10 or 12 person editing committee, it’s going to take a long time. If the chemistry of the group works well together in relationships and attitudes, it will take considerably less time than if the group is polarized or otherwise less than gracious in interaction. It’s not uncommon for a policy writing team to take 3 to 6 months to complete their first draft. Some churches might chip away at it in smaller segments over a longer period of time, e.g. up to a year. Generally speaking it’s not healthy to take too long. People lose interest and forget what they decided early on of the time they’re considering issues much later in the document creation process. Also, it’s much easier and more practical to start with a simple document and revise it over time as you learn how it is implemented in real life. Even discussing these issues will be a tremendous opportunity for growth and understanding of missions issues among your leadership. Becoming of one mind on these issues can be one of the most positively impactful activities for your churches biblical missions development. May God give you grace, fortitude, and tenacity to do this meaningful task well! Please prayerfully consider making a donation to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What’s the difference between “doing” and “mobilizing”?


A lot of missions teams fall into the trap of doing missions on behalf of the congregation instead of mobilizing their congregation in missions. Here’s how the two sides appear: Doing missions–

  • relationships with the missionaries are primarily in the realm of the missions team
  • communication with the missionaries is primarily in the realm of the missions team
  • all decisions, in any area of missions, are held onto tightly by the missions team
  • the annual missions emphasis event is basically an extended pep rally to get the congregation to pray for and financially support the work that the missions team does representing the church
  • almost all management of outreach and field visits are done by missions team members
  • no person or ministry of the church is allowed to do missions stuff without the approval and oversight of the missions team
  • everything about missions is perceived as being under the control of the missions team and the individuals on that team
Mobilizing in missions–
  • relationships with the missionaries are primarily in the realm of church ministries and small groups outside of the missions team
  • communication with the missionaries is primarily in the realm of church members and small groups outside of the missions team
  • many decisions about outreach and supporting services to missions or ministries, though guided by overall church missions guidelines, are made by individuals and groups outside the missions team
  • the annual missions emphasis event is a celebration of the whole congregation in which everyone feels that they have a part and something to gain by sharing in it
  • much management of specific outreach projects, short term ministries, and field visits are done by people outside the missions team
  • everyone feels that they have a part in their churches great commission outreach and that they have great liberty to pursue connections with supported missionaries and ministries
  • missions is perceived as being dynamic and maybe just a little bit out of control because everyone wants to get involved and it is more than the missions team can manage on their own
There is obviously some overlap in this exaggerated picture of differentiation between “doing” and “mobilizing”. For example even the controlling doing missions team wants everyone in the congregation to pray and to give in order to enable their missions goals. Likewise, even the facilitative mobilizing missions team needs to establish reasonable boundaries and administration so that people are not doing wild and crazy things that might be totally contrary to the church’s ethos, character, or doctrinal integrity. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are the primary functions of the Missions Team?


As the missions team matures in its roles and as the church grows both in size and in missions involvement, the functions of the missions team will grow as well. Consider these primary areas of function:

  • prayer coordination
  • missions education
  • financial management of missions funds
  • promotion of missions, involvement, and missions events
  • missions emphasis events
  • communication with and hospitality for missionaries and representatives of supported missions ministries
  • short-term missions promotion, training, management, and debriefing
  • missionary care
  • local cross-cultural ministries
  • recruitment, orientation, and ongoing training for missions team members
  • communication and interface with church leadership and other ministries of the church
  • develop long-range planning and strategic focus goals
  • recruitment and church-based training and guidance for missionary candidates from your local church

In addition to the primary areas listed above your church missions opportunities and giftedness might lend itself to development along these secondary areas:
  • children's missions education
  • missionary or missions project fund development
  • counseling for troubled missionaries or conflict on the field
  • sharing your churches missions principles and process with other churches
  • developing resources for ethnomusicology, literature production, media implementation. technology support and services, security training and support, logistical equipment or supplies acquisition and shipping
  • guidance and placement for second career or retiree "finishers" in the missions workforce
These are simply suggestions. You certainly don't need to do them all at once from the start. Prayerfully, along with others who have an interest or a part in the process, select those functions are areas which are most fitting to your situation. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What is our relationship to the church governing body?


The organizational chart might simply be dictated by your churches foundational organizational documents, i.e. - church bylaws, denominational structure for local churches, etc. Your church's tradition or usual practices may dictate the name or title of your missions team. Yet, we would like you to consider that the missions function of the local church best expresses the great commission purpose of the church. As such, the missions outreach functions as the heart or core driving all the ministries of the church. So, even though the missions team might stand parallel to many other church ministires on the organizational chart, there is a sense in which the flow of communication, information, and energy between the missions team and the church leadership must be especially clear and barrier-free. The missions team leadership and key church leaders must consciously work on good communication for the sake of the health of the church. One curious twist to the relationship between missions leadership and the church governing body or keep church leaders or senior pastor is the almost irresistible urge of missions leadership to inundate church leaders with too much information. We want them to read the books we recommend, watch stirring missions videos, and be just as enthralled and consumed with missions passion as we are. However, we must be realistic about the multitude of tugs and pulls from a thousand sources seeking their attention. The best way for a missions leader to earn the respect and full attention of your church pastor or leadership is to praise them for whatever attention they can give commissions, provide them with only the best information and communication to enable them to do their job well, screen them from superfluous information and contact, and discerning only ask for measured and realistic opportunities to communicate missions. Try to make sure that your input doesn’t overwhelm or exceed the capacity of your recipients. If the church leadership only gives you two minutes of platform time on a Sunday morning, then only take two minutes. Make them high quality. Use them well. Leave everyone wanting more. Then thank your pastoral leadership profusely for allowing you those two minutes. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What is our relationship to the missionaries?


The missions team is the facilitator of relationships between the church body and its missionaries. The missions team acts as a matchmaker, account representative, personal investment counselor, and chaperone all rolled into one. There is no doubt that all the members of your missions team our missions enthusiasts and desire to be a part of or entirely hold the reins of relationship and communication with your missionaries. However, the prevailing principle must be mobilizing/involving the congregation and acting in their best interests. The missions team has a significant interest in staying up-to-date with communication to and from their missionaries, the missions team does not have to be the primary point of contact responsible for that communication. Often the missions team will delegate communication responsibilities to Sunday school classes or small groups. Practically, it’s important to have one person within the delegated group to be named as the responsible missions advocate for that missionary. The missions advocate keeps the missions team up-to-date and represents the news and prayer requests of their designated missionary to their small group. That same small group, coordinated by the missions advocate, can take responsibility for hospitality and missionary care on a regular basis. Remember that communication is a two-way street. It’s a good thing for the pastor to write a letter about leadership issues, major directions and teaching or ministry for the church, etc. to the missionaries directly at least on an annual basis. Someone on the missions team or in the church office can make sure that supported missionaries receive newsletters, bulletins, e-mail updates, etc. from the church office as may be appropriate (or preventing that kind of communication if it might be inappropriate, as in a high-security ministry environment). Missionaries like to hear tidbits of news and happenings within the church body. Missionaries also need to know who is their designated missions advocate. Besides routine communication, newsletters, and congregation-wide info, it is wise for the missions team to establish a sense of accountability and evaluation in the relationship. This can take place through some simple annual goals and accountability questionnaire. It is legitimate to ask missionaries about their marriage and family. It is certainly the responsibility of the primary home or sending church to ask personal questions in-line with a caring, shepherding relationship with their people on the field. It is better to discover issues in which the church might have a constructive counseling role well before those issues caused irreparable damage to your people and or ministries on the field. This might be a good place to mention some pitfalls in the selection process of missionaries to support. It is very common for the missions team to be pressured to consider for support a missionary friend or relative of someone on the mission team, or dear Aunt Sally, or Deacon Joe, or big-financial-giver Ferdinand. So, it is wise to establish the criteria, priorities, and credentials of those missionaries or ministries the church wants to support strategically before personalities and personal issues enter into the discussion. Similarly, there may be considerable pressure to consider FOP-s, that is “friends of the pastor”. Now the pastor is often in a position to have friends through seminary or previous ministry experience who are trying to get to the mission field and need support. It is a problem, though, to discover that within a span of a few years almost the entire slate of missionaries supported our FOP-s, without any particular coherence or alignment as a group with the church’s vision for missions. It becomes a bigger problem whenever that particular pastor leaves the church or retires and another pastor comes on the scene. Then what do you do? Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How is missions funded at our church?


Here are some common alternatives:

  1. Denominational Fund – the church, out of respect for and obligation to their denomination or fellowship of churches, gives the recommended percentage to the denominational mission or missions or fund. Often, an additional annual funding drive adds to the percentage included in the general budget.
  2. General Budget – the congregation and/or leadership assign a dollar amount or percentage of the total budget to missions. Commonly, this represents a tithe, or 10%, of total giving. Many fall below that plateau; a very few aspire to 50%.

  3. Faith Promise – this method was popularized in the 1970s. It may have different names, but uses the same concept. Congregants pledge an annual amount to give to missions by faith “over and above” their regular giving. One of the benefits is, done properly, it does not negatively impact the general budget giving or regular offerings. Often churches are surprised at how much they can give using this method.
  4. Blended sourcing – part general budget and part faith promise. Churches who use this are tend to be transitioning from one of the above methods to the other. Yes, churches go in both directions.

    ======== 95% of churches that fund missions at all use one or more of the above means of funding ======
  5. Project Pageant - projects and funding packages are presented to the congregation or a select group of funding - enthusiasts to prioritize by vote of some kind.
  6. Personalized giving & tracking - the church doesn't support missions or missionaries corporately through the giving to the church at all; rather, the church encourages individuals to directly support the missions ministries or missionaries endorsed by the church and to report their giving to the church - which then claims corporate credit for the sum total.
  7. Endowment - this is a great and extremely rare means of funding. Over time, with the right emphasis and approach, the church may be entrusted with funds through wills, trusts, foundations, corporations, bequests, etc. assets which are managed in order to produce investment, divident, or interest income specifically for the support of missions.
Here are some other ideas as well:
  • designated giving
  • 5th Sunday giving
  • special fund-raisers, sales, craft shows
  • donation-based service projects
How does your church fund missions ministries? Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How is the Missions Team accountable to the church leadership?


Most churches appoint or designate one person from their ruling board or council to at least represent them on the missions team. Presumably, every member allowed to serve on the missions team has the confidence and approval of the church leadership. Missions team membership is an important and responsible position. Each missions team member should have unquestionable character, a track record of service to the church, and a level of discernment and fortitude to do what is in the best interest of the church and in alignment with her doctrine and tradition. Besides significant financial stewardship, the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church is at stake through the lives and ministry of your representatives scattered around the world. If an elder, pastor, or similar officer of the church is on the missions team, that person would regularly report the proceedings and decisions of the missions team to the ruling body. If not, then someone from the missions team, perhaps the chairperson, should have the opportunity to report to the ruling body at least quarterly. Financial summaries and a digest of decisions and activities of the missions team should be presented. Usually, the missions budget has to have the approval of the ruling body at least annually. Sometimes line item support decisions about who is supported or what is no longer going to be supported must be approved by the elders or board. It is wise to enlist the support and approval of the ruling body for guiding principles or boundaries around the decisions of financial support, strategic direction, and major activities of the missions team. Occasionally, a pastor just might (of course this is only hypothetical!) make some verbal commitment to a missionary, or missionary candidate, or mission official which obligates the church in some way. Doing so might put the church in a conundrum from which it might be difficult to back out. So, it is far better for the missions team to ensure that all the pastors and staff and ruling board members understand the criteria by which the missions team makes acceptable decisions about obligations of the church in missions. It doesn’t hurt to review those criteria from time to time in order to verify clarity about the criteria and the process. Be a good friend to your church leaders; and they will be good friends to the missions team. Sample "Guiding Principles" document Please prayerfully consider making a donation to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Organize

How do we compose a Missions Team?


What are the questions you have to answer before you put together a missions team is this one: should you rely on recruitment or volunteers? By recruitment we mean selectively matching qualifications and skill sets needed for an effective missions team with people who you will approach and ask them to consider taking the job or drafting them. By volunteers we mean opening the slots needing to be filled to the church body at large and accepting whoever might be first to volunteer or the best fitted from among those volunteering to serve. Obviously, there is a balance involved. You don’t want to force someone to take the job if they really hate missions. On the other hand, you don’t want to be forced to accept people who lack the skills or knowledge necessary to do this ministry well. Recruitment also means that individuals you choose to go after for membership on the missions team might have to taper off or drop out of other valid ministry positions in order to give the missions team the time and effort it requires. While we recommend recruitment and general terms. We understand that you might have to have a meeting with a group of volunteers in order to explain the skills and commitment level needed in order to serve on the missions team. In that way, the volunteers may be somewhat self screening. In either case, the results are improved if you have pre-established, written qualifications and job descriptions. Prayerfully asking the input of other church leaders based on that information, you can solicit suggestions and nominations for the membership of the missions team. Orientation and training for new team members is essential to a high level of expectations and performance. Just to summarize, consider these steps: • pray, before, during, and after the process • write a draft list of qualifications, positions, and skills needed • solicit suggestions for nominations from church leaders who have a broad knowledge of people who might have those qualifications, etc. within the congregation • approach individuals, asking them to prayerfully consider the job • when you have enough recruits, spend some time with them in orientation and training for the unique, impactful role of the missions team • praise God for and work with those he gives you
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are the qualifications of a Missions Team member?


