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.

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MISSION PATH ROLES:

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What is the role of church staff in church missions leadership?


Your local church tradition or ethos may be different, but we recommend that the role of church staff be primarily facilitation and operational support. The function of the office of the missions Pastor and/or missions team requires a lot of administrative support. It has been said of the missions operations of the local church that, “It’s difficult to run an international enterprise on one meeting per month.” For missions to be well run in the local church there is a high volume of communication and coordination that must take place. Church staff are usually better equipped and have available time allotments to serve the needs. If there is someone on staff designated as the missions coordinator, leader, or pastor, the leadership will have to decide whether or not that staff person functions as the chairman or leader of the missions team. We recommend that the missions team leader be a layperson. The designated staff person becomes the COO (Chief Operating Officer) for the Missions Team. The missions staff person may have specific skills, training, and experience to functionally lead or at least supply appropriate training and influence to the missions team. However, we believe that a missions mobilized church includes the “insider” members of the church retain ownership and leadership of the ministries of the church. Applying the principle of Eph. 4:12, the staff equip the church for the work. There is a strong sense that appropriately qualified staff missions leadership should execute the day-to-day operation of missions, but that the Missions Team, comprised primarily of lay members of the church, should establish the boundaries and direction for missions, under the authority of the Elders or overall leadership council of the church. Support for logistics, technology, communication, prayer, personnel functions, financial accounting, receipting, and disbursement, promotion, event planning, coordination of hospitality, etc. are the roles of church staff. Policy, priorities, major decision-making, direction and vision are the roles of the Missions Team under the broader church leadership. We will discuss the specific role of “missions pastor” later in the “Church Leadership” path-book.




What is the role of the senior pastor?


The senior pastor has an absolutely critical role in church missions leadership. When it is clear that the senior pastor is passionate about world missions, a synergetic effect enables the church to achieve missions goals above expectations. If the senior pastor does NOT value missions or, heaven forbid, sees missions as a competitor to his own ministry “vision,” then the local church’s missions efforts will be viewed as something peripheral to the life of the church. Many pastors who have experienced a change of heart in favor of a biblical missions vision for the church report that it had a major positive impact on their church’s health and growth. If there’s fire in the pulpit, there’s fire in the pew. [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”97″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”480″,”style”:”width: 300px; height: 360px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”400″}}]]We have never had a senior pastor tell us that they don’t want to see missions functioning well in their church. The reflex response is, “Of course we want to be (or are) a missions-minded church!” There is an instinctive sense that missions is necessary and important, even though most pastors have had little or no exposure to healthy models of missions-focused churches, little or no training in missions organizational leadership, little or no training in the pervasive biblical foundation and support for world missions, and little or no exposure or experience with nitty-gritty cross-cultural field ministry concerns. The typical pastor has had only one course in missions history or church planting, and that one only because it was required. Pastors sometimes assume that Acts 1:8 gives them license to use all resources to reach their “Jerusalem” first; then, progressively move out toward their “Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” However, the text indicates the command is to reach these areas simultaneously, not sequentially. So, how then does a senior pastor grow in understanding and skill in this area? First, the pastor must have some openness to it. If the pastor is truly closed to owning his role in leadership of world missions vision in the church, that “demon” can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. Usually though, the pastor has just never been challenged to “lift his eyes to the Harvest.” He may never have been confronted with the joy and exhilaration of proclaiming the glory of Christ to all nations. Reading the right books can help. Check out the recommended titles in Propempo’s A-store. Finding a mentor can be a big help, – a fellow pastor who has walked that trail and learned valuable lessons and who has a church deeply involved in strategic missions. Here’s a true story to illustrate just giving your pastor a chance to be challenged by world missions: I asked a local church pastor out to lunch. My purpose was to find out what their church was doing in missions and if I could help them. I had visited his church; I knew nothing beyond the minimal routine denominational missions obligation was happening there. After we’d eaten, I asked, “What is your missions vision for your church?” His face was blank. I don’t think anyone had ever asked him that question before. After a thoughtful pause (it looked like his mind was racing to come up with an answer), he replied, “I think our church has been very successful in evangelizing our community. I think we should plant some other churches just like ours in nearby areas.” I could tell that he felt satisfied with his answer. It seemed like he thought, “See! That’s a great answer!” Then again, I hadn’t responded yet. I wanted to compliment him. I realized that he was a pastor in this first level: missions was only a possibility. I could tell that he wasn’t sure where this was going. So, I said, “That’s a great start! You can use local church planting as your laboratory and internship process to train people to plant churches all around the world.” You could have knocked him over with a feather. He looked like he’d just had the wind knocked out of him. Fast forward: Six months later, while visiting this dear brother’s church, I found in the lobby a freshly printed missions vision statement. It stated, in essence, “Our church is going to plant other churches, locally and overseas. We’re going to get experience here that we can use to deploy missionaries around the world.” How can the senior pastor grow in his missions leadership?

  1. Don’t block missions progress. Don’t view growth in missions vision as competition for local ministry growth.
  2. Encourage excellence in mobilization through the Missions Team, Missions Leader/Chairperson, and/or Missions Pastor.
  3. Speak often in global terms of God’s glory and the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ and His Gospel among all nations.
  4. Pray publicly and privately for missionaries and their work.
  5. Read quality missions materials in balance with your other reading (or media).
  6. Ask for help in understanding missions. Attend conferences or workshops specifically aimed at developing missions ministry in the local church.
  7. Invite a Propempo staff person to consult with you and your leadership to sharpen effectiveness and resource your own skill development.
  8. Open lines of communication and relationship with your supported missionaries.
  9. With your missions leadership and the blessing of your financial leaders, plan to visit your supported missionaries on their field of ministry as an observer and encourager (not as a visiting star).
  10. Preach a world missions message at least annually.
  11. Enthusiastically participate in your church’s annual missions event.
  12. Challenge your people to consider missionary service as a legitimate vocational calling.




What is the role of the missions pastor?


If we were consistent with biblical priorities, a “Missions Pastor” would be the second full time pastoral staff member of every church. The missions pastor is the designated staff leader for missions mobilization for the congregation. This includes responsibility for, facilitation and coordination of all aspects of congregational involvement in world missions. Often it may include all forms of outreach, both local and cross-cultural. While the missions pastor may serve as the chief operating officer for missions interests, he will probably also have a role as educator, trainer, and mentor for the missions team members, missionary candidates, and the congregation at large. The missions pastor may have delegated oversight of:

  • teaching or classes on biblical, theological, and strategic foundations for missions
  • local outreach with connections to evangelism and cross-cultural outreach
  • general congregational education about missions, missionaries, the missions process and priorities
  • interface with church leadership
  • liaise or lead the church Missions Team
  • promote and provide opportunities for individual participation
  • stimulate and provide opportunities and tools for missions prayer
  • promote and communicate needs and opportunities for missions giving and budget process
  • develop and deploy training and opportunities for Short Term Missions
  • supervise, coordinate, and assit in missionary care, including on-field visits
  • study, facilitate decision-making, and develop missions strategy for the church’s focus and involvement
  • develop and implement a process for church-based missionary training and guidance of that training through delegated specialist persons or institutions/schools
Roles of the Missions Pastor PDF




When should the church have a missions pastor?