Generally speaking, we like to think of qualifications in terms of 4 C’s: character, conviction, competence, and chemistry. Character refers to those biblical standards of virtue, ethical and moral purity, a sound Christian testimony with respect to their demeanor, marriage, family, and relationships in the church and community. Conviction speaks of sound judgment and decisions founded on implementation of biblical and doctrinal principles. Someone who has sound convictions has a solid, basic grasp of the Bible and how to apply it in real life. Competence refers to practical and ministry skills and gifts complementary to the work of the missions team. Chemistry is that subjective personality and attitude that indicates a person works well with others, understands appropriate deference and respect toward others, even in a heated discussion or conflict on an issue. Here are some typical character qualifications: • strong personal testimony of salvation • a healthy, growing spiritual life • a passion for the spiritually lost • dependable • cooperative • prayerful Here are some typical conviction qualifications: • strong commitment to the church • already active in ministry • a good student of the Bible • in alignment with the doctrine of your local church • humble and teachable • a can-do servant spirit Here are some typical competence qualifications: • leadership and organizational skills • financial stewardship skills • teaching or training skills • a strategic thinker • creative or design skills • computer skills • communication and writing skills • hospitable • world Christian minded • understanding and/or experience with the missionary task • Cross cultural or linguistic skills Here are some typical chemistry qualifications: • a reputation for capacity to work with others • ability to express themselves, yet with deference and respect • willingness to learn from others and even accept correction • a team player mindset In addition, you will probably want to state expectations of the position, e.g.: • meet once a month with the missions team • meet an additional one time a month with a sub team or task force • commit to continue to learn about missions • commit to serve the best interests of the church above personal interests • be quick to admit any conflict of interest and be willing to automatically recuse oneself from any decisions regarding that issue • faithfully attend church missions events • ead one area of missions team responsibility • commit to serve on the missions team for 2 years (or whatever term is decided) • be willing to influence other ministries in the church with a world missions perspective
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How do we organize the Missions Team?


Smaller churches often have a small missions team in which everyone must be involved in all aspects of missions team responsibilities in order to get it all done. Even within a small team, individual members may specialize in one area or another. Most churches, however, find it useful to split up the responsibilities in a variety of ways. Major spheres of responsibility can be appointed to an individual or sub team (subcommittee). Individuals or sub teams may even recruit volunteers to help them with specific skills and expertise related to their area of responsibility; those ad hoc members of the sub team (subcommittee) do not necessarily have to have official membership status on the missions team. Here are some suggestions for major areas of function or responsibility, along with ideas for secondary roles and responsibilities. These are samples and are not comprehensive. You will need to tailor responsibilities and functions in keeping with your unique church situation and tradition. Leadership and Administration • convening and organizing regular meetings • keeping records: mission team minutes, financial records, etc. • Chairing and moderating the meetings • facilitating creation of missions priorities, strategies, and goals • Interface with, encourage, and assist church leaders in developing the churches missions mindset and vision Congregational Involvement • stimulating, informing, and tracking prayer for missions ministries • training and managing missions advocates • encouraging participation in and managing short-term missions • tracking and reporting missions giving Financial Management • creating and tracking missions budget • keeping financial records and expenses in compliance with church and missions policy and financial decisions • make recommendations regarding missions budget line items and missionary support • provide giving records, as appropriate, to both donors and recipients of funds Missions Education and Communication • plan and implement the annual church missions emphasis event/s • provide opportunities for missions education through Sunday school classes, fellowship groups, Bible study groups, men’s and women’s ministries, etc. • Facilitate the dissemination of current missions prayer requests for missionaries, missions projects, people groups, the persecuted church, etc. • provide regular missions content for church-wide announcements, bulletins, newsletters, prayer request sheets, etc. • create and distribute appropriate promotion for missions events, missions opportunities for involvement, missions goals, etc. Personnel • assisting the missions team leadership in the recruitment, orientation, and training of missions team members • recommending and maintaining appropriate criteria and priorities for the selection of missionaries or missions ministries to support • prescreening missionaries and ministries requesting support • interviewing qualified missionary and ministry candidates • tracking church-based mentoring and training of missionary candidates from your own local church body • shepherding and communicating with supported missionaries and ministries with a goal toward encouragement and counseling for long-term effectiveness and healthy marriages and families • recommending changes in support relationships as the situation may dictate, including termination
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What records should we keep?


There are basically four types of records you should keep.

  1. Minutes of Meetings: A basic record of the proceedings of missions team meetings especially noting clear decisions and assignment of action items. This doesn’t have to be too detailed; it’s not like a transcript of government or court proceedings. But it is often useful to have enough statement of the flow or rationale of discussion so that the missions team can refer to it later..
  2. Financial Records: Depending on your churches financial set up, your church financial staff or financial officer may handle much of the routine financial management of missions funds. However, missions specific reports are needed on a month-to-month basis.
  3. Personnel Records: Every missionary or ministry that is considered as a viable candidate for support and those that are actually supported should have a file folder somewhere with information as to their qualifications, references, projected ministry, when and for how much and for what duration the church is committed to support them. Regular newsletters and prayer requests can be added to the file. Copies of e-mails might become too voluminous; but some note as to who is their primary point of contact or mission advocate within the church could be very useful. Personnel records, including application, contact information, passport data, health insurance info, etc. and personal evaluation of participants in short-term missions can be critical.
  4. Policies, Guidelines, and Process Documents: Either the leadership of the missions team or some file in the church should have copies of all policies, guidelines, and operational documents of the missions team.
These records are few in the beginning. But, Lord willing, they will grow over time as your missions ministries develop and expand and your church grows. You won’t regret keeping good records!
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How and what do we report to others?


Besides regular communication with them missionaries and ministries you support, the missions team should make every effort to report at least quarterly to your church leadership. Major decisions, significant events from the field, any changes in missionary relationships, financial stewardship of missions funds, recommendations for approval of new missions team members, short-term missions trips, and mission goals can be on your checklist. The church leadership body usually has approval authority over the missions budget and its details. You will need to be able to give rationale or defense of missions team decisions regarding significant changes from year to year. At least annually you will want to prepare a “state of missions in our church” report to the entire church body. Depending on how your church does it, this might be presented verbally in an annual church business meeting, or in written form distributed to your membership after the end of a calendar or fiscal year. You’ll want to include highlights of missions activities within the church, reports of special connections with missionaries who have visited or been approved during the year, and a simplified financial report of missions income and expenses. Opportunities to give a report are also opportunities to give praise. Individuals who have given extraordinary time, resources, or effort to enable the function and ministry of the missions team should be commended. Missionaries who have achieved a milestone in ministry or accomplishments on the field should be commended. If the church body as a whole has grown in some particular area of missions participation and involvement or has exercised particular faith and stewardship through difficulty, then the church body should be thanked publicly with sincere gratitude. Of course, regular reports happen within the missions team and its regular meetings all the time. Sub teams report to the whole missions team about their activities and decisions. Missionaries or short-term missions leaders report on the progress of ministry to the missions team. Status reports on ongoing functions and responsibilities of the missions team should be routine.
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How do we relate to church-supported missionaries?


Missionaries supported by the church might fall into several categories. Each category might have a slightly different level or type of relationship with the church body. Homegrown missionaries are those who, through however your church may define it, developed their missionary calling and status through your church. Your church is essentially there are home church and sending church. Other churches may support them also, but your church has the largest responsibility for shepherding and encouraging them for the long haul. We will encourage you to establish a core sending team for your homegrown missionaries. Homegrown missionaries need and deserve more information and communication than your average supported missionary. If the security in their field of service allows, you’ll want to see that they get regular church news. You might work out a system for the church office to send them a monthly packet of church bulletins, prayer request lists, newsletters, etc. If they have secure Internet available, they might be able to get some communication, even MP3s of sermons, through your church website. Supported missionaries or ministries that don’t originate from your church still need good communication also. They need to know who is on the missions team, who is their missions advocate, who or what groups are committed to regularly pray for them, etc. It’s good for them to hear at least annually from the senior pastor with a birds eye perspective about what’s happening in the church and what teaching is going on and what major issues the church body is facing. Certainly you’ll want to communicate any changes in policy or direction that may affect them and their support status with the church. You need to communicate the church’s expectations with regard to their communication and responsibilities to the church. This would include specific expectations for visiting and reporting to the church during stateside visits. Projects or strategic focus ministries may have a higher intensity of communication and relationship for shorter periods of time. For example, short-term missions teams have a tremendous need for communication, coordination, and logistical detail before and during their trip. However, after the trip the level of communication and relationship may drop dramatically. Furthermore projects or strategic focus ministries don’t necessarily need to know as much information about the internal family issues of the church. The engagement parameters are usually narrowly defined with specific boundaries, goals, and achievement milestones. Click here to see Propempo’s “Annual Information Report for Supported Missionaries” in PDF format Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we organize Short Term Missions?


There is so much hype about short-term missions these days that, if you are not careful, you can find yourself in a situation where “the tail is wagging the dog.” You definitely should not believe all the publicity and advertising thrown out by mission agencies, specialty short-term missions organizations, and in Christian periodicals. Be careful to communicate well with your young people, young adults, and those that lead them that short-term missions is a tool toward fulfilling specific goals and ministry responsibilities of the church. It is not a necessity. It is not a entitlement. It most certainly is not a paid vacation. When short-term missions is done well, it is a win-win-win situation for everyone involved. It is a win situation for the short-term missions team, because they receive an intense discipleship in spiritual values and practice in servanthood. It is a win situation for the Christian workers on the receiving end, because they receive extraordinary manpower for certain tasks which they could never do alone or would take an extraordinary length of time to accomplish. It is a win situation for the ministry target population, because, given the right attitudes and work ethic of the short-term missions team, they have the love and transformational power of the gospel displayed in flesh and blood and word and deed before their eyes. Check out The Standards of Excellence for Short-Term Missions document online or in our resources. When we talk about short-term missions here, we’re talking about short-term missions projects involving more than one person and initiated by or through the local church. Your college aged young people and young adults will be confronted with many opportunities to join a short-term missions ministry or team through campus ministries or other organizations. There may be similar opportunities for field visits of your supported missionaries by staff, individuals, or married couples from your congregation. You’ll want to develop a whole separate set of guidelines and guidance for how those ministries may relate to your local church and particularly to funding or fundraising within your congregation. Those opportunities are not what we are discussing in this chapter of Propempo.com. There are things that you should do to capture, guide, and manage those individual short-term missions opportunities; but that’s not what we’re talking about here. You might want to go over to our Propempo.com Forum for Short Term Missions for additional input on issues, references, and resources. Every short-term missions project should begin with the proposal to the missions team outlining the details of who, what, when, where, and how. It should also state the intended goals of the short-term ministry and the training, orientation, and discipleship process for accepted participants. Though the primary objective of some short-term teams might be construction of one sort or another, we believe that every short-term team should have some spiritual ministry complement to it. That’s what makes a difference between some secular development organization and the church. Even if it is simply holding evening meetings in which the STM members can share their testimony or saying or bring some Gospel presentation such ministry should be part of the plan. Also, the STM team should plan for being a blessing to their missionary hosts. It is a strenuous and distracting exercise to plan and implement all the logistics for visiting STM team. So out of love and gratitude, the SGM team should go out of their way to develop personal interest in their hosts and generously helped them in some way beyond the specific work and objectives of the STM project. Every STM project team should have high standards built into their application for participation. A clear testimony of salvation, commitment to attend training and orientation sessions, and a prior determination to obey authority and guidelines are all helpful from the very beginning. You will have to decide how your church handles funding of short-term missions, e.g.: self-funded, fundraising activities, fund-raising sales, deputized support, mission’s budget allocations, special project donations. Many churches automatically fund a certain percentage (e.g. 20 to 35%) of short-term missions teams initiated by the church and aimed at existing supported ministries on the field. Many other churches find it practical to have the STM teams raise all their own funds, with particular exceptions for leadership staff, special equipment expenses, or other extraordinary components. The pre-field training program is one of the most, if not the most, important parts of any STM ministry. What other event or opportunity gives missions leadership the opportunity to intensely disciple participants who are highly motivated and committed to a cross-cultural experience? Taking advantage of this opportunity with between 4 and 16 weekly training and orientation sessions is unprecedented among other church ministry programs. Logistics management on the home side and the field side is important. Make sure that you’re planning and management are sufficient and timely enough to avoid crises when it’s time for implementation. Remember the saying, “Failure to plan on your part does not create a crisis on my part.” Talking through the entire experience day by day and hour by hour with as much detail as possible can help you identify needs that should be addressed. Talk through: • how your STM team is going to get from their homes to the airport? • handling baggage • ticketing and passports • appropriate dress and conduct has a group • arrival on the field, including immigration and customs • who is meeting you on the field • arrangements for transportation to your first meeting place or accommodations • daily meeting schedule, devotions, and work assignments • expectations for water, food, sleeping arrangements, etc. • emergency procedures and emergency contact information • expectations regarding attitudes and work ethic • completion targets and time goals • assistance and care for your sponsoring missionary or missionary family • departure packing, goodbyes, and related concerns • debriefing and evaluation • how are you getting back to the airport to leave? • Departure ticketing, immigration, customs • arrival immigration and customs at home • pickup and transportation from the airport • follow-up meetings, reports, and celebration • reporting about the trip to the missions team, church leadership, and congregation • conservation of spiritual progress in the participants and integrating their experience and newfound skills in local church ministries • recording lessons learned for access in planning the next trip STM can be challenging, exhausting, exhilarating all at the same time. It can also be of the most highly impactful periods of spiritual growth for your participants. It will almost certainly change their lives in vision. And, hopefully, it will prove to be a win-win-win situation for all parties involved. When done right, it is well worth the effort. We pray that your STM ministries will be so, for the glory of God. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources. Maximum Impact Short-Term Mission: The God-Commanded Repetitive Deployment of Swift, Temporary Non-Professional Missionaries The Essential Guide to the Short Term Mission Trip Sample STM Policy from FBC




How do other church ministries relate to missions?


Missionaries supported by the church might fall into several categories. Each category might have a slightly different level or type of relationship with the church body. Homegrown missionaries are those who, through however your church may define it, developed their missionary calling and status through your church. Your church is essentially there are home church and sending church. Other churches may support them also, but your church has the largest responsibility for shepherding and encouraging them for the long haul. We will encourage you to establish a core sending team for your homegrown missionaries. Homegrown missionaries need and deserve more information and communication than your average supported missionary. If the security in their field of service allows, you’ll want to see that they get regular church news. You might work out a system for the church office to send them a monthly packet of church bulletins, prayer request lists, newsletters, etc. If they have secure Internet available, they might be able to get some communication, even MP3s of sermons, through your church website. Supported missionaries or ministries that don’t originate from your church still need good communication also. They need to know who is on the missions team, who is their missions advocate, who or what groups are committed to regularly pray for them, etc. It’s good for them to hear at least annually from the senior pastor with a birds eye perspective about what’s happening in the church and what teaching is going on and what major issues the church body is facing. Certainly you’ll want to communicate any changes in policy or direction that may affect them and their support status with the church. You need to communicate the church’s expectations with regard to their communication and responsibilities to the church. This would include specific expectations for visiting and reporting to the church during stateside visits. Projects or strategic focus ministries may have a higher intensity of communication and relationship for shorter periods of time. For example, short-term missions teams have a tremendous need for communication, coordination, and logistical detail before and during their trip. However, after the trip the level of communication and relationship may drop dramatically. Furthermore projects or strategic focus ministries don’t necessarily need to know as much information about the internal family issues of the church. The engagement parameters are usually narrowly defined with specific boundaries, goals, and achievement milestones. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How does STM relate to the larger picture of missions in our church?


A number of strong STM advocates would argue that STM is a leading or even a primary element in the progress of the gospel in difficult environments. Those arguments may be founded on good intentions but depend heavily on definitions of “progress” or “results” that are suspiciously lacking. Building a village church meeting structure is not church planting. Putting a roof on a community pavilion is not, in itself, kingdom building. Passing out gospel literature to random masses on the streets or sidewalks or beaches of a foreign country does not automatically result in positive long-term spiritual fruit. STM is not a magic wand that suddenly increases the number of long-term career missionary candidates, plants mature local churches in foreign cultures, and inspires whole congregations to greater vision and higher achievement in world missions. STM is a tool. It can be used well. It can be used poorly. It can be of great help to ministry on the field. It can be disastrous. There are stories of thousands of US STM participants descending on Tijuana Mexico every summer to conduct scores of vacation Bible schools in which thousands of kids from Tijuana rake in tons of gifts and crafts and “get saved every week”. Those US STM teams probably go back to their churches and report what marvelous results they had, while year after year the status and spiritual maturity of the church in Tijuana remains largely unaffected. Such extreme misuse and abuse of STM ministries must be avoided at all cost. There is a lot of valid criticism of STM ministry as a “glorified vacation”. Poor understanding and design leads to involvement in relief and development projects which ultimately hurt the recipients more than help. However, there is much to be gained by proper preparation and deployment of STM teams into appropriate situations. First and foremost, STM is an opportunity for intense discipleship of participants in Christian character, spiritual maturity, and a missions mindset. STM is a vehicle for stronger relationships with missionaries and ownership of field ministry. STM can provide significant manpower and skill sets to tasks otherwise impractical to the local missionary. STM is often an injection of missions interest for your church congregation, as well. In summary, should your local church be involved in shorter missions? Yes. If your church is small you should be able to work out a way for your interested participants to join an STM team from a nearby like-minded church. Even for a small to medium-size church, there are plenty of possibilities if you research them with the missionaries and ministries with which you already have relationships. If you are part of a larger church, just remember that the goal is not quantity but quality. Keep the bar high. As William Carey once said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Sample STM Policy from FBC
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How do we promote missions involvement?


When we talk about promoting missions involvement, where not just talking about publicity. Promotional publicity may be a big part of promoting missions involvement; but we’re talking about winning peoples engagement and commitment. One of the primary purposes of the missions team is to build effective involvement in missions by everyone in the congregation, as much as possible. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the congregation becomes a missionary to foreign fields. It does mean, however, that every regular attender of your local church should understand that they have a compelling responsibility to be involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The process of promoting missions involvement is essentially convincing people to grow in increasing awareness and willing commitment to world missions. Facilitating your people’s understanding of God, his purposes, and his Word are foundational because of the irrefutable authority of these things. If people really loved God and respect his Word, they will more easily move along track taking them deeper into involvement in world missions. Mission’s education is a significant component. If possible you will want to look for opportunities to teach the biblical and theological basis for missions, missions history, missionary biographies, strategic missions issues, etc. Winsomely presenting realistic opportunities for involvement is essential. It is the missions team’s job to discover, develop, and design possibilities for support and involvement in outreach ministries both local and global. Support may be in many forms: moral support and prayer, material and financial support, direct personal participation, organizational endorsement, etc. The quality of promotional materials should be equal to or greater than the quality of similar materials used in other areas of your church’s ministry. Bulletin inserts, platform announcements, display screen ads/videos, handouts, flyers, brochures, display rack materials, video clips, CDs, DVDs, Internet web pages, sign-up lists, graphics, promotional items such as logo-ed pens, banners, stickers, magnets, etc. — you are only limited by your team’s creativity (and budget)! Send people in your church to Propempo.com’s Personal Involvement path. See there six roles for personal involvement: pray, share your faith, support, go short term, reach internationals, and mobilize. Find or develop resources for all of these roles and how they may be implemented by individuals, families, small groups, classes, and affinity groups in your church. We want every Christian in our church to become a world Christian.
“A World Christian is a disciple for whom Christ’s global cause has become the integrating overarching standard, affecting his/her values, perspectives, and life decisions.” — from World Christian Fellowship, WCFellowship.org Propempo is a charitable mission organization, too! Please prayerfully consider donating to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International. You can give through automatic bank or credit card drafts by using your own online banking system. You can also give securely though Paypal. Just click on this message to go to our “Support Propempo” Donation page for further details. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we promote missions funding?


We’ve already looked at options for how missions may be funded in your church. Now we’ll consider how to promote funding. This assumes that your church will grow beyond the traditional strictures of one annual donation drive per year or everything is sourced through a set percentage or allocation from the general fund giving of the church. It is important to have baseline “performance” data. It is also important to have a goal. A couple of common measurements used are: • What is the percentage of missions giving compared to the total, non-capital-project (i.e. – building, major repair/improvement, land acquisition, major equipment type projects) giving of the church? • What is the per-capita or per-giving-unit (i.e. – nuclear family units) giving to missions? • How does the growth of missions giving or expenses compare to the growth of general funds giving or expenses? • How does the growth of missions giving compare to previous years? – in dollars? or in percentage? • Monthly reports of missions giving vs. pledges and Year-To-Date data. If treasure investment is an indicator of heart priorities, as Jesus indicated, then these measurements should not feel threatening. Rather, they should be a valid indicator of the church’s priorities. Promotion for missions giving is strongly tied to values and rationale. “Why” is question that donor-participants will ask. Why should we give more? What is different? What vision or direction does my increased giving enable? Does the missions team earn the respect of the church in integrity and effectiveness of financial stewardship of the funds entrusted to them? Having a dynamic focus or goal is a very positive factor in promotion for missions funding. Even if it is only the satisfaction of raising the percentage another notch, people can grasp that. We have encouraged some churches to adopt a policy of encasing their missions giving by not less than 1% per year and committing to not retreat from the active percentage until they reach the goal of 25% of gross church income (less capital projects) given to missions. A few churches pride themselves in stretching to give 50% of their income to missions. While that is noteworthy and outstanding, it may not always be wise. There are a few church situations in which such a performance level might be commendable; e.g. – all the church properties and buildings are paid off; the church body is particularly affluent; or, there is some endowment fund for missions. However, we don’t recommend a 50% missions giving target for most churches. An annual appeal, based on a report of activities and stewardship, is usually the foundation for missions funding promotion. Clear and distinctive explanation and materials for “faith promise” along with clear goals for the coming year’s projected use of funds are common. Anything that can be said or done during Sunday meeting is helpful to keep the giving goals in front of the church body: concise and high quality PowerPoint slides, video clips, brochures, pledge cards, etc. Mission Advocates in small groups and Sunday School classes of all types and age-groups can remind congregants of the missions funding goals. Having a target date and making public the aggregate results of the drive are encouraging to all. As the church body matures, it might be worth discussing how your missions team or church leadership might tastefully approach and provide resources to your aging constituents about remembering your church missions efforts and/or the church general funds in their estate planning, i.e. – wills, trusts, bequests, endowments, etc. A presentation might be made to the seniors group annually or biennially, again only in a very tasteful and sensitive manner.
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How do we raise up missionaries from our congregation?


It isn’t trite to say that we don’t raise up missionaries from our congregation, God does. On the other hand, humanly speaking, church leaders and particularly missions team leaders have a role in challenging and guiding people in their sphere of spiritual responsibility toward high levels of service and commitment to the Lord, even full time vocational commitment. Andrew Murray’s classic thesis in his book, The Missionary Problem, shows that responsibility for decline of missionary interest in recruits lies with the leadership of the local church. Paul and Barnabas were tapped and set apart for missionary service while serving in their local church. Timothy was drafted (not a volunteer!) as Paul’s assistant on his missionary team upon the selection and recommendation of his church leaders. Paul’s request to the Roman church in Romans chapter 15 implies that the leaders of that church would have personnel and finances prepared to go along with Paul to his prospective pioneering ministry in the region of Spain. As we see local churches planted and developed through the book of Acts and the epistles, church elders and deacons and servants-ministers-apostles [note: lower-case “a” apostles] of the church were recognized by their character, gifts, and calling from within the local body. So, it should not be unusual to think that the local church would recognize those from among themselves who have particular passion and gifts for cross-cultural service to take the Gospel to the unreached far beyond the local scope of church ministries. This section will not deal with the issue of “a missionary call”. However, suffice it to say that, when the Lord gives and unquenchable urge to pursue the challenge of missionary service, coupled with qualifications and gifts observable to the body at large and to the church leadership in particular, the missions team should make every effort to take note, encourage, mentor, and guide such a one toward fulfillment of the church’s vision, goals, and priorities in world missions. Most long-term members and lay leaders in a good Bible teaching church already have enough knowledge and resources to begin specialized training as a missionary candidate. The process generally starts with a potential candidate letting someone know that they feel called to missions. Depending on their maturity and stage of life, the missions team can fuel that fire with prayer and appropriate assignments to build their Liverpool-theological convictions and practical ministry skills and experience to that end. The church elders or leadership body may have certain academic (whether formal or informal) requirements. In-depth mentoring, including personal counseling, should be assigned and tracked by leadership. The missions leadership will want to be involved with the selection of a prospective ministry and ministry target, hopefully in alignment with established church missions strategy, priorities, and/or focus. There is a choice about a sending agency partner and the terms of that partnership. Over time, the candidate will fulfill all requirements to be recognized by the church as a “homegrown” missionary. The church will be ready to celebrate the official commissioning of your missionary. The sending of a missionary from your own congregation is an awesome event and responsibility. Most congregations who experience it report that no other single factor has ever had such a huge impact on their church’s involvement and ownership of world missions. You are sending one of your own! This new missionary or missionary family has been tested and verified through your congregation. They have close family and relatives within the church. They have dear friends who have watched them grow and develop their calling. Many will give in support in hundreds of sacrificial ways, both small and large, to see their missionary, who represents them, be effective for the long term on the field reaching people for Jesus’ sake. There is nothing quite like the energy and enthusiasm of a church sending one of their own to the field! Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What is our responsibility to missionaries sent out from our church?