The answer to this question lies at the feet of the church leadership. How you answer will reveal your true priorities in ministry. Our short answer is, “As soon as possible.” However, the answer may vary widely depending on your local situation and ethos. Let’s consider several scenarios that may illustrate how your church may answer this question. Consider a church which, by God’s grace, has an excellent, well-informed lay leader for missions ministries. This person may have considerable cross-cultural field ministry experience. This person should have good leadership and administrative skills. This person is committed to the local church and understands how your church leadership decision-making operates. This person may serve on the elder or leadership board of the church. This person should have significant time available to commit to their missions leadership role in the church. When a local church is blessed with a person like this, someone who works closely and well with church leadership and staff, you may not feel the need to hire a Missions Pastor. This case does not mean that hiring a Missions Pastor wouldn’t produce better results; neither does it mean that you should never consider “hiring” a Missions Pastor; rather, it means that your church may have more resources to exercise stewardship along different lines of priority. We have seen this scenario work well: a senior church leader/businessman functions as the missions leader until retirement, then becomes a volunteer staff Missions Pastor as a transition for the church to eventually hire a Missions Pastor. Consider a small, one-staff church wanting to grow. We’ve stated previously, “If we were consistent in biblical priorities, the second staff pastor of a church would be a Missions Pastor.” The Missions Pastor is rarely a full-time position, especially in a small to medium sized church. It is quite common for a missions-minded church to make the second full-time pastor position a combination of roles. Among those potential roles: Missions Pastor, Youth Pastor, Worship Pastor, Small Group/Discipleship Pastor, Evangelism/Outreach Pastor, Counseling Pastor, University and Young Professionals Pastor, “Enfolding” Pastor, Administrative/Executive Pastor. In our experience, the best Missions Pastors are those gifted in administration and communication. it’s takes a lot of organizational leadership skills to lead, facilitate, and mobilize the church body in this complex, international endeavor toward fulfilling the Great Commission. If the church leadership wants to make missions a priority and grow significantly in vision for ministry outside the walls of the church property, there is no clearer statement than hiring and giving the (at least part-time) responsibility for facilitating missions ministry development to a full-time staff pastor. Be careful to not give untested or broad-scope authority to a greenhorn. i.e. – If your new half-and-half Missions Pastor – Young Adult Pastor is coming straight from seminary graduation, he will most certainly need significant on-the-job training and experience under wise guidance from qualified lay leaders before he exercises significant policy or decision-making powers. Consider a medium-sized church desiring to define or implement a clear missions vision. A Missions Pastor can be a wonderful complement to a growing church. Not only does he have a heart for strategic cross-cultural ministry overseas, but that mindset applied to local ministries can be a big help to local outreach, general administration, small group ministries, discipleship, and/or local church planting initiatives. Rarely does the senior pastor have the time and focus to do the interpersonal spade work to develop and implement a larger strategic plan for the church; but a Missions Pastor must think in those terms as part of his overall philosophy of ministry. A number of Missions Pastors have been effectively utilized in some leadership function in the strategic planning and implementation process for the local church. A medium-sized church should consider giving significant oversight and/or facilitation of missions ministry to a staff pastor. At the same time, there should be a commitment to training and seeing that staff pastor grow in understanding and ability in church missions administration. Propempo.com is a good place to start. There are many others useful Internet resources, as well. A strong reading program, using Propempo recommended resources and other available resources documents sprinkled throughout the website would be helpful. Then, have the designated staff person contact other like-minded churches to learn from them. One phrase we hear often is, “There is no sense in re-inventing the wheel.” Request Propempo to come and do a leadership training session for your church staff and missions leadership. Or, use a Propempo diagnostic to discover your church’s strengths and weaknesses; then use that knowledge to address issues and grow. [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”99″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”mustand seen vision”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”480″,”style”:”border-width: 6px; border-style: solid; margin: 6px; float: left;”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”456″}}]]As an aside, though “vision” is idealized in American church culture as part of the requirements or expectations of the “senior pastor,” such “vision” is usually more like “hyperactive imagination” or even “vain imagination” than a biblically-informed perception of future trends and outcomes. Biblically, one person’s subjective sense of supernatural revelation does not become normative (applicable) to the whole church just because the senior pastor thinks so. A corollary to Propempo’s axiom, “Don’t let missionary candidates ‘lay hands on themselves,'” would be, “A leader’s vision must be tested by biblical truth and reality as understood by those affected.” Be Bereans! Consider a larger church. What about larger churches? At what point should we move from a part-time or shared-responsibility staff position to a full-time Missions Pastor? We don’t know your church’s particular situation, but typically a church that gives $100,000 per year or more to international cross-cultural missions should put a full-time Missions Pastor on their radar. The cause of missions has all the elements of an international Christian business, with communication and management issues on both local and global ends of the spectrum: prayer, priorities, “product,” promotion, personnel, program, and “pesos.” If mobilizing your congregation in missions is a priority in your ministry philosophy, as we think it should be, then your Missions Pastor will be very active in cultivating individual participation and ownership in missions, as well as mentoring and training those aspiring to become career missionaries, as young adults or second-career workers. Short Term Missions and “Business As Missions” facilitation and management push the envelope of responsibility to higher and broader intensity. Missions becomes a regular elective in your Christian education curriculum and a requirement for those pursuing missions ministry. Guidance and fund-development for projects and missionary personnel grow with your missions support commitments. Frequency of meetings for leadership of missions grow as well. Another check point for staffing is when your church approaches 1,000 in Sunday morning attendance. At that point, if you don’t already have a Missions Pastor in a North American church context, your church is behind the curve in missions development. The priority proven by having a designated Missions Pastor will have positive benefits to all the ministries of your church. A Missions Pastor can influence every ministry of the church to have an outreach mindset, every ministry to think of the Great Commission as central to their distinct purpose. Every church scenario is unique. If you are thinking about this question, perhaps the Lord is already prompting you and your leadership to consider the timing, qualifications, and impact of hiring or designating responsibilities as a Missions Pastor to pastoral staff. May God lead you to just the right mix and person to see God glorified through your local church (Eph. 3:20-21).




What is the job description of a missions pastor?


The Missions Pastor (or equivalent title) is usually directly accountable to the Senior Pastor or the governing Board. Often, the Missions Pastor responsibility is combined with other pastoral leadership roles, such as: Outreach or Evangelism, Small Groups, Administrative Pastor, Discipleship, Men’s Ministry. Sometimes the Missions Pastor is the leader of the Missions Team; sometimes he is accountable to the Missions Team functioning as the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer over the area of missions. The Mission Pastor is usually responsible for oversight and/or execution of the missions leadership and mobilization functions of the church. Compare the areas of activity and ministry in Propempo’s Church Missions Profile :

  • Biblical foundations for missions
  • Local outreach
  • Congregational missions education
  • Church leader missions development
  • Missions Team leadership & development
  • Individual participation by congregants
  • Prayer for missions and missionaries
  • Missions giving, fund-raising, & stewardship
  • Short Term Missions
  • Missionary Care
  • Missions Strategy
  • Missionary Training
Below are some sample documents showing several approaches to a “job description” for a Missions Pastor.




What kind of qualities make a good missions pastor?


Every church may think a bit differently regarding staff qualifications. Often included, though unspoken perhaps, is formal training in an acceptable theological seminary. Though biblical and theological foundations are very, very important, that education by itself is not a guarantee that the candidate will be an effective missions pastor. Do the check on theological alignment and discernment! It’s a prerequisite! Then look at other attributes. A missions pastor must first and foremost be passionate about missions. He must be well versed (no pun intended) in the biblical foundations and priority of missions. He must have missions in his blood, eat it for breakfast, breath it, ooze it, love it. He should have a missions-active mind, inquisitive about what God is doing around the world, seeing world news in light of God’s program for His glory in every nation. He should be culturally quick to learn and embrace new things, new foods, new vocabulary, new ways of thinking. A missions pastor must love the local church. If he is not a churchman at heart, he will never really understand the priority and process of church planting in missions. He must understand the dynamic of working with and through people, flawed but redeemed people. He should be balanced in involvement in serving other areas besides missions. He should have a heart to disciple and encourage other church leaders in missions. He should view missions as something that the church does together, rather than what he does on behalf of the church. He is the prime missions mobilizer in his local church. He fulfills a pastoral role; that is to say that he is a shepherd of people. Great people skills, great communication skills, great teaching/discipleship skills — he’ll use all these qualities to the max. A missions pastor needs to be a much better than average administrator. There are scores of relationships and communications, both inside and outside the church, that require a lot of attention to detail and management. He is mobilizing and working with people across a wide variety of ministries and experiences. Events, travel arrangements, logistics of short term missions teams, meetings, training classes, financial tracking and accountability – all these and more are a part of his day-to-day job. There is no pastor who has a broader range of administrative application than the missions pastor. A missions pastor must be a discerning, avid learner. There is a world (no pun intended) of information and trends out there. The missions pastor needs to stay as current as possible with the good, the bad, and the ugly of missions. He needs to be the resident expert on missions questions, even if the church isn’t presently connected to some trend at the time. He needs to have a humble, teachable spirit, in order to learn from missionaries and mission leaders, and to adopt that childlike learning posture to appreciate the cultural, linguistic, and spiritual environments of the church’s workers on the field. A missions pastor should be able and willing to travel to fulfill his shepherding and guidance responsibilities of the church’s supporting mission family. He should exhibit a willingness to travel at low cost and to stay in spartan accommodations or homes along the way. This aspect requires that the interview process needs to examine the wife and family dynamic to determine if there is sufficient support and strength for him to be away from home for frequent and/or extended periods of time. You don’t want to hire someone as missions pastor and then have to make the difficult choice of harming his marriage and family or failing to do all that he should do to fulfill his responsibilities.




Is it OK to have a combination position, Missions + something else?


Most churches do this. Often, the missions pastor is a good administrator and has a heart for ministry. Is it not unusual for the missions pastor to also serve in one or more major ministry areas, such as: youth, local outreach, small groups, discipleship, “enfolding”, administration/executive pastor, young adults, adult teaching, staff leadership, planning and policy development.




What is the staff pastor’s relationship to the MT?


The relationship of a pastor to the Missions Team depends somewhat upon the role of the pastor and the size of the church. The Senior Pastor of a small to medium sized church may be much more involved and hands-on, while delegating authority and responsibility to qualified and committed lay leaders. He should be well-informed about the missionaries and direction without micro-managing the function of the MT. It is healthy for the Senior Pastor to communicate at least annually to the missionaries about the big picture issues and direction of the church. He will want to know and understand (and comply with) the missions policies. Too many churches have gotten into big trouble because the Senior Pastor “gave his word” or “made promises” outside of the policy and agreement of the MT. The Senior Pastor should seek to be teachable and informed about missions, missions strategy, and church missions administration through the Missions Team. In a larger church, there is no question that the Senior Pastor needs to delegate responsibility, authority, and day-to-day management of missions issues to others. Usually this involves a subordinate staff member, but may be directly relating to the MT leadership. Other staff pastors or staff ministry leaders need to coordinate missions-related issues with the MT and in alignment with accepted policy. e.g. – The Youth Pastor does not create a Short Term Missions trip or project apart from the guidance, help, and authority of the MT. The Missions Pastor (or Missions Director) is at least the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of missions ministry of the church. He may also be the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), depending on how the organization is structured. Let’s unpack what this means. Usually the Missions Pastor is hired to facilitate the day-to-day operations and administration of the missions functions of the church. This COO function is essential. Even if the church does not have a hired staff member doing this role, there is a layperson or other staff person responsible for this function. The operation of a growing world missions ministry requires a tremendous amount of communication, administration, personal interaction and relationships, delegation, and organizational management. “You can’t run an international organization on one meeting per month.” A full-orbed function as Missions Pastor also requires a certain amount of spiritual leadership, interpersonal counseling and mentoring, fund development and accounting, candidate training, prayer leadership, etc. Done well, the Missions Pastor role becomes a model and influence on every other ministry of the church — toward a heart for outreach, effectiveness, and discipling/equipping of workers. Whether or not the Missions Pastor also functions as the CEO over missions ministries is another question. It largely depends on the local churches organizational ethos and ministry philosophy. Of course, whichever way it goes, all are under the ultimate leadership of the local church elder or decision making leadership board. If leadership and control of ministries is vested in lay-leaders, then the Missions Team will be the “boss” of the Missions Pastor. This makes the Missions Team Chairperson/Leader the de facto boss. i.e. – The Missions Pastor, in this scenario, reports to the Missions Team. While a member of the Missions Team, the Missions Pastor reports to, makes policy suggestions, makes recommendations, etc. to the Missions Team; but he is subject to the decision and direction of the Missions Team. The MP may have a lot of influence in decision making and policy; he will suggest or nominate MT members; but the decision lies with the Missions Team. There are great advantages to this arrangement. It can work very well when there is good relationship and communication between the major players. If leadership and control of ministries is vested in staff positions, then the Missions Pastor will be the Chairman of the Missions Team. He will be the “boss” and the MT is his team to delegate action and make things happen. While the MT may function more as a Board of Advisors, in this case, there can still be a lot of mutually and ownership among all parties. The danger is, if the MT does not have enough backbone or develop enough experience and discernment, the MT can be a “yes-man,” rubber stamp body. If for whatever reason the Missions Pastor is not balanced, wise, well-equipped, or well-informed, he can lead the whole church body down a tangent that is not helpful. On the other hand, if the MP is balanced, wise, equipped, and informed, and has good communication and relationship with “his” Team, this arrangement can be very efficient and productive. Most often, regardless of which direction the actual organizational chart leans, there is some middle ground practice which best suits the personalities and skills or those involved. Trust is built over time. Leaders, Missions Team members, staff, and laypersons will be satisfied with the arrangement. However, it is healthy to ask the original questions again, from time to time: Who is in charge?, Who makes the decisions?, Who is responsible to execute the decisions?, How can we tell if we’re doing the best job?




What is the staff pastor’s relationship to church missionaries?


Since we’ve mentioned other pastors’ role with respect to missions already, we’ll focus this section on the Missions Pastors specifically. Even when the Missions Team may have recruited church members to function as key points of contact and communication, the Missions Pastor is often the face and voice of the church to your supported missionaries. The senior pastor should be known to them (and vice versa). But the Missions Pastor is the main conduit of information flow back and forth. The Missions Pastor should have regular routine communication with each supported missionary. He can respond to each prayer letter with some not of interest, concern, or question for clarification. Doing so shows the missionary that the MP is reading them and has some understanding of their current situation! The MP should communicate significant events or changes or vision in the local church to the missionaries. He should make connections between the missionaries and those people, small groups, Sunday School classes, short term teams, etc. that have a special concern and interest/ownership of their family’s life and ministry. When the missionary visits the church, the Missions Pastor should be among the first to greet them, insure proper hospitality and provision are made for their stay, and inquire about any special needs or considerations or goals for their stay. In short, the MP is the primary advocate for the missionary to the church body AND vice versa.




What is the pastor’s relationship to missions from the platform?