It is a mistake at every level to assume that your homegrown missionary’s sending agency is going to provide the shepherding care needed over the long haul. When serious crises happen on the field or the missionary is terminated, the sending agency inevitably turns over the wounded missionary to their home church. If the sending church is going to be responsible for picking up the pieces of a shattered marriage, family, or life, it is in your best interests to be involved from the beginning and come alongside with preventative maintenance, pastoral care, conflict resolution, and strategic guidance all along the way. In a sense, we believe the home or sending church has a responsibility to ensure the financial support of your missionary. This doesn’t mean that all the funds have to come from your church. Rather, it means that your missions team or the designated support team for your missionary comes alongside to assist an advocate for whatever fundraising needs there are. Accountability during the deputation process, creative assistance in developing partnership materials and presentations, targeted prayer for the fundraising process, administrative assistants for mailings and phone calls–the home church can get involved in all these areas. Mental, emotional, and spiritual needs are best met through the like-minded fellowship and relationships of your church with your missionary. After all, your church knows them best; you helped guide and prepare them for the field. The local church training or mentoring process no doubt included many hours of private discussion and counsel in which there attitudes and outlook were tuned to meet the extraordinary challenges of cross-cultural living in their appointed place of service. Continuing to get beneath the surface and ask, from a foundation of genuine love and concern, the hard questions about their spiritual life, marriage, family relationships, team relationships on the field, how they’re handling difficulties, etc. should be practically second nature for the missions leadership of the church. The local church must develop and insist on a deep level of honesty and transparency with their missionary. The goal is long-term effectiveness for the glory of God. The stakes are high. So the level of ownership, communication, and loving concern must also be high. There is indeed a special responsibility toward the missionaries sent out from your local church. And, you hope and pray that other missionaries you support come from churches actively fulfilling their responsibilities as a sending church, also. Missionaries that have such a loving and generous accountability with their home church are the envy of other missionaries on the field.




How is "sending" different from "supporting"?


The short answer is this:
The sending church should take responsibility for guiding and shepherding and supporting their missionary in every way, from initial candidacy to retirement. The supporting church may have as little relationship as functioning like a paymaster or as significant a relationship and ownership of their ministry as the sending church, without having "the buck stops here" responsibly. One pastor, speaking to one of the supported missionaries of the church, said, "We may not be your sending church; but we want to become your favorite church." Such warmth and dedication bodes well for that churches relationships with all of their missionaries. As supporting church needs to respect the role of the sending church and, if necessary, encourage the sending church to step up their responsibilities. It is normal in the application process for support that the supporting church would ask the prospective supported missionary who is their sending church and who is the primary contact person in that church responsible for oversight of their ministry on the field Likewise, the sending church should find out the names and contact persons of other supporting churches of their missionary. There are a number of times when knowing that information can be useful. E.g.:

  • coordinating STM teams to their field ministry
  • making urgent prayer requests known on their behalf
  • coordinating promotion and development for special fundraising needs or projects
  • enlisting resources and help for special needs for counseling, housing, transportation, health issues, etc.
Certain crisis situations may require that the supporters back home act quickly and in concert with one another in order to respond best to the crisis at hand. Prior knowledge of contact information and a respectful acknowledgment of sending in supporting roles can be of great comfort and help if and when a crisis really happens.




How narrow or wide should our interests be?


It’s amazing how thoughtless church missions trends can sometimes be. In the 1970s (and possibly earlier) many churches thought it was virtuous to support as many missionaries as possible. The only way it was feasible for a local church to do that was to support missionaries for relatively low amounts. So, typically, a church would try to put as many stick pins in the world map as possible supporting as many missionaries as possible for $25 per month or $50 per month. If the church was financially able or had a special relationship with a particular missionary they might support some of them for $100 a month. One church made it their stated goal to put a missionary support pin in every country (or at least every continent) on the map. This is not only shallow, it exhibits an arrogant self-centeredness and extremely poor strategic value. The results of such thinking in using a total shotgun approach was superficial relationships with missionaries. Further, missionaries felt a financial obligation to keep a frenetic pace of travel during furloughs in order to touch base with tens if not scores of churches that supported them. We suppose it is possible to err on the side of being too narrow. If a local church consciously narrows their vision to an exclusive focus, they may miss out on the joy of learning how God is moving and working in other parts of the world. They may also limit or rebuff open doors of opportunity to their people who may feel called to express or pursue ministry in other areas which are not a part of that exclusive focus. The answer of course, as in many areas of Christian life and ministry, is a balance. The men and women and ministries your church supports should definitely remain in alignment with your doctrine and priorities. Your missionaries are, after all, an extension of your local church to the unreached world. Their teaching, methodology, and end goals should appropriately represent your church and its biblical distinctives (this is not to say your Western cultural expression). So, as your church grows, you will be able to take on an expanding number of missionaries, ministries, and foci. We recommend that you not take on more relationships then you can adequately fulfill to a significant amount of depth and accountability. It will probably be different from church to church. It becomes obvious that your church has too many missionaries and ministries on its support roster when significant life and ministry changes fall through the cracks and you don’t find out about it until much too late. One of the best reasons to cut back your missionary support list is that God is raising up more workers from your congregation which have become a financial priority. Another good reason is that your church leadership has agreed to pursue a particular strategic focus which, by attrition, will begin to graciously pare down those missions interests which do not fit. Balance, prayer, and grace need to be exercised generously. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we avoid (or overcome) a shotgun approach?


If you are asking this question, it assumes that your presently not experiencing the shotgun approach. Prevention is always easier than the cure.

  1. Define missions for your church. If you don’t define it, that it becomes very difficult to figure out the boundaries of what is allowed and what is not.
  2. Establish the missions priorities of your church. It’s important for leadership and decision makers to have a common understanding of what is significant and important versus all the rest. There are always choices between good, better, and best in ministry. One of the most difficult skills is learning how to say “yes” to the right stuff and “no” to all the good stuff that can keep you from doing the best stuff. Also, there are missions ministries out there that are not even good or fitting for your church’s involvement. Commonly churches will identify pioneer evangelism, church planting, and leadership training among their top priorities. Further down the list may be such missionary activities as community development, field support ministries, and literature or media development. This is not to say that these things could not be strategic and on target for your churches missionary interests. I.e.- your church’s priorities might be appropriately influenced by your constituency, particular skill set, or strategic focus. It might also be highly influenced by the target ministry population. For example, if you have a prayerful vision to reach unreached people groups in a creative access Muslim country, it may be of highest priority for you to support someone through a Business As Mission platform; strictly speaking, that person may not look like the traditional, full-time church planter, even though their daily activities support church planting as the long-term ministry result. Typical ministries which fall lowest on the list are relief and development efforts which are strictly humanitarian and don’t have a specific Gospel, evangelistic, or church planting development goal or component.
  3. Set criteria for acceptance of missionaries for support. Included in the application process might be some review of their missions training and doctrinal alignment with your church. Many churches include specific requirements for accountability and communication, including prayer requests. We know of some churches who have unwittingly supported missionaries with divergent or even divisive views on important issues. Some churches have terminated missionaries who have failed to communicate frequently or well enough, thus preventing them from fulfilling their role in support and prayer. Clearly articulated expectations at the beginning will prevent problems and misunderstandings later. Train them early and, “when they are old” they will not depart from it.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How should we select missionaries to support?


If you read the previous section, you will know that working with your missions team leadership (and church leadership) in advance can save you a lot of difficulty in the selection process. So, please take the time to:

  • define "missions for your church"
  • establish the missions priorities of your church
  • set minimum criteria for acceptance of missionaries with respect to qualifications, ministry goals or focus, etc.
After you have worked out that framework, then an application form that expresses those things will go a long way toward helping you make the support recommendation. You want to be diligent at this stage and then make a commitment to the right people. Having mutually agreed upon and understood principles for support priorities will enable the Missions Team (and church leaders) to more easily say, "No," to many good things in order to be able to say, "Yes," to the best things. Quite often your selection will want to identify two lines of priority: - relationship to the church -ministry type and goals with respect to the church's priorities If the candidate is "home-grown", has the required character and training, and is aiming at ministry in the highest missions priorities of the church, then that candidate is almost automatic affirmative for support. If the candidate does not understand or agree with your definitions, priorities, or doesn't meet your criteria, then that candidate is an easy one to decline for support. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can we hold them all accountable?


Expectations are important from the beginning. Your missionaries need to know what is expected of them with respect to accountability. The day-to-day activities of their ministry on the field will be accountable primarily to their team and/or field leadership. If you are the sending church, it is appropriate for you to request your sent missionary to release or allow the release of any quarterly, annual, or term field evaluations and reports to your church missions leadership. It is important to assure all parties involved of the church’s trustworthiness with respect to how such reports and evaluations might be used and limiting the circle of information to appropriate church leaders. Several Propempo resources in the Library section of Propempo.com relate to this topic. Samples of Annual Information Reports and similar missionary questionnaires will be posted there or connected to case studies in Propempo.com’s Community section. What kind of questions are appropriate for your local church to ask? Below is a list of suggested categories.

  • health issues
  • marriage and family issues
  • personal holiness, growth in sanctification, moral purity
  • behavior and adjustment of their children
  • financial needs
  • spiritual nurture and/or concerns
  • living conditions
  • quality, availability, and status or transportation
  • progress in language and culture learning
  • development of relationships with nationals (and/or national believers)
  • quarterly or annual goals
  • achievement or status of past quarterly or annual goals
  • "Blue Sky" vision or prayer requests (e.g.- "if only we had...", or "if only such and such happened...", or "if God gave us unlimited resources we would...")
In these days of virtually ubiquitous access to e-mail and the Internet, this kind of communication and interaction should be normal. Though, remember that your missionaries live a very full life. Often they feel on call 24-7. Sometimes they may be traveling or in the midst of a multi-day or multi week event which takes them out of the loop of normal communication. So they need grace for a long lead time to complete your questionnaire. Don’t expect to send it out one day and receive all the replies from all your missionaries back the next day, like you might from someone locally within your church body. Your procrastination (this is purely hypothetical) does not automatically create a crisis on their part to answer on your rushed timetable. Three notes regarding the implementation of accountability questionnaires for your missionaries:
  1. Missionaries, typically, are not eager to receive and spend the time necessary to complete lengthy, detailed questionnaires for accountability. There are two things that can make the process easier for you and for them: 1/ Don’t make them answer items to which you should already know the answer (e.g. – birthdays, allocation of service and type of ministry, field address), unless there has been some change in their basic information; and, 2/ Allow them to copy your church in the answers they have already produced for some other church’s questionnaire.
  2. Make sure that the missionaries who receive your questionnaires understand that your intent is for their good. Answers they give should be intended to improve relationship, prayer support, and shepherding. They should not normally be used as a qualifying litmus test for financial support.
  3. The depth and intimacy of questions asked is based on your track record of depth and intimacy of relationship. It is patently unfair to ask pointed questions about the couple’s marriage relationship if you have not already built a foundation of trusting relationship from which to pose the question. On the other hand, if you have already proven to be a caring, shepherding leadership to them, it is perfectly appropriate for you to inquire about the status and quality of their relationships with each other, with the Lord, with their team, and with their local community.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we relate to their work on the field?


It is important to understand your role with respect to the work on the field. If your missionary is working under a sending agency, the primary responsibility for supervision, strategy, and results lies with the agency. If your missionary is sent out from your church, you have a significant responsibility with respect to partnership with the agency leadership at all levels directly affecting your missionary (assuming they are sent out under a mission agency). If your missionary is not sent from your church but your church feels a significant ownership relationship, then your communication and responsibility must be in harmony with the sending church and sending agency. Given these basic boundaries, your missionary is basically an extension of your church ministries. You will want to know about their ministry goals and how they intend to achieve them. You’ll want to be informed about prayer needs, obstacles or difficulties in the work, and specific milestones. In most cases, wherever possible, we recommend that the senior pastor and/or mission staff plan to visit each missionary of the church having a significant support relationship over the course of time. We will give some recommendations to pastors about this visit in another section, but suffice it to say here that the intention of this visit is not to put the visiting church leader and a spotlight ministry or a whirlwind tour of the country. The purpose of this visit should be pastoral, observational, and fact-finding in nature. It helps the church discover through its representative what life is like for your missionary. Though it may highlight concerns that may require more follow-up, it is primarily for encouragement and relationship building. Extended communication and visitation can produce awareness of specific details in which the church might serve the missionary by providing resources and assistance beyond the usual financial and spiritual support. You may discover that your missionary means a better water supply, or computer support, improved security, shipment of schoolbooks or games or periodicals. Leveraging the many ways which church members may travel in these days (e.g.-using frequent flyer miles, add ons to business travel, nonrevenue flight passes) can improve your opportunities for regular “missionary care” visits. When it is appropriate or may be needed, hopefully with the full knowledge and approval of field leadership, you may want to be involved in guiding and assisting in the strategy for ministry in their field. Certainly you will be involved through prayer. Field-based information and culture should prevail over any Western culture generated or oriented or initiated plans. However your missionary might have genuine need for a sounding board on strategy. That means you, as a missions leader, or someone designated might need to do a lot of study and investigation in order to get up to speed on the issues facing your missionary and the scope of strategies and methodologies which may fit. Be very cautious and sensitive about entering the arena of field strategy. There are so many relationships and cultural issues to keep in balance. It is best not to initiate, but to wait for an invitation to offer suggestions only based on the solid footing of your established relationship and reputation with your missionary. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadbale resources.




How important is it that our missionaries have the same doctrine?


Hopefully, this issue arises in the process of first examining and interviewing a missionary to determine their qualifications and fitness for support from your church. Occasionally, you may have this problem if the missionary changes their doctrine while on the field or if you have already had a support relationship with them before you defined some doctrinal criteria. It is not enough to assume that, just because a missionary candidate may come to you from some well-established mission sending agency, they are actually in doctrinal alignment with your church. Failing to ascertain the divergence could prove to be embarrassing and difficult in the future. Generic evangelical statements of faith abound; they are intentionally broad and might be interpreted in many ways. On the other hand, seeking to coerce missionary candidates to comply with every jot and title of your church’s statement of faith to whatever degree of specificity you require might be too extreme. We hope that, no matter what their role on the field, the missionary candidate has received enough Bible and theology training to have sound discernment about Christian life and witness in a cross-cultural context. You certainly don’t want to support a missionary for many years on the field only to discover that the fruit of their ministry would not be acceptable in your church. We’re not talking about styles of clothing or benign cultural practices. Can your would-be missionary be trusted to evangelize, disciple, train leaders, and plant churches following biblical principles and methodologies with which your church would agree? Unfortunately, every year Propempo receives calls from churches asking for advice about how to either correct a wayward missionary or graciously break off the relationship because of this very problem. While this is difficult, it is at least indicative of a caring church. More unfortunate are those situations in which the wayward missionary goes unchecked and teams on the field are fractured leaving their ministry in a shambles. Besides the problem of misrepresenting your church and its doctrine on the field, a supported missionary automatically receives a certain aura of authority and influence in the church. Especially when they come home, errant missionaries can have a very divisive impact on the church body. It’s always better to begin to deal with this sooner than later and with a loving attitude. Doctrinal misalignment is not always the fault of the missionary. Sometimes a church may change its doctrinal position. A missionary with a teachable spirit will be receptive to guidance and discipleship toward alignment with the church. In either case we recommend a Matthew 18 type process to graciously disciple, instruct, and “restore” doctrinal alignment and full, confident fellowship. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What should be our priotities for funding?


This is actually a bigger topic than can be addressed in one small section. Churches may use a variety of criteria by which they evaluate priorities for funding. Typical criteria may be spectrums of:

  • domestic to foreign
  • near culture to cross culture
  • acquaintance to homegrown from the church family
  • support ministry to “pioneering” ministry
  • small field impact to multi field impact (leadership)
  • established field to unreached people group
  • lower priority ministry to higher priority ministry
Some churches have actually built an objective system by which relative points are assigned to the various options within each category of criteria. Then the missions leadership chooses a minimum sum of all these points to determine which candidates might qualify for further interview and evaluation. We recommend for most churches a fairly simple concept which assigns higher support values to missionaries with the closest relationship to the church and having the highest priority ministry (e.g.-unreached people group, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, leadership training). These two axes on a simple Cartesian coordinate graph are relatively intuitive and easy to implement. Homegrown missionaries targeting an unreached people group with pioneering evangelism and discipleship would receive the most possible support. Acquaintances of the church targeting a well-established field with support/admin ministry would receive the lowest support. It’s good to do some study and have some discussion about missions in general and mission strategy and specific before your team sets out policy on paper. It might be a good thing to have someone experienced in missions, and talk to your group or have a training about field strategies. One or more of your missions team might take the Perspectives course. Of course if this discussion is new to your team you’re going to face people who are very concerned about the ramifications of these decisions on missionaries with whom your church has already had a long relationship of support. We recommend that, for the sake of the discussion, you “grandfather” all present support commitments. Then, you can study and talk about the ideal without having the present possible discrepancies cloud the issues. After you have decided on your criteria and priorities you can go back and consider how to graciously bring your churches missionary commitments into alignment. There are a number of natural checkpoints at which natural attrition will bring your missionary commitments into alignment over time (e.g.- normal furloughs, attrition from the field, retirement, shifting of the missionaries field assignment, discipleship and guidance of the missionary in question). Propempo is a charitable mission organization, too! Please prayerfully consider donating to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International. You can give through automatic bank or credit card drafts by using your own online banking system. You can also give securely though Paypal. Just click on this message to go to our “Support Propempo” Donation page for further details. Come back to this page for further additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we cut back our budget when funds are tight?


The issue of cutting missionary support has caused many a sleepless night. Many churches have made significant sacrifices to keep their missionary commitments on par even when finances for the church at large and the local staff may have fallen considerably. While this is admirable, there are times when the church needs to cut back on their missionaries support. Usually the financial crunch is not so unexpected that the possibility of cutbacks should be a surprise. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to your missionaries either. Well before decisions about cuts have to be made, your missions team should inform your missionaries about the potential for impending cuts and asking them to pray for God supply and wisdom in your stewardship. The same principles applied to decisions about the amount of support for a missionary’s original support can be used as criteria to help you decide when and how much to trim your missions support budget. Some churches use a flat percentage cut across the board. Other churches use the opportunity to trim missionaries whose ministries fall along the edges of priorities and relationships before moving the scalpel closer. Some churches feel compelled, whatever the motivation, to try to make up support that has been cut as soon as possible, as financial income allows. Remember that, unless your people are under a denominationally subsidized system, financial support in the modern missionary era is entirely “by faith”. Missionaries do not have a guaranteed entitlement. Their dependence upon the Lord is a positive and real experience. So, your church doesn’t need to feel guilty when economic downturn pinches your missions giving. Good communication and gracious tapering off, rather than precipitous drops, go a long way toward reducing the pain of loss. Generally speaking, it is easier for a missionary to raise support while on the home side than it is from the field.
On a rare occasion, after you have informed your missionary family about potential cuts, you may hear back from one of them volunteering to receive less. There are missionaries out there who have more than enough and are willing to share the financial crunch rather than see others, who may need it more, suffer. Again, we underline that a strong, loving shepherding relationship and good communication facilitate this level of fellowship in ministry. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we graciously release missionaries from support?


There are a number of reasons why the church might choose to no longer support a missionary. Here are some of them:

  • the church has split or disintegrated or closed
  • the missionary has left the ministry for which the church was supporting them
  • the missionary (or their agency) has diverged or departed from the churches doctrinal, strategic, or methodological values
  • the church has diverged or departed from the missionary’s doctrinal, strategic, or methodological values
  • economic hardship has hit the church family
  • the missionary has fallen into sin and must be disciplined or released from ministry
  • the missionary has personal issues which eclipse their capacity for fulfilling the ministry for which the church was supporting them
Good communication and a caring shepherding relationship make release from support easier. It is a good thing to inform the missionary as soon as the church missions leadership knows that release from support is possible. It is helpful to have a face-to-face debrief interview. It’s even better, though rare, for the missionary to initiate closure or communication when they sense such a cut coming. Gracious churches often specify a period of tapering down support over the course of 3 months, 6 months, or a year. If the cause of support cuts is a dramatic economic hardship, then you should not be embarrassed to explain that the cuts must be taken ASAP. If your church is the home or sending church of a missionary being released from support, you may go the extra mile to help the missionary raise funds to replace what is being lost. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What responsibility do we have for missionary shepherding?


First of all you might want to think about what is missionary shepherding. By missionary shepherding we mean the loving, relational care and concern for their well-being and spiritual fruitfulness. If a Shepherd knows his sheep then the local church, especially the sending church, should know their missionary well. In order to know them well, the church, especially through its missions leadership, needs to interact with them and communicate regularly. Missionary shepherding includes knowing the health and status of their marriage, their family relationships, their physical and medical health, the key relationships in their ministry, the things that most commonly bring them joy or discouragement. “Missionary care” is often thought of as the mission sending agencies institutional human resource department or counseling functions. Think about it: most mission agencies don’t know their missionary as well as their home church should. Mission agencies get to know their missionaries through a few weeks of interviews, interaction, and paper references. Their home church gets to know them through time and real life experiences in the ups and downs of ministry and relationships in the church and in the community. The local churches in a better position to understand, probe, and meet the unique needs of their missionary. Just like a shepherd, the local church seeks to feed, nourish, guard, protect, and serve their missionary with the goal of enabling their healthy, long-term service. While regular communication and mutual prayer is important when the missionary is on the field, every opportunity for sympathetically growing deeper in relationship with them while they are home should be taken. Confidential interviews with leaders should be expected. Loving questions about their home and family life are normal in a shepherding church. Church pastors or mission leaders should inquire about their spiritual vitality, personal spiritual disciplines, and how they are getting spiritual nourishment on the field. One of the reasons the local church needs to be proactive in shepherding their missionaries is that, ultimately, the local church usually ends up with the responsibility of caring for missionaries with broken lives or ministries after the fact. How much better it would be for church to prescribe and pay for a missionary couple to go to a marriage retreat weekend rather than try to put together a broken marriage? How much better for the church to enter into solving an educational problem for one of the children then to have the whole family leave the field for lack of help? How much better for a loving church leadership to discover, confront, and turn back a missionary from sinful patterns and continue in viable field service then to be disqualified in shame? Along with cross-cultural living comes a large added layer of complexity and stresses. However, a loving church which accepts the mantle for missionary shepherding can help their missionary stay on the field, long-term, fruitfully, contentedly, for the glory of God. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What responsibility do we have for missionary counseling?


The need for missionary counseling generally refers to some crisis situation. However, the larger context of counseling in biblical terms is much more. Biblical counseling is discipleship, admonition, training, and rebuke. It is simply applying biblical principles, wisdom, and theological truths about God and the Gospel to everyday life. Hopefully your counseling role began long before your missionary first went out to the field. If you have accepted your church is significant shepherding role, then you will have been involved continuously in counseling your missionary family. But let’s turn to that crisis situation. Due to legal restrictions and IRS regulations, mission agencies are rarely able to take responsibility for long-term rehabilitation of a missionary with crisis marital, emotional, medical, or other overtly sinful behavioral patterns. Missionaries resign, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes under duress. Mission agencies come to a point at which they are no longer legally able to give tax-deductible receipts for donations designated for missionary or ministry which is unable to fulfill its functions in the mission’s authorized purpose. So, typically, the mission agency may notify the home church that the missionary is now your problem. Of course, the way your church handles this crisis may be quite different than other churches. It depends a lot on what your church’s view of and capacity for counseling is. How your church views the path of spiritual discipline and restoration plays its part. Sympathetically, the home church wants to have some responsibility for resettling the missionary family and getting them to be independent and productive members in the community. No matter which path you choose it can become a costly drain on resources, both financial, time, and personnel. The best church models that we have seen quickly develop a game plan and a point a task force or a person to be the liaison for achieving the goals of counseling or reintegration as the case may be. This is the point at which the churches policy or program with respect to a fallen staff member may come into play. Even if your church is not the sending or home church of the missionary meeting crisis intervention, when you first find out you should seek to discover if your supported missionary is receiving this kind of care or not. You may be able to help the home church do what they ought to do. Alternately, your church may offer to come alongside and assist in the process with resources or expertise that might help. Your missionary will definitely appreciate and be encouraged by your interest in their case. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What happens when the missionary comes home?