“If there’s fire in the pulpit, there’s fire in the pews.” This applies not only to spiritual passion in general, but also to missions vision in particular. It never ceases to amaze us that pastors who sincerely believe that they understand and preach the Bible sometimes don’t see missions outside the standard “Great Commission” texts. A pastor who understands the great overarching theme of God’s glory through all time and creation will see it throughout the Bible. God’s glory and the power of the Gospel sweeping across all of redemptive history and all nations will be evident to the pastor and his people. The spread of God’s fame and the power of salvation through the Savior, Jesus Christ, woven into God’s purposes through the ages and now through the church (revisit Ephesians 3 here) is remarkably clear. The pastor has both an exegetical and a leadership responsibility to fervently communicate missions to his people. He models it through his prayers, sermon illustrations, relationship to supported missionaries, interests and concerns for international issues affecting the spread of the Gospel. It reveals it’s permeating influence through his priorities and passions, expressed from the platform (and in private). If missions is a marginalized ministry, or tangential to the core of the church’s focus, or a distraction from building the local “kingdom”, then it will be regarding as unimportant to the people as well. On the other hand, if the pastor is “all in” with loving and fueling the obedient push to disciple all nations, then the people will treasure and highly regard it also.




What is the pastor’s relationship to supporting field ministry?


We’ve already talked about the pastor having regular (at least annual) communication with the church’s supported missionaries. A letter describing the major themes of teaching and ministry for the year would suffice. If there are significant personnel changes or trends for the church, the missionaries would like to hear it directly from the pastor. We recommend that the pastor have a long-term plan to visit every missionary in their field of ministry – not as a guest superstar speaker, but primarily as a learner. As a shepherd, the pastor should take an interest in the manner of life and stresses of local living and culture on “his” missionaries. Experiences on the field produce a heart for the workers, their ministry, and those to whom they minister. Illustrations of sights and sounds, joys and terrors, smells and touch begin to empathetically infuse the pastors sermon illustrations and prayers.




How can the pastor prevent getting overwhelmed by missions stuff?


Missions is great! It’s exciting to see how God is expanding His kingdom, building His church, bringing glory to Himself around the world. The torrent of information can be overwhelming! Yet, the needs are so great. Human suffering and depravity is overwhelming, too! Compassion fatigue sets in. It’s possible to get so interested in missions that other key ministry activities suffer. Balance is one of the most difficult goals to achieve. As a pastor, you have to manage the flow of information and concern in balance with your other ministry responsibilities. While you definitely want to grow and model a heart for the nations, you need to keep your feet firmly planted in ministry to the congregation to which God has called you. Helping your key missions leaders and advocates of the church understand your need for balance will help. They should be encouraged to bring to your attention or recommend only the information and resources most significant to your understanding. Get your own copy of Operation World and systematically plod and pray through it. Get someone on the Missions Team to give you an update on the current status and concerns of your church’s supported missionaries quarterly. You don’t have to read all the new books coming out on missions; you don’t have to subscribe to missions journals and periodicals; you don’t have to know everything out there on the Internet about missions. Your delegated missions leadership people should do that. They can be your buffer, briefer, research assistant for missions info.




Does the pastor have to be the leader of missions in the church?


Yes! Yes! Absolutely, yes! The pastor is the leader and barometer of all spiritual growth and development in the local church. If the pastor doesn’t prize and love missions, the people will not either. So, yes, the pastor should be the leader of missions in the church. But, no – the pastor does not have to personally bear the responsibility and activity of missions leadership. Go back and read through our “Church Mobilization” path. Recruit and delegate responsibility for missions mobilization and management to other capable people in the church. The pastor is the spokesperson and primary teacher, but not the primary do-er. Certainly the pastor needs to have a solid understanding of the biblical and theological bases for missions. Missions should be just a interwoven in his teaching and preaching as it is in the Bible (and that’s a LOT!). However, the primary concern of mobilizing the congregation and maintaining communication with missionaries, etc., should be in the job description of the Missions Team.




How does missions enter into teaching and preaching?


First of all, it’s not too much to say that, if the Pastor’s teaching and preaching is void of reference to mission, then he is not well acquainted with God and His Word. God is all about His glory spread and proclaimed to all nations. The Bible is saturated with God’s purpose to glorify Himself through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all peoples. To NOT see God seeking to make Himself known to all nations, is to be blind and self-centered, whether intentionally or unintentionally. A man of the Word will be a man who sees missions woven into the fabric of Scripture from Creation to Revelations. All of history is His story of redemption unfolding through the testimony and example of His people. Secondly, a faithful pastor will develop strong relationships with, at least, the missionaries whom the church supports. These dear workers are extended family, adjunct staff, fellow-workers in the Gospel who are a part of and representing your church. It is incumbent upon the pastor to know them and their needs. Lord willing, over time, he will have opportunity to visit them on site and see, feel, taste, touch, and hear the environment in which they minister. This kind of experience cannot help but ooze out of his pores and filter through his illustrations as he teaches and preaches. It becomes a wellspring of anecdotal evidences of God’s grace, mercy, and providence in fulfilling His will.




What priority should missions have in the church?


If we were consistent with our convictions and the priorities of Scripture, the second full-time ministry staff position in the church would be the missions and outreach pastor. Missions is the core of the church’s existence and purpose. Missions is the heart from which all other ministry lifeblood flows. If you get the missions priority right, all the other priorities of the church will be in harmony and alignment; they will all more naturally have a vision and understand their complementary parts of the big picture. The church leaders who figure out that missions is a nonnegotiable priority for the church will find that everything else in the church functions better. Part of the reason this is true, humanly speaking, is that people respond with amazing dynamism and generosity to a church that is not self-centered in its outlook and ministry philosophy. “It’s not about US. It’s about God and His purposes. It’s not about expanding OUR kingdom; it’s about expanding HIS kingdom.” Those two kingdoms are not the same thing! You take care to be focused on His kingdom, and “all these things will be added to you.” If the people of the church do not explicitly hear from the leaders this kind of outward focused purpose and ministry philosophy, they will not deduce it on their own. In fact, if they don’t learn it from the leaders, the leaders are in danger of being impediments and a blockage to the flow of blessing and resources. Check it out: the great promise of God doing “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or imagine” in Eph. 3:20-21 in given in the context of a whole chapter explaining the priority of missions in the church in God’s big plan. We propose that believers are not even eligible to claim such abundant blessings without the condition of being in alignment with God’s missions purposes. What priority should missions have? High, if not highest, priority! High visibility! High on the list of ministry philosophy! High in the hearts and minds of every ministry leader and taught to every congregant!





Teach

How can I find the best information on missions for teaching/preaching?


if you are tuned in to seeing and understanding missions in the Bible, the Bible itself is always your best resource. There are three essential book resources which are foundational:

  • Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper
  • From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth Tucker
  • Operation World, edited by Jason Mandryck
While books are helpful and easily accessible resources in the English-speaking world, contemporary information through real-life relationships with missionaries makes your anecdotal illustrations three-dimensional and real to your audience. Your own visit to your missionaries, asking a lot of questions, not seeking to be cast in the limelight, will go far in increasing your understanding and generating rapport with the stories you will tell. Nothing communicates better than your own experience described in vivid detail. Take a look at the books and resources, including book reviews, available on Propempo.com (this website). These suggest a wide range of the best available resources in both classics and contemporary works. There are many websites in cyberspace which purport to give the latest and best missions information. Much of it is colored by its source, meaning you have to be careful about the doctrine and/or tradition of the site. A mission leader friend from a Southeast Asian country once remarked that, if we believed all the statistics regarding conversions from this particular country from all the nominations and missions active there, then every citizen of that country that has ever lived has been saved twice! We just know that that is not true! So, “let the buyer beware.” Generally speaking, statistical data regarding unreached people groups and ethnographic demography are as reliable as any data can be. However, recent statistics of high rates of conversion among unreached people groups or historically resistant groups must be received “with a grain of salt.” Time and persecution will test and prove those claims. Journals and periodicals from trusted sources are helpful resources for information on missions. It’s easy to become inundated with TMI (too much information), if you’re not careful. The leadership of your missions team should become one of your best resources for sifting and gleaming just the right material for you at just the right time. Let them pour over the deluge of information and pass along only the best stuff that you need to know.




Just how significant is missions content in the Bible?


One Bible teacher said that we could equally argue for the missions basis for the Bible as much as for the biblical basis for missions. The special revelation of the Scriptures is, in itself, a grand example of God’s mission heart in initiating loving outreach to lost humanity. From the proto-evangelon of Genesis 3:15, to the culmination of the ages in Revelation 22, God demonstrates His holiness, sovereignty, and love. The preservation of Noah, the Abrahamic Covenant, the continual steadfast love of Jehovah throughout the history of Israel, all these, both in descriptive and prescriptive passages, show the trajectory of the Gospel culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Almost every time the Old Testament uses the terms “all nations,” “all peoples,” or “all families,” “all flesh,” “the ends of the earth,” (or equivalents), it speaks to God heart for the nations. These phrases occur approximately 1,000 times! Sometimes, fresh objective observations of the Scriptures bring fresh insight. For example, while we often think of Ezekiel as being a strange exilic prophet to Israel, some 60 times God indicates that the judgments and calamities prophesied for Israel and the surrounding nations are intended to result in an awareness and dependence upon Himself as the one true God: e.g. – “that they might know that I am the LORD,” “then they will know that I am the LORD,” “and you shall know that I am the LORD,” etc. These are missional statements! Paul certainly saw that Christ was the seed foretold in the Abrahamic Promise (Galatians 3:16). So, every time we see a connection to the Abrahamic Promise, we can see connections to Christ. The whole book of Hebrews points to images and illustrations from the Old Testament demonstrating the superiority of Christ in every respect. Missions aficionados often refer to ‘the Great Commission” as Jesus’ Last Command – having priority as a mandate for His people until His returns. An awareness of Christ’s sensitivity and intentionality to reach other ethnicities is evident throughout the Gospels. He “must” go through Samaria; he heals all that come to him from throughout the region of Galilee (called, “Galilee of the Gentiles”) and Decapolis, irrespective of ethnicity; he raises the centurion’s servant, and a Syro-Phoenician’s daughter. One cannot read the Gospels with an open mind and not be impressed with Jesus’ heart for all people. Certainly the close of each of the four Gospels and the book of Acts leave no shadow of doubt as to the intent and direction of God in reaching all nations. Fast-forward to the scenes recorded for us in Revelation chapters 5 and 7. In the future we know that some from every tongue, tribe, people, and nation (ethnicity) will be present around the Throne of God in Heaven worshipping the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, our Savior.' This over-arching purpose of God for His glory to all peoples across every ethnicity of earth is our purpose. It is the ultimate temporal purpose of the church. It should be reflected in the vision statement of every local church.




What priority should missions teaching have in my teaching/preaching?


Your own prayerful, open-to-missions-minded Bible study will help you figure out the priority in your personal ministry. Certainly don’t resist or bail out of opportunities to preach and teach on missions when it comes out in the course of teaching through the Bible. In fact, try to make sure that at least one time each year you preach on missions, at an appropriate time in the bigger church calendar of events. Maybe you would be the keynote, kick-off speaker or closing speaker in your church’s missions conference. Don’t let visiting speakers and missionaries have all the fun! You may recall the story behind John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad. The story behind the publication of this book is significant. As the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, John Piper was initially disinterested in missions. It was one of those ministries that ran by itself. They had a significant organizational structure for handling that. They had an annual, week-long missions conference. Piper planned to have personal vacation time during that week. However, one year the planned keynote speaker of the conference was unable to come at the last minute. The missions pastor impressed upon John Piper the necessity of his canceling his plans for personal vacation and filling in for the missing speaker. When he reluctantly agreed to do it, he canceled all appointments and locked himself in his study to develop the messages for this missions conference. Never before had he seen or received training in the comprehensive and pervasive passion of God for his glory extending to all nations. This series of messages developed for that missions conference became the basis of this book. The “missions awakening” of John Piper has been providentially used of God through this book to awaken many pastors to the strong biblical support and vision for world missions throughout the Scriptures. So, don’t leave town when missions events are scheduled. Participate. Build relationships with the missionaries. Visit them on the field. Your own study for your teaching missions through the natural course of ministry will have an impact. Your people need to hear you talking about it, preaching it, etc. To some of them, it will never be a priority unless they see and hear it firsthand from the pastor. Give it to them! It will be good for your congregation and good for you. When you see it in the Scriptures, you will be more convinced of the rank and value of missions in the church.




How can I lead our church teachers to teach missions?


We’re going to address modeling later. But, being a good model of teaching missions whenever the opportunity shows up is one of the best ways to encourage others to do the same. You can say that missions is important to you and to the church; but if your actions (often for the pastor through your teaching and preaching) don’t back up your words. To be clear, if you don’t point out missions in the Scripture and use missions illustrations, your teachers and leaders will fail to do so, also. Church teachers and leaders should be expected to attend missions conference events. You or the missions pastor can have a “missions in the Bible” or “missions in the life of our church” orientation session during one of their ministries’ orientation or training meetings. Your warmth and enthusiasm for missions and missionaries will be contagious. Read and recommend great and encouraging missions resources. Many good basic resources are recommended and available through our own Propempo Books & Media page. We recommend that most Christian families get From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya (by Ruth Tucker); it is a wonderful “Readers Digest” anthology of missionaries biographies which could be used in family devotions, Sunday School classes, kids clubs, Bible study features, etc. Good biographies are a great and natural way for people, including your church teachers to ratchet up their interest and respect for missions. Create opportunities for your teachers and leaders to interact with missionaries and missions issues, including the prospect of guiding the training and ministry development of missionaries coming from your own congregation. Attend and bring others with you in church missions exposure and training events. Ask Propempo to come and do a seminar at your church! Find and pass along opportunities in your local metro region to hear and learn from mission leaders and/or missionaries. You could even get the ball rolling for your church to sponsor such an event, e.g. – Missions Committee/Team training weekend or retreat, a workshop on “missions involvement in our small groups”.




How can I creatively present missions to people new to missions?


This is a common question for pastors whose church is active in missions. Our evangelical culture is so dominated by the larger denominations that people coming to our church with a mainline denominational background have no clue how wonderful and extensive doing missions in a good church can be. One of the first things on new folks’ minds is: how do we fund missions? They might even ask the challenging question: why do we fund missions? if in their background, missions funding just happened in the background as a percentage of church giving (sent to some functionary of the denomination, association, or fellowship), they might be surprised that your church does missions funding differently. Some new folks may have never heard of missions funding apart from the annual end-of-year push. Including the church’s relationship to missions ministries and missionaries and the practical ways in which the church supports mission, including the funding vehicle/s, should be a standard part of new-member orientation classes. Have your Missions Team develop a brochure or handout that explains how you do it at your church. Make sure that at least once each year there is some explanation from the platform about how you fund missions at your church and the importance of 100% participation. Having special missions-related features is a good way to present missions and your missions philosophy to new people. Every time there is a major catastrophe in the world, the way in which you present prayer requests, the ministry opportunities arising from it, and the channels through which your church might respond with assistance all speak volumes to newcomers about the significance and priority of missions. Does your church personalize missions through the way you support and develop ownership among your congregation. Connections through each Sunday School class or small group “adopting” a missionary are a good start. Encouraging personal relationship and communication with missionaries is helpful. Having good communication pieces on different levels can make a big difference for newcomers’ understanding. Including a missions section or column in your regular church newsletter. Make sure that there is some visual display of missions interest that the church supports. Try to have individual “prayer cards” or bookmark reminders or refrigerator cards that they can use. It’s useful for new people to see and hear from other besides the usual leaders talking about missions. Testimonies of folks from short-term missions trips, missions announcement or corporate prayer led by someone other than paid staff, etc., can be a strong assurance that missions is for the whole congregation.