Missionaries do come home. Sometimes for training, support raising, meetings with their home office, representation or promotion of their mission. Sometimes for an appointed period of furlough or home assignment. Sometimes for family or medical reasons. Hopefully, your supported missionary will communicate with you about the timing and reasons for their visit home. “No surprises” is usually a very good policy. You should be informed or find out about the duration of their stay, their goals or expectations about Thursday, when and where will be there arrival and departure, and what, if any, will be their logistical needs. The home or sending church often has priority in time, duration, and quality of opportunities with the missionary family soon after they arrive. The home church also has the greatest responsibility for meeting logistical needs. In today’s terms that may mean providing them with a mobile phone, transportation, accommodations, assistance with appliances, tools, kitchen gear, food, references for doctors, school, drivers licenses, shopping, possibly supply of seasonally appropriate clothing, and the list goes on. An honorable missionary homecoming can be a great time of rejoicing and participation by the congregation. It is a wonderful opportunity to forge deeper relationships and provide practical assistance with which everyone can identify. People rally behind the food drive to stock the cupboards, the preparation of the rental accommodations, the gift card shower to help the missionary family by whatever stock items or clothing they need. The church is eager to hear the latest stories of life and ministry on the field. They want to see the pictures, here the reports, and praise God for what has been accomplished through their distant representative in foreign lands. Thoughtfully give your missionary space to reconnect with their extended family and simply to rest. Help them plug in to church family life. Inform them about expectations regarding attendance at services or church programs. Help them understand how their family fits in to Sunday school classes, kids clubs, small group ministries, adult Bible fellowships, etc. get them up to speed on the local favorite sports teams. Give them administrative or technical assistance at producing their presentations, new prayer cards, newsletters, etc. They will probably need advice and IT support to understand and use the latest technology, even how to use a new smart phone! Listen well. Make priority time for them to talk and decompress with mission team leadership. Understand that their children may be confused and have significant cross-cultural stress because they have spent most of their young lives in what they consider as their own home culture overseas. Help them build realistic plans for their time at home. Bottom line, a missionary coming home should be a little bit like a joyful family reunion. It doesn’t happen very often; so you have to make the most of it when it comes. Make sure they know that they are loved. Make sure they know that, even when you have to say difficult things, they are accepted as valued members of your church family. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we help a missionary re-enter back home?


Since we have already dealt with ideas regarding a missionary returning home for a furlough or home assignment, we will treat the term “reentry” in this section as referring to the missionaries terminal leave back to their home country. Missionaries could reenter back home permanently at any stage:

  • after only a short time on the field, due to severe culture shock, maladjustment, disease, or any number of personal issues
  • after one term of service, due to a variety of reasons, including the possibility of interpersonal relational stress
  • after several terms of service, due to completion of a specific ministry goal, civil or international war, sociopolitical rejection, loss of a valid visa, etc.
  • after a long career of service, due to physical incapacity, request to assist in the home office, or retirement
Communication in the context of loving shepherding relationship is, again, key to unlocking any difficulties that may arise in the reentry process. Appropriate and thorough debriefing with your church pastoral and/or missions leadership staff is essential. Take care to not rush this. Pushing too soon to effect an intense interview schedule is unnecessary. Remember that your dear missionaries are probably reeling in heart and mind from the magnitude of making such a huge shift in their life. Even if they are retiring, they are retiring back into a culture that has changed drastically while they’ve been away for years and years. Their home country, its culture, and its technology has made radical progress since their first departure. If your missionary family is returning home for good after less than 20 years away, they may face even more crises trying to find a new career at midlife. Most missionaries first leave for the field declaring their unswerving commitment to a life of service overseas, proclaiming God’s call on their lives, and making large sacrifices vocationally, emotionally, and materially in order to go. Coming back some time short of retirement can carry a stigma which is difficult to shake. Now they have to explain to everyone why they came back. And those reasons are not always so clear. And those reasons do not usually include some real reasons between the lines or behind the scenes or buried deeply. So, you can see that debriefing needs to be done in a sensitive, loving way. You may need to dig a little bit to find out from your missionaries what their real financial needs are. It’s not unusual for missionaries retiring from the field to still need some level of support for some years to come. Many of our older missionary friends have given little thought to retirement support and may have made large assumptions about the level and quality of financial security under a government Social Security system. They may not have raised funds for or contributed to a corporate retirement account. Missionaries who have not attained retirement age and come home permanently have probably not built up enough retirement income and don’t qualify in years. The church doesn’t have responsibility to assume financial management for all their needs. However the church may have responsibility to find out what resources your reentry missionary has and to help them connect with public or private resources to help them in their situation. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What happens when a missionary retires?


Celebrate! This is the crossing of a finish line in a marathon race! Make sure they have time to be properly honored and told her story. Give them access to Sunday school classes, small groups, and the youth group. Help them put together presentations that give glory to God and perspective on their ministry over the years. Really very few missionaries who start out for the field so young and energetic get to serve for 25 to 50 years on the field. That level of faithfulness, sacrifice, and steadfast service should become a respected model for everyone in your congregation. Now, those honored servants will have special needs. The missionary enterprise in North America is at a unique juncture in history. There was a huge wave of missionaries going out to the field in the 10 to 15 years immediately after World War II. Most of those went out with bright ambition and filled with faith to new fields, new horizons bristling with opportunity for the Gospel. Most of those have already retired. New missionaries, going out in the 1960s and 1970s, stepped out to push those pioneering boundaries even further geographically, technologically, and linguistically. In the footsteps of the earlier generation, mission agencies and their missionaries often thought in terms of “the Lord will take care of you” without planning for financial security in retirement. Thankfully, most mission agencies by the late 1970s to mid-1980s started building serious retirement increments and plans into their missionaries support schedules. There have been agencies (and still are!) which counseled their missionaries to opt out of Social Security. So, missionaries who left the shores of the United States assuming that “the Lord will take care of us”, the church will take care of us, God’s people will take care of us, and made no provision for retirement finances and even opted out of Social Security, those missionaries have nothing. Hopefully, your candid conversation with your missionaries will include some indication of their financial plans for retirement. Their resources for retirement may include : their family, their inheritance, their capacity for meaningful work or contribution to ministry for remuneration, Social Security, other government programs for insurance or disability, special missionary retirement facilities, arrangements with their mission agency, some level of continuing support. It would be wise for someone in your congregation to sit down with your missionaries early in their planning stages, even 10 to 20 years before their anticipated retirement, to help them think through financial planning for their future. It’s a good thing to establish regular checkpoints for tracking with your retired missionary no matter where they settle. Find out about their ongoing health concerns, their relationship with their family, and their financial status or needs. If they settle away from your church area, it would be gracious and helpful to make sure that someone from your church stops by to visit them from time to time to check up on them. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What happens when a missionary has a major change?


Any major change is a signal for reevaluation. Hopefully your church and your missionary have such good and frequent communication that this major change is no surprise. When there is a major change you need to ask some of the original questions that you ask of any missionary applicant for support. Does their new ministry fall within your churches missions ministry priorities? Are they still in alignment with your churches doctrine and values? Are there good reasons for the change with which your church leadership would agree? How does the missionary’s change affect your churches relationship with their previous ministry and their prospective ministry? How does their new ministry fit into your church? And, how does your church fit into their new ministry? There is another aspect of relationship which all major change calls into question. That is the relationship between your church missions leadership and your missionaries sending agency (assuming there is one). Hopefully you are on a 1st name basis with your missionary’s immediate organizational leadership. Also, hopefully, if you were the home or sending church your missionary would have tipped you off to this decision so that your church’s guidance could be part of the equation. You must enter that arena with great respect and care; you are the outsider; you don’t know as much about the local culture or environment; you don’t know the larger personnel needs of the mission. However, you should know your missionary and their ministry capacity and their family concerns as well or better than a regional manager. Take care to not always side with your missionary by default in every dispute. They might be in the wrong. You need to hear both sides of the story. Your role just might be to admonish your missionary and get them to honor and comply with the authority of the mission. When a major change happens and your church missions leadership is an agreement, then appropriate information needs to be disseminated through church leaders to the entire church body as soon as possible. You don’t want the missionary returning home for a quick visit to find a Sunday school class has been praying for the wrong ministry for a whole year. Affirm your missionary of your church’s continuing love and support. In the case of a major change happening and reevaluation concluding that this new direction is not in line with your church’s priorities, you should inform your missionary as soon as possible of the probable changes to their support. Explain the reasons behind the decision and the process of transition from their previous support level to whatever may be the new support level (or none). Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we handle a problem missionary?


We hope that you have read some of the sections previous to this one. If so, you would have learned about the importance of shepherding care for your missionaries. You will already know about the priority of regular communication. A “problem missionary” should never be new news to the home or sending church. One of the issues you will have to face right away in dealing with a problem missionary is discernment. Who should you believe? And, to what extent? No doubt you will be getting information from different sources, some of which may be extremely troubling. If you have had any hint of problems with this missionary, you will know that you shouldn’t completely trust their perspective exclusively. You must do whatever it takes to hear “both sides of the story”. You probably had some inkling that this particular missionary might have this particular kind of problem before it ever emerged. In the pre-field training process, or in the evaluation as a missionary candidate, or in counseling prior to their leaving for the field, you probably had or should have had some indications that would give you for warning. Ignoring the problem never works. Problems tend to only grow worse and larger in scope the longer their left unattended. It’s best to get together directly with the missionary, face-to-face if possible, or by Skype or by phone or by Internet chat. Tell them what you know or have heard via a third-party or even a rumor. Ask them for an explanation. Also ask them for a reference to verify their explanation. You may need to seek a separate, private interview or audience with their spouse. Even then it’s best, if possible, to find an objective third-party. If the problem behavior is a one-time event, then it may be handled in a completely different way than if it is a consistent pattern of behavior. If it is overtly sinful, then it may be handled in a different way than an irascible personality trait. If it is discerned to be destructive to their testimony or ministry, decisions may need to be made much more quickly. We have known instances in which the home church pastor completely changed his personal plans to travel to the field himself in order to deal with the situation face-to-face. This would only be required in the rarest of situations. Typically, the field leadership really can be trusted to do the right thing and to act in the best interests of the missionary involved and their home church when the communication and information is flowing freely. Sometimes assistance from the home church might be in order for someone to accompany the missionary and or their family back home in order to best guide and protect them as they travel with all the logistics of family, luggage, multiple check-in’s, immigration checkpoints, etc. The missionary may face difficult debriefing and discipline issues with the home office. The home office may request to visit and/or debrief the home church leadership regarding the problem. Usually, if the problem is of such magnitude that the missionary has to leave the field and/or leave the mission, the home church will get some notice from the mission. On the other hand, some mission agencies, fearing litigation, completely close down communication about the issue while abruptly terminating the missionary with little or no explanation to there supporting churches. In such cases, the church may not have opportunity to get additional or objective perspective on the problems caused by the missionary on the field. Whatever the official position of the mission agency (or the missionary, or whatever “they” decide will be the public reason) the church should not fail to try to get whatever information, good, bad, or ugly, about their problem missionary in order to best serve them in correction and restoration. Missionaries are real people with real problems and real sin. It is only by God’s grace that they are able to serve at all. No one has a right or entitlement to serve as a missionary, supported by God’s people, no matter how strongly they feel about their call or how brilliant they think their ministry or strategy may be. There are biblical disqualifications for ministry. There are also legitimate incompatibilities in ministry. There are predilections of proud and sinful personality and sinful behaviors which discredit and negate an otherwise effective ministry. Sending churches must sometimes exercise tough love by speaking the truth with grace and not giving in to enabling support. If you have a problem missionary, deal with it! Get to the bottom of it quickly! Find out both sides of the story as soon as possible. Do as much as you can to balance grace and truth, while providing the resources for your problem missionary to overcome their problem, if possible. Protect the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Propempo is a charitable mission organization, too! Please prayerfully consider donating to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International. You can give through automatic bank or credit card drafts by using your own online banking system. You can also give securely though Paypal. Just click on this message to go to our “Support Propempo” Donation page for further details. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can we help the church build ownership of a field ministry?


Every field ministry has multifaceted interest for your congregation. Every field ministry has unique challenges in logistics, housing, transportation, technology, children’s education, visa requirements, ministry goals of environment, etc. If you simply ask your missionary what challenges they face on the field in these areas, you’ll get answers which help frame possibilities for your congregation to be involved. It may be as simple as a housewife in your church collecting magazines of common interest to send or give at some regular interval. Current prayer requests provided in a format that families can easily access and use are very helpful. Small groups “adopting” a missionary family and remembering every member of that family on their birthday is a simple way for even children to make handmade cards and get involved. If your church is the sending church you will probably want to develop a “sending team” or “Barnabas team” or support team. This smaller subset of the church has larger ownership of the missionary and their field ministry. They get involved with support at every level: encouragement, prayer, logistical, financial, communication, and reentry. Of course, there’s nothing like visiting the field for people in your congregation to get a feel and taste for life and ministry there. They will get it in their blood. It will become wired into their DNA. Coordinating with your missionary to host a short term ministry team from your church to do specific things that would be difficult or impossible to do without that manpower are incredible opportunities for building ownership. Opportunities abound whenever your missionary visits the church. People love to get to know missionaries as real people sitting around the table eating meals, sharing their house, playing games together, going on outings together, etc. Many young people point to personal contact with missionaries in their family home as an integral complement of their eventual call into missions. Help your missionary find ways in which your church family can identify with special concerns or environment on the field: tradesmen, hobbies, professionals, architecture, crafts, unique geography or geology or marine life or agriculture, all of these things are commonplace to the missionary on the field; but there are also touch points of curiosity and interest for your church family to relate to that field ministry and develop a sense of ownership. Establishing a "Barnabas Team" - policy from Bethlehem Baptist Barnabas Team Roles Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How should we recruit new members to the Missions Team?


Different churches think in very different ways about volunteer staffing of their church ministry teams or committees. Your church may have a preestablished pattern or ethos which determines how you recruit new members to your missions team. Based on your churches expectations, whether through denominational tradition or independent practice, you may be virtually required to have a cross-section of the church body on your missions team. In other words you might have representatives from the youth group, the women’s ministry, the men’s ministry, the leadership board, etc. each appointed for a particular term of service to the missions team. While representatives seem like a noble democratic ideal, this arrangement is far from functionally effective. Some churches rely on a volunteer basis. Put up a sign-up list; see who signs up; choose from those. This also is less than ideal. Most ideal, but rarely attainable, is outlining the skills and expertise needed to operate an effective missions team then go after and recruit those people as members. It seems that most mission teams are comprised of people who have serious interest in world missions and are also very busy in other aspects of church ministries. People who have a heart level interest in missions are usually also very interested in outreach. Often they come to the table with some preestablished ideas and preestablished relationships; therefore they have a preestablished agenda. One key to having an effective missions team is to provide enough common orientation and training that everyone is using the same terminology in the same way, understands the framework of the missions team, understands that the missions team serves the church rather than doing missions on behalf of the church, and is willing to lay whatever personal agenda they have aside in order to best fulfill the ministry of the missions team. A little formula that has been helpful to us in recent years is an extension of that found in a book entitled, The Trellis and The Vine. Obviously willingness and availability are required. Beyond that you’re looking for:

  • character
  • conviction
  • competence
  • and chemistry.
Character speaks to exemplary Christian virtues and integrity. Conviction speaks to values based on biblical principles and godly wisdom. Competence speaks to specific skills needed on the team. Chemistry speaks to interpersonal relational skills and capacity for teamwork. Don’t forget to pray before, during, and after your process. Don’t forget to ask your present team members for their input and consensus regarding new ones coming on. Don’t forget to keep the entry bar high as you give new candidates required reading, orientation, and training in order to bring the men. Many churches have found it useful to have an observation period for new candidates or new team members before they are allowed to vote on issues. One reason for this is that new members may have no history of understanding of particular issues or procedures. A number of churches have found it useful to appoint married couples to the team together. This makes it easier to maintain a sense of continuity, even when one or the other of them can’t make a meeting, because they will keep each other informed about the proceedings and delegated responsibilities. As your church grows, so may the number of your missions team. Most churches find it most helpful to divide and delegate various areas of missions team responsibility to sub teams comprised of at least one missions team member responsible for that area but mostly non-missions team members who are serving on an ad hoc basis for that area. For example, it takes a lot of people to put on a good annual missions conference. All the people helping with the preparation and logistics of the missions conference don’t have to be on your missions team. In fact if your missions team does it all every year, you’ll probably have to get a new team every year. Remember that our philosophy of ministry for the missions team is to get the whole congregation involved. So it is of even higher value to recruit the involvement and participation of many people in the congregation in various smaller areas of the missions team responsibility. So, develop “Missions Advocates” in your small groups to promote prayer and care for your supported missionaries. Over time you will find out who are those most eager to help with various aspects of missions team ministry. Those people become prime candidates for future missions team member slots. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.





Celebrate

How can we get our church excited about missions?


There are a number of elements which can reliably get your church excited about missions.

  • personalize missions by getting your people face-to-face with real live missionaries
  • present them with quality media (e.g.- printed materials, graphics, audio visuals, video)
  • clearly communicate practical ways and opportunities by which they can get connected, involved, and support missions ministries
  • develop channels for building long-term relationships with missionaries and their field ministries
  • facilitate detailed and personal prayer for missionaries and their real-life issues (e.g.- living environment, cultural challenges, children and family issues, specific ministry goals)
All of these elements typically come together in some kind of annual missions celebration. Traditionally, strongly missions minded churches held special missions oriented meetings and events for an eight-day missions conference, starting on a Sunday and running through the following Sunday. In today’s world, most churches adopt a less intensive program using a half-week format (Wednesday through Sunday), a special weekend of events (Friday through Sunday), or a special series of weekends (quarterly or a couple Sundays in a row). The missions emphasis event or missions conference becomes a highlight in the church calendar. It is a celebration in which God’s work through the church to the world is displayed and everyone is invited to participate. The missions conference is a unique opportunity in the church’s life to focus on what God is doing by way of outreach to the community and to the nations. It is usually an unprecedented opportunity to launch new initiatives, promote missions education, and build stronger ownership with the missionaries and ministries you support. The key elements for getting your church excited about missions all come into play at the annual missions conference. But, your missions team also needs a plan to sustain those elements through the year. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How should we celebrate our church involvement in missions?


Your local church’s celebration of involvement in missions can take many forms. While we strongly recommend a featured annual missions emphasis event which, typically, it eclipses all other church programs or augments those programs to emphasize and celebrate missions during that emphasis time period. Here are some ideas to stimulate your imagination and creativity:

  • special missions teaching for the children's Sunday school or kids clubs
  • historic missionary biographies through dramatic reeanactment or role-play
  • physical passport-like documents which guides the users through some simulated missionary experience or global cultural exposure (from room to room)
  • lots of interesting ethnic food
  • international dress-up dinners
  • breakfast meeting with Q&A with featured missionary guests
  • funding pledge drive
  • missions movie night with popcorn and soda
  • video or Skype interview with missionaries from their field allocation
  • event launching missions banquet
  • missionary reports with plenty of audiovisuals
  • display tables with information and artifacts from the field
  • special speaker/speakers
  • plenty of colorful decorations and international flags
  • a catchy, biblically motivated slogan or theme
  • special seminars or workshops for missions education or training in specific missions involvement
  • announcement and launching of short-term missions trips or projects for the coming year
  • orientation and training for missions advocates from Sunday school classes, Bible study groups, or home groups
  • opportunities for people to sign up for specific funding or prayer support of specific missionaries and ministries approved by the church
  • opportunities for contributions, both in cash and in-kind, for local mercy ministries or local outreach
  • recruitment and orientation of new missions team members
  • public recounting and giving God glory for specific missions achievements over the past year
  • public recognition and prayer of commissioning or dedication of missionaries present, short-term missions participants, and missions team members
  • reports from pastors, staff, or congregants who have visited missionaries on the field
  • special times/times or spaces/rooms dedicated during the missions event to special prayer for your missionaries and ministries
  • missionaries meeting with home groups or Sunday school classes
  • offsite meetings or meals at restaurants, public parks, private swimming pools or bonfire areas featuring missionaries or world missions ministries
  • special music during services with a clear missions message or outreach emphasis
  • guests musicians, choral groups, ethnic music presentations, etc.
  • short, high impact skits driving home a point of missions information or application
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What should be the purpose/s of a missions event?


First and foremost, you’ll want to take care to give glory to God. His agenda for His glory in Jesus Christ is the whole reason and motivation for missions. In addition to giving proper focus and attention to God and His word, you’ll want to consider the following purposes for your missions event. Note that your missions emphasis event will be most effective if you don’t attempt to accomplish all of these purposes at the same time. Choose just a few key purposes per year.

  • general missions education
  • challenge and how-to-s of personal missions involvement
  • missions awareness in the world
  • missions awareness in the community
  • deepening relationships with supported missionaries
  • the biblical basis of missions
  • the theological basis of missions
  • missionary characters and experiences in the Bible
  • demographic understanding of unreached people groups
  • adoption of an unreached people group
  • historic and contemporary motivations for missions
  • opportunity-awareness for missions involvement through your local church
  • commitment-motivating biographies and mission stories
Year-to-year you want your congregation to look forward to the annual missions event as something that is fun, a change of pace, informative, and personally challenging. It’s perfectly okay for your missions team to leave your church wanting more. You will always do well to highlight the Lord Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the biblical priority of missions, and personal relationships with missionaries. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How often should we have a special function or event?


It is rare that a church is able to hang on to the 25 year old tradition of an annual eight-day, Sunday-to-Sunday missions conference. The age of multi-tasking, super-busy lifestyles, and multimedia entertainment shortened attention spans require other approaches. “Less is more” may apply here. Quality may be more important than quantity. It is of great advantage to keep a consistent diet of missions information and opportunity to learn and grow in missions through many means throughout the calendar and ministries of the church. With the challenges of modern culture and time-sensitivity before you, your Missions Team should plan for missions events to complement your congregation’s needs. We’ve already presented a scope of possible purposes for a special missions event. So, let’s first consider the single, once-a-year event. Most churches now hold an annual weekend mission “conference” or “celebration” event. It is a key time to have supported missionaries present. Special events fill the agenda from Friday evening through Sunday evening of the weekend. This seems to be a reasonable minimum. Some churches have a special Sunday for missions emphasis programming and platform time once per quarter. There may be good reason in your church annual calendar to take advantage of other key events to emphasize or supplement missions education, training, or stimulus, e.g.: evangelism or Bible conferences, outreach campaigns, community service projects, etc. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are the best ways to communicate missions information?


Common principles of communication are relevant to this topic. Still, you and your Missions Team must be the judge of effectiveness for your congregation. If your church responds best to oral announcements, then by all means use oral announcements. On the other hand, if it is really important, you should plan to use multiple channels of communication: personal, oral, audio, video, email, print media. Effectiveness generally falls along the spectrum of personal and direct vs. impersonal and indirect, e.g. – Face-to-face:
One-on-one
Small group
Large group
Direct contact:
Personal telephone call
Personalized email
Personalized snail mail
Indirect contact:
Announcement or insert in the Sunday bulletin
Mass mailing
Print posters or bulletin boards
Video clip features
Mass/Group email The most effective is always the direct, face-to-face appeal. Timing is significant also. Your event promotion should begin ASAP, well before the event but after prior calendar priorities. If your missions celebration occurs with predictable regularity, people will be able to anticipate the scheduled event. A variety of means and media will increase your audience reception and response.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we get more people involved in doing the missions event?


Your Missions Team needs to get others from the church involved in the missions event. Though it’s not the most noble motivation, you need to get others involved so that you don’t work yourself to death trying to do it all yourselves. Creating, planning, promoting, executing, and cleaning up afterward is a huge undertaking. In fact, most Missions Teams can slip into the mode of spending 80-90% of their time just on financial budget management and the annual conference. Then they wonder why they’re not accomplishing much in the way of church mobilization. so, if for no other reason than to spread the workload, it is important to recruit others to share the work. It is also essential to get others involved for dynamic mobilization reasons. When people become involved, they have more ownership of the goals and agenda of the event. people having responsibilities for any role are more likely to attend and value the event. Recruiting others and delegating responsibilities is, in fact, a form of missions mobilization. So, how do you get others involved? First, divide up the areas of responsibility into discrete parts. Put different Missions Team members (or the Event Sub-Team) in charge of each part. Get them to recruit their own specialist team and provide orientation and training, as necessary. What are those parts? They will be different from church to church and even from year to year, depending on our purposes, the theme, emphasis etc. But, those parts may include :
Prayer
Speaker/s
AV – auditorium sound & presentation system support
Room set-up logistics
Food preparation, presentation, and clean up
Graphics and print materials support
Special events for kids, youth, seniors, men, women, etc.
Worship & music
Handout materials
Video development and/or presentation
M.C.
Drama, skits, role play, first person biographies, etc.
Special music features
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




What are best practices for a missions event?