What principles should I teach to help my church focus on the right things?


  1. God’s glory is the overarching purpose of God in all of creation, history, and the Bible.
  2. God really is sovereign in all things. He will completely fulfill His purposes.
  3. So, it’s really all about God and His purposes, than it is about us and our comfort.
  4. The Bible is God’s inspired, authoritative, sufficient special revelation.
  5. The Bible teaches and commands us to be about proclaiming the glory of Jesus Christ and the Gospel to all nations.
  6. The Bible also teaches us that the local church is God’s primary agent of fulfilling His will and His missions purposes.
  7. Our church wants to be obedient and faithful to do what God instructs us to do in His Word.
  8. We have the joyful responsibility of being God’s ambassadors and witnesses to a lost and dying world.
  9. We trust that God will use our church, and some particular people from out of our church, do help fulfill the Great Commission.
  10. We rejoice in every step of progress, including times of hardship and suffering, toward that grand completion.





Guide

What resources should I use to help church ministries understand missions?


First, we must encourage you to get your ministry leaders to explore and read the articles on Propempo.com. Our recommended books and resources, found through our Books & Media page, will be a fountain of resources for their education and inspiration. The top books we recommend for missions ministry development would be:

  • Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, by J. I. Packer
  • Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper
  • Serving As Senders, by Neal Pirolo
  • Test, Train, Affirm, and Send Into Ministry, by Brian Croft
  • When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
  • Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung
  • Don’t Waste Your Life, by John Piper
  • HERE to THERE: Getting From Cross to Your Mission Field, published by Propempo
  • The Church is Bigger Than You Think, by Patrick Johnstone
In addition, there are two reference books we highly recommend to be on every ministry leader’s credenza:
  • Operation World, edited by Jason Mandryk – this is a global encyclopedia of the status of Christianity and prayer guide for every country of the world
  • From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth Tucker – this is an excellent “readers digest” anthology of missionary biographies through the centuries
Propempo’s own diagnostic tool, the Propempo Church Missions Profile, is available for download. It helps you and your leaders understand your church’s missions practices compared to 12 key benchmarks in church missions ministries.




How can I get ministry leaders to incorporate missions in their areas?


Two common misconceptions frequent church ministry planning processes. The first is that resources are limited to incremental adjustments from the most recent results. This is a misconception for two reasons: it does not give credit and glory to God for His unlimited resources to fulfill His purposes; and, it does not account for the dynamics of vision. The second misconception is that each ministry is in some sort of kind and gracious Christian competition with each other for resources. Ministry leaders think their ministry is the center of the universe and should receive more time, attention, finances, manpower, etc. These misconceptions and the tension they bring, whether overt or covert, are resolved by understanding and keeping focus on the central purpose of the church. If missions and outreach is not the core and heartbeat of every ministry, then the church begins to become ingrown, shortsighted, maintenance-minded. The Nursery should have a vision for the families of the children for whom they provide care. The Sunday School classes should be consciously trying to reach the families and friends of their students. The Youth should be actively witnessing and discipling other youth. The Choir should have a mindset that they lead people to worship a worthy God, just as should be done in all the world. Missions-connectedness should permeate every ministry so that it seems natural that children and youth would aspire to become missionaries, young adults and adults would be seeking greater and greater involvement in the Great Commission for themselves and their families. When church ministries have a philosophy of ministry that puts a missions-heart at the core of the purpose of their existence, the competitive spirit becomes one of cooperation and collaboration. Resources are driven by vision and faith in God to fulfill His purposes. The purpose of our church ministries is NOT to create the biggest, best [fill in the blank] ministry. It is to give God glory by seeking to fulfill His purposes for the church, and that keeps “discipling the nations” as central to every ministry.




What outside training would be helpful to maximize leaders’ effectiveness?


Besides you own leadership, you might find it effective to have missions orientation and training with a special workshop or seminar. Sometimes, missions agencies you’re connected with may have staff available to do seminars on such topics as:

  • Missions Education through all the ministries of the church
  • Short Term Missions as a means of training and discipleship
  • Developing a vision for outreach through your ministry
  • How every church ministry can be involved in world missions
  • Serving As Senders
  • Missionary Care
  • Developing a Missions Leadership Team
  • Developing a Church Missions Vision
  • Raising and Sending Missionaries From Your Church
Propempo can provide seminars and workshops like those above. Usually we encourage a local church to invite other like minded churches to get together for such an event on a weekend, Fri-Sat, or all day Saturday. We recommend CultureLink training for Short Term Missions leaders. The course, “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement,” classes are held in churches in cities across the USA. While “Perspectives” has a good framework for learning about missions, some of the required reading and some of the speakers would not present content with which Propempo or your church would agree. You have to be discerning, even there. Resources scattered through Propempo’s website give a lot of possibilities for in-house training and development. Some conferences, notably the student missions conference between Christmas and New Years of 2013, the CROSS conference in Louisville KY, will give a tremendous boost to missions passion and practical development in your church. The Gospel Coalition now includes a missions conference on the front end of its national conference.




How can I relate to our missionaries in helpful ways?


Every pastor or missions pastor should have direct communication with the missionaries you support.

  • an annual letter, similar to a condensation of your “state of the union” report at your church’s business meeting
  • a quarterly greeting, email, or Skype call
  • a Christmas card or birthday card
Try to make time to have a personal interview or coffee meeting with your missionary when they are home on furlough or home assignment. In some kind of rotation, try to plan on visiting every missionary on their field, in their home, if possible. It may take you ten years to do it. But doing it will put them into the elite group of missionaries whose pastor cared enough to visit them on the field. Don’t go with the idea of being in the limelight and conducting a lot of ministry; it’s not about you “using your gifts.” It should be about shadowing them in “normal” life, seeing how they live, shepherding them personally, learning how to sympathize with them and pray for them effectively because you’ve seen first-hand the challenges they face, the sights, sounds, smells, and spiritual atmosphere they live in. You will find your own prayers and sermon illustration enhanced and fueled by the experience.




What role do I have in discipling and shepherding our missionaries?


Missionaries need spiritual shepherding, too! One of the most frequent causes for missionary failure is their inability or unwillingness to make their personal walk with God through personal spiritual disciplines a priority. Missionaries may become blinded by “doing God’s work” to their own need for spiritual nurture, personal spiritual growth (read that: change), and holiness. No one automatically becomes unassailably “holy” by virtue of position or title. Missionaries must fight all the harder, due to adverse environment, even spiritual oppression. The missionary’s home or sending church pastor has an essential role in keeping the spiritual accountability and vitality of his missionaries on the forefront of his ministry to them. No accountability question should be assumed. We’re aware of missionaries who have, at best, coasted spiritually, or, at worst, left a destructive trail of immorality in their wake. The simplest reason why such spiritual downfall happens is that pastors allow public reports to imply that everything is OK spiritually. Sometimes missionaries need rebuke, correction, and instruction. Pragmatism sometimes get in the way of doctrinal integrity. It is the pastor’s duty and responsibility to insure that the missionary’s life and ministry is accurately portraying what your church would do or want done in their situation. They are an extension of you and your church. You need to get into “their stuff” and find out what’s really going on. In order to minister to them, the pastor must have a comfortable line of direct communication open to each sent (if not also those supported) missionary. Today’s world offers electronic communication, mobile phone access, Internet connections through email, VOIP, video phone, etc. There’s really no reason why a pastor couldn’t arrange to have some direct communication with each missionary at least annually and for special occasions or concerns. A pastoral visit on the field would facilitate and help the relationship and accountability. Let your missionaries know about the greatest recent book you’ve read, the highlights of church family news, ask a challenging question, find out about the quality of their marriage and family relationships.




How should I lead in screening, confirming, and equipping potential workers?


As pastor, you are the leader in developing and attesting the ministry fittedness of those in your congregation for ministry. Here are thoughts that will fuel your understanding of this significant role, written for a prospective missionary candidate: Arguably the most essential step toward the mission field is developing the ministry skills in and through a local church setting that you’ll need on the field. The apostle Paul, the greatest missionary in church history, is a highly appropriate example of this truth.

  1. The church at Antioch observed Paul doing significant ministry in the church at Antioch for several years before he was released to the mission field (Acts 11.25-26). In fact, Paul was “in training” for as much as twelve years between the time of his conversion and “call” to missions and his actual departure for missionary work.
  2. Paul did not simply volunteer to go to the field. The elders set him apart through the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-3). While this incident is not typical, and while it is not wrong to volunteer for the mission field, confirmation of “the call” does not happen in a vacuum. Michael Griffiths writes, “The most that an individual can do is express his willingness. Others must determine his worthiness. The individual may be free to go, but only his church knows if he is really fitted to go.” (in Get Your Church Involved in Missions)
The local church attests to the veracity of God’s calling as it confirms your mix of gifts, skills, training and inclination. The Bible does not authorize missionary candidates to “lay hands on” themselves. Let this sink in! It is important for you to understand and make it practical in your spiritual values and priorities: The local church is central to God’s plan for ministry and missions to all nations! Here is a simple overview of biblical principles showing the centrality of the local church in understanding its priority for the task of missions. Briefly:
  1. Those who received the Great Commission directly–the Apostles, their contemporaries, and their helpers–fulfilled the mandate by planting and organizing indigenous churches (see all the book of Acts!). They understood that the fruit of obedience to the Great Commission resulted in the establishment of new local churches everywhere.
  2. The Great Commission, as expressed in Matthew 28:16-20, cannot be fulfilled apart from a mutually committed group of believers meeting together for worship, teaching, and edification, under biblically recognized church leadership, and observing the ordinances given by Christ. i.e. – The natural product of completely fulfilling the Great Commission is local churches.
  3. The vast majority of New Testament epistles were addressed to local churches or leaders of local churches. This presumes the local church to be the nexus of the practice of Christian life and maturity.
  4. Jesus’ promise to build His church (Matthew 16:18) and biblical teaching regarding church discipline (see Matthew 18:15-20, and all of 1 Corinthians) is set in the context of the local church.
  5. Jesus’ messages to “the seven churches of Asia” (Rev. 2-3) speak to the significance and centrality of local churches in the perspective of Christ, some 60 years after the giving of the Great Commission.
  6. The 40+ “one another” commands of the New Testament all refer to the dynamic relationships of Christians within a local church context.
  7. The local church in Antioch is the scriptural setting through which the Holy Spirit worked to set apart the first New Testament missionaries. Clearly, in the outlook of Paul and Barnabas, the local church is intended as the initiator, the means, and the ends of Gospel missions ministry.
  8. Paul appeals to the local church of Rome to partner with him in his pioneering aspirations for the last unreached area of the Mediterranean basin, the Iberian Peninsula, “Spain” (Romans 15:18-29). The reason behind Paul’s
  9. letter to the Philippians is to thank them for their ongoing financial support and encouragement. His relationship to that local church as a partner in his missionary ministry was a source of great joy and enablement. The relationship and accountability to his first “sending” church at Antioch is a model for all missionaries.
  10. With Apostolic authority from Christ, Paul charges his colleagues, Timothy and Titus, to organize local churches and appoint spiritually qualified leaders in them. His goal, apparently, was to see indigenous local churches as the fruit of his and their work.
  11. John appeals to a church leader, Gaius, to continue his church’s good work of lavishly loving and providing for the needs of Gospel workers. Indeed, this responsibility is described as the privilege and duty of the local church body, as partners in the truth with missionaries. (3 John 5-8)
  12. The local church validates and approves workers set apart for ministry. (Acts 13:1-3; 14:26-28; 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:22; Titus 1:5-9)





Model

How does my personal life and example lead others in missions?


At any given moment, someone in your church may ask you, “So, what do YOU think about missions?, How important is missions to you, personally?, How do you pray for missionaries?, How do you give to missions?” Are you ready for those questions? If your answers to demonstrate objective, observable actions on your part, it’s impossible for you to make a case for practical, sacrificial involvement of others. It is unacceptable to claim that “missions is not my thing,” or some such lame answer. You are the pastor! Missions reflects the core reason for the church’s existence! Missions is NOT a tangential, peripheral ministry of the church. So, though you may think that you prepared, equipped, or inclined toward missions leadership, you’ve got to take a long look in the mirror and realize that, as pastor, you are a key missions leader in your church. Get moving! Ask yourself, am I an adequate model in these areas (below)? If not, how do I need to change, grow, or become informed in order to be a good model? You may need to ask for some help from mature people around you.

  • prayer for missionaries
  • prayer for world missions
  • giving for missions through your church
  • financial support of missions and missionaries beyond your church
  • leading your family in missions interest, concern, prayer, giving
  • reading missions related books and articles, missionary biographies, etc.
  • communication with missionaries
  • hospitality extended to missionaries
  • plans for visiting missionaries
  • growing awareness of and concern for those of ethnic or other cultures around you
  • willingness to give platform time to missions interests
  • weaving missions illustrations in your preaching and praying publicly
  • awareness of missions opportunities and concerns through world events
  • seeing and finding missions throughout the Bible




How can I model financial stewardship for missions?


The bottom line is: give to missions. However your church supports and gives to missions, you must personally do it — joyfully, liberally, and timely. It must not be an afterthought or “extra.” You do not get a “pass” because you are in ministry. You shouldn’t wait until you’re paid better, or you work yourself out of debt, or you’ve funded your “emergency fund.” You cannot expect anyone in your church to do any better in the area of giving to missions than you and your family are giving. Give based on your gross income, not your net income. If you have multiple income streams in your family, give from the aggregate not just your individual income. Give intentionally, thoughtfully, and planned. Giving out of emotional knee-jerk reactions to special appeals will not fund a consistent missions ministry of the church. Your model for giving, in both quality and quantity, is what your model is for the church. It’s OK to talk about it, not brag about it. If it comes up, feel free to let others know about how you plan and prayerfully give to the missions efforts of your church. They want to know. They want to know what the pattern is. Be ready to answer that question, “How do you determine how much to give and when to give to missions?” This area also means that you will have to speak up in staff and board meeting to defend the missions budget, its growth, generosity, and direction. You model both by what you do and by what you say to promote and steward missions funding. Ask questions; but check your motives to look for subtle turf or pride wars going on in your heart. Missions funding is not a zero-sum pie; a bigger slice going to missions, does not mean that God will not adequately fund other ministries in the church that may hold more interest for you. You might even have to curb your financial appetite for that ministry or outreach or limelight that has become the apple of your eye, your favorite vision, your pet project. Pray, think clearly, and model fiancial stewardship favoring missions outreach beyond the walls of you and your church’s reach in those meetings and in private conversation with your church leaders. They will notice. God will bless your leadership through your modeling in the area of financial stewardwhip.