  • Pray for God’s guidance and blessing for His glory.
  • Pick your dates.
  • Start planning early.
  • Choose a theme and purposes.
  • Select a speaker that can deliver your theme, especially biblically.
  • Assemble your event leadership team and get them to start assembling their area responsibility teams of volunteer recruits ASAP.
  • Begin public promotion as early as reasonable, considering the church’s calendar and increasing in frequency, variety, and intensity until the event. Remember that quality is more important than quantity.
  • Hold planning and orientation meetings with event volunteers well before the event time.
  • Organize and put due dates on event areas/agenda activities.
  • Pray through the event!
  • Do an evaluation survey and have a post-event evaluation meeting with your event leadership team.
  • Record lessons learned for next time.
  • Thank everyone involved profusely.
  • Praise God!
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can we include or target children?


A missions education and exposure focus for children as a part of your annual missions event is one of the most strategic things you can do. There are a number of great reasons why you should do so:

  • children are insatiable learners
  • children have a natural curiosity for colorful cultures around the world
  • children’s interests spread to their parents
  • children are often more willingly active participants than adults
  • children receive and believe simple facts about the Gospel and the great commission readily
  • the natural energy and enthusiasm of children makes them fun to teach
There are many missions resources aimed at children’s missions education. Will try to select some of the best, to our knowledge, and include links to those documents or sources for your benefit below this section. Here are some ideas to prime the pump of your thinking:
  • Children love biographies, particularly stories which include other children.
  • Children enjoy sampling, scene, and touching elements of other cultures, including clothing, food, foreign toys, and different implements of everyday life.
  • Children like imagination and travel. Put together a trip to the mission field, or a simulated “day in the life of…”, Or a missions conference “passport” in which they must visit different stations or rooms or displays to receive stamps of proof or accomplishment of their learning.
  • Use role-play as a method of teaching and activity.
  • Redefine M&Ms as referring to missions minded kids. The news M&Ms to reinforce attentiveness and retention things are teaching.
  • Introduce simple missions songs, even foreign-language songs that parallel ones they already know.
  • Teach them simple active games that children in other lands play (especially those countries or people groups supported by your church or featured in your missions event).
https://www.wycliffe.org/resources/kids-activities http://www.kidsonmission.com/ https://www.christianbook.com/page/church-supplies/childrens-ministry/childrens-missions http://www.kidzana.org/get-resources/ http://www.missionresources.com/teachkidsr.html Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How can we include or target teens?


If missions education is strategic for children, it may be even more strategic for youth. While young people may not be mentally and emotionally adults, they are physically and philosophically young adults in their most formative years. From early teen years to early 20s (and some individuals even later) young people are questioning and testing their identity, their beliefs, and their guiding principles for life. Teens are at an ideal age to teach them the glorious truth of the gospel. Even if they may have made a profession of faith at an early age, they now possess more mature thought processes and logic to understand, appreciate, and appropriate the gospel in their lives. They’ll have a clearer grasp of their own sinfulness and need of the gospel. They will better appreciate the magnitude of the grace, mercy, love, and righteousness of God in the gospel. They can be more captivated by the life and work, the death and resurrection, the condescension and exaltation of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are at a point in their lives where they need to own, believe, and understand the great biblical doctrines of the Christian faith for themselves. It is a wonderful time of life to press home to them the gospel, in all its beauty, necessity, and exclusivity. For example, our friend Paul Borthwick writes in his book, Six Dangerous Questions: if biblical truth shapes our worldview, we have inescapable, compelling motivation for missions: Who is Jesus?
Do I believe in Heaven?
Do I believe in Hell?
Does Christianity matter?
Do I believe that God wants to use my life?
Whose agenda will I live by? Key principles for maximizing opportunities to inspire teens for missions include :

  • be interactive – design times for small group discussion, prayer, etc. regarding the implications of what is presented
  • be relational – use actual missionaries whenever possible
  • be vivid – graphic, expressive examples, artifacts, stories, pictures, video, etc. make it real to them
  • be practical – anticipate the questions: “What difference does it make now?, What impact does this have on my plans for my life?, How should this affect me?”
  • be fast-paced – there are times to slow down and be serious; but, in general, consider a pace that keeps teens engaged, active, and involved
  • be appealing – use compelling promotional materials and announcements at youth gatherings leading up to the missions event
  • be bold – Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior! The Gospel is the only way anyone can receive salvation! God commands His people to go and make disciples of all nations! Don’t hold back on asking for and expecting a high level of commitment to Christ, to the claims of the Gospel, and to missions. Young people are highly impacted by a clear call to commitment.
Create a youth track for your missions event. You can use the same theme and personnel resources as the main conference; but gear youth sessions specifically for youth. One of the main goals is for believing young people to consider missions as a legitimate choice on their list of options for their future. As growing “World Christians” missions should become a priority in their life no matter which educational and vocational path they take. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.
Six Dangerous Questions




How can we include or target young adults?


Young adult singles, in particular, are especially good candidates for doing missions. This can take many forms. However a focus of your annual missions celebration event might include communicating to young adults options which could be especially fitting or appealing to them. Young adults are also in a formative stage of life in which they are establishing habits of stewardship, ministry, and relationships which will last their entire lifetime. Young adults also tend to have more available time and technology related skill sets that can be implemented in the cause of missions, if they do not already have young children. Young adults need processing time. They need the opportunity to discuss and interact with concepts affecting their life. Single young adults have unique opportunities to develop ministry skills and experiences more than any other time in their life. It is very stimulating and encouraging to young adults to hear testimonies of other young adults who have experience the joys and hardships of volunteering in missions, in ministry and service, both domestically and internationally. Young adults are highly attracted to community; one of the strongest appeals is for their peers to invite them to “get in the game” and use their young adulthood for God’s purposes. Here are some examples of opportunities to present to young adults:

  • training or ministry on the mission field

  • shadowing or being a Timothy to one of the missionaries supported by the church
  • functioning as a nanny for a missionary family
  • spending one school year as a homeschool teacher or governess for one or more missionary families
  • spending two weeks to six months doing whatever projects are needed on the field
  • sign up to participate in or lead a short term ministry team
  • apply for a mission agency short-term project or vision trip
  • provide technical or logistic support for missionaries on the field (much of which could also be done from “home”), including:
  • computer tech support, software application training, graphic design, layout, and production, website development, Internet email distribution management, printing and mailing (or email distribution) of missionary prayer newsletters, photography, videography, PR materials development and production, security systems, data security and VPN management, etc.
  • preparation in and through the local church

  • participating in a Perspectives class
  • becoming part of a church leadership or practical missionary training class
  • enrolling in evening Bible school or seminary classes to fulfill mission agency (or home church) biblical and theological development requirements
  • teach a children’s Sunday school or Bible club class
  • volunteer to disciple teens in the youth group
  • volunteer to lead evangelism or outreach ministry for the church in the community
  • assist with church visitation and/or sports outreach and/or literature distribution
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




How do we get missions events into the church calendar?


Let’s take the worst case scenario. Suppose you’re in a church which has never had a special missions event or celebration. Suppose your pastor and/or leadership has many other priorities over missions. Suppose your congregation is unacquainted with the concept of missions or skeptical about the rationale or benefits of missions. Most church missions advocates wrestle with the difficulty of carving out enough time in the church calendar to give proper priority and visibility to world missions. So, it is not unusual problem. Begin by thinking of the most fundamental issues. In order to get your desired end result, that is consistently getting a special missions celebration event into the church calendar, you need to build consensus support among the decision-makers. Come alongside your pastor/s and leadership in positive and encouraging ways, helping them understand the biblical basis, priority, and essential nature of missions. Take them to training and exposure events or missions trips to enlarge their vision and fuel their passion for God honoring, kingdom building, spiritual growth producing missions discipling of the nations. Don’t overload them with a mountain of trivial facts and statistics or an endless stream of unrelated missions stories. Don’t give them a stack of “key” missions books and magazines, which will probably end up alongside several other stacks of books and publications that other people in the congregation want them to read. Try to limit your submissions of materials and expectations to only the crème de la crème, top flight, impactful resources. Any time you get a chance to view, attend, and/or hear a quality missions presentation and then interact with your pastor or church leader about it’s content, that opportunity is priceless. Warm, friendly, sympathetic input over a period of time will win over your pastor and leadership to supporting a missions event in the church calendar. How can we say this so confidently? It is because the word of God, read and studied objectively, unequivocally shows God’s heart for the world. No sincere believing pastor and church leaders can ultimately resist such compelling, living evidences of the priorities of world missions for the local church. Even church leaders who may be driven, however subtly, by self-serving, self-seeking motives for self-centered kingdom building, must eventually concede that the most substantial spiritual growth both in depth and breadth comes through a God centered missions driven focus. If church leaders are concerned at all about the spiritual helps of the church and growth of their members, they will make way for at least some annual missions emphasis event. It may not be too much to share the anecdote of a nationally known pastor. This pastor is presently well-known as a man passionate for missions. He has written multiple books and preached in scores of conferences on the theme of biblical missions. But there was a time when he regarded missions as a side issue of the local church. Missions leaders of his local church conducted the annual missions conference while this pastor went on vacation every year. One year the missions leadership staff person approach this pastor insisting that he cancel his vacation in order to be the speaker for the weeklong missions conference because the planned speaker couldn’t come at the “last minute”. Though the pastor argued against it the missions leadership staff person’s insistence won the day. The pastor ended up canceling appointments and locking himself in his study to pour over God’s word and develop his messages for the missions conference. No one was more surprised than that pastor to find such a compelling depth of material, which he had never previously seen so clearly. The resulting messages were published in book form as Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper. That study change the direction of Bethlehem Baptist Church and the life and ministry of its pastor. And we all are beneficiaries of God’s grace through that transformation. If you are struggling with the question of how to get missions events into the church calendar, don’t give up! Keep working in positive and constructive ways to help and educate your church leaders toward a Biblical missions mindset. Use whatever opportunities you have to slowly but surely grow missions in your church. Take what you can get and build on it with excellence so that your congregation, your audience, will love it and long for more. Most churches today, if they have not already been doing it for decades, will not allow for the old-fashioned eight-day conference, from one Sunday through the next Sunday. Most churches today deal with the annual missions conference as a “long weekend” event, Friday through Sunday. You may be able to stretch the event through an entire week by providing resources and special opportunities to use the normal meetings and events of the church week in a special way for missions. E.g.- AWANA has a missions night, the use group features a special missions video, the young adults have a young missionary candidate present his or her work, the midweek service features a missionary report, Sunday school classes are populated by missions team members prepared to give great missions biographies, etc. Some churches are able to designate one Sunday per quarter as a special missions emphasis Sunday. It may not mean that you get to have a missionary speaker each of those Sundays, but you may be able to give some special missions report or presentation during the service on those Sundays. It is particularly significant to the congregation when you can highlight missionaries whom they know and have relationship with personally. These are also opportunities to present missions projects and support needs as you build your missions stewardship commitments. If you are finding resistance, don’t despair. Just keep doing what you are allowed to do; eventually the tidal surge of acceptance and expectation among the congregation at large will buoy up the leadership to a place of acceptance. On the other hand, it may be possible that your expectations are too grand or unrealistic. You may have to pare down your hopes to match whatever is most appropriate for your congregation and your situation. Again, prayer is a wonderful way of adjusting your attitudes as well as those of your church leaders. So pray. Trust God. Keep doing the right things. Propempo is a charitable mission organization, too! Please prayerfully consider donating to sustain Propempo.com and the ministry of Propempo International. You can give through automatic bank or credit card drafts by using your own online banking system. You can also give securely though Paypal. Just click on this message to go to our “Support Propempo” Donation page for further details. Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




Can we get more platform time on a regular basis?


If you haven’t read the previous section about getting a missions event on the church calendar, you might want to do so before reading this section. The same principles apply. Make sure that your expectations are appropriate. Realize that every ministry of the church would like to have more platform time, more announcements, more support of the senior pastor, more opportunity to address the whole congregation. In today’s church culture limited time in services means that it must be managed by a tight awareness of priorities. Usually this means that missions platform time must be balanced with the concerns of other ministries which are also important. A “missions minute” must be kept to 60 seconds. It should be crisp, quality, attention-getting, stimulating the audience to want more. Feeding the pastor or the one giving the pastoral prayer in the service with a world missions prayer request is a simple and powerful means of communicating in a way that is appropriate and spiritual in tone. Missions video clips should be of good quality and well edited so that it is time well used, no dead spots, no drag in action, no cliché-ish repetition of the obvious.