How can I demonstrate ownership and commitment to missions?


Most pastors are ex officio members of every standing ministry team, department, committee, or board. Exercise your privilege to attend the Missions Team meeting. Go as an observer; but go prepared and informed to encourage and motivate them to high goals. Ask to get involved directly with missionaries, short term missions, field visits, etc. Just your asking will be an encouragement and reinforce your support of those things. Find out what unique contribution you could make to plans and resourcing for missions efforts. e.g. – Could you be a special speaker or MC for a missions event? Could you be a resource teacher/trainer for a short term missions team on ministry, or servanthood, or prayer, or biblical content? Could you supply some resource from your library or your counseling time to aid a missionary in need? You could volunteer to be in the hospitality rotation for visiting missionary or missions speakers. Your patient and sympathetic interview of missionaries when they pass through the area will go a long way to showing and growing your concern for them and their ministry. Your commitment to visit them on the field is enormous and impactful in every direction. Be as current as you can be with missions and world events issues. You will probably need someone from the missions team or missionary community to help you triage what is out there to find what is the best, most concise information for you to digest.




How does my preaching show a passion for missions?


It’s difficult to be too critical of pastors who have never had teaching or modeling of even seeing missions throughout the Scriptures. Seminary training rarely teaches it. Most churches that you grew up in didn’t have pastors who frequently pointed out the missions content and implications of the narrative and teachings of Scripture. For example, have you ever heard a message which emphasizes what the Bible states is the purpose of the story of David and Goliath? You’ve heard plenty of Sunday School lessons and sermons on that story. Most likely, nearly all of them emphasized the courage of David, how God favors little guys with faith, even ridiculously allegorized versions about all the elements of the story, from the extra large armor of Saul to the five smooth stones. But, 1 Samuel 17:46 clearly states that the desired outcome of the encounter of David with Goliath is intended that, “the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel (NIV).” There is a missional purpose to the inclusion of that story in the canon of the Old Testament! Pray that God would open your eyes to see it, not just in 1 Samuel 17 but throughout the Scriptures. Jesus’ response to his hometown audience in the Bethlehem synagogue told in Luke 4 shows that He knew that those stories conserved by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for us demonstrate God’s heart for the Gentiles. It was a message that enraged his listeners; but the import should not be lost on the preacher of that passage. In Luke 24 Jesus used all the Old Testament Pentateuch, Psalms, and prophets to show God’s global message of salvation through repentance and faith through Himself as the exclusive God-man and Messiah to be proclaimed throughout the whole world. The story of John Piper and the birth of his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, is illustrative of the plight of many pastors who having previously seen the significance of God missions passion reflected yet in their preaching. May God spare you years of wandering to discover this truth. Then, may God inspire and invade your preaching with a passion for missions that is undeniable to any listener. Among the key resources that every pastor should be familiar with is John Piper’s book Let The Nations Be Glad. The story behind the publication of this book is significant. As the lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, John piper was initially disinterested in missions. It was one of those ministries that ran by itself. They had a significant organizational structure for handling that. They had an annual, week-long missions conference. Piper planned to have personal vacation time during that week. However, one year the planned keynote speaker of the conference was unable to come at the last minute. The missions pastor impressed upon John Piper the necessity of his canceling his plans for personal vacation and filling in for the missing speaker. When he reluctantly agreed to do it, he canceled all appointments and locked himself in his study to develop the messages for this missions conference. Never before had he seen or received training in the comprehensive and pervasive passion of God for his glory extending to all nations. This series of messages developed for that missions conference became the basis of this book. The “missions awakening” of John Piper has been providentially used of God through this book to awaken many pastors to the strong biblical support and vision for world missions throughout the Scriptures.




How does my family life reflect a high view of missions?


Your family devotions should include missionary stories and biographies. Your wife and children should know and see missions in the Bible because you have pointed it out to them in real life. Your awareness of how to see and discuss national and world events through a world missions lens will coach, encourage, and train them to see Gospel opportunities woven into the course of history. Your family’s hospitality to, generosity to, relationship with missionaries will model and provide life guidance for your kids and their missions interest. Are you willing for your children to grow up to become missionaries? Are you doing and saying things that would encourage that or discourage that? Check your heart. What you do at home becomes the standard by which you can expect others to measure their family’s orientation to and embracing of missions. What does your family do to care for missionaries? Do you make and/or send cards for their birthdays and anniversaries? What does your family do away from home? Do you think about missions connections even on vacation? Do you continue to pray consistently for missionaries, even when your “off” or “away”? These kind of things are the true litmus test of your high view of missions (or otherwise).




How do I encourage young people to consider a missions vocation?


The younger, the better. Many pastors never really consider challenging young people to include “missionary” in their list of possible occupations. Then, almost as a surprise, they receive a pastoral reference form from a mission agency stating that they need your endorsement for young Joe Churchmember to become a missionary. Too little relationship, too late. Some grew up in churches where it was the highest and best goal for young men to aspire to become pastor/preachers. Missionary aspirations were OK for those who couldn’t reach that pastor/preacher rung in the spiritual vocational ladder. Alas, such thinking is shortsighted and prideful. Holding up examples of good missionaries and biographies of good missionaries is a great start. Young people aspire to be like their heroes. If you point them to missionary heroes, they will want to be like them. Having your Sunday School and Youth staff regularly encourage thinking about missions will help. Youth are able to participate in service projects and mission outreach. Short Term Missions can be an avenue for discipling and training in missions values and skills. Your annual Missions Conference is an excellent opportunity to encourage young people to consider a missionary vocation. You may encourage your Missions Team to put together a workshop or seminar or special visiting teacher (like Propempo staff!) to explain the pathway toward becoming a missionary. Youth and their parents need to see and hear concrete steps toward training and qualifying for missionary service. Your personal “pat on the back” will carry an extraordinary influence in the mind of possible missionary candidates.




How does my enthusiasm and embrace of missions show to others?


This question practically answers itself. If you have enthusiasm for missions, you will not be able to contain it. It will show! The converse is also true. If you do not have enthusiasm for missions, your lack of enthusiasm will become painfully evident. We maintain that, if you love God and His Word, you will not be able to resist having a deep, heartfelt love for missions. Maybe you’ve lacked exposure in the past. Maybe you’ve been burnt by bad experiences in the past. OK; get over it! Find some good experiences. Develop some good models. Ask for help, if you need it. It’s just like anything that is of high priority or value to you. If you truly embrace and love it, it will ooze out of your pores, trickle through your speech, show up in your agenda, etc. What happens in a staff or board meeting when missions topics come up? Do you zone out? or, Do you wake up and lean forward and interact with it? When the missionary is speaking, are you thinking of penetrating questions to learn about their life and ministry? or, are you hoping it will finish so that you can get on with your life? Be honest with yourself. You may have to overcome “missions deficit syndrome” in your training, experience, and inclination in order to properly lead yourself, your family, and your congregation in this essential ministry.





Engage

How do I personally engage in the tasks of missions in my church?


Your selective volunteerism will be a large encouragement to all involved in missions tasks. It is important for your congregation to see you doing some of the same things you’re promoting for them to do. So, if you are able to attend (as a learner!) missions seminars, training events, conferences, do that. Your benefit will be greater than just what you gain from going yourself. We’ve already spoken about your participation, whether as ex officio or official membership, in your missions leadership committee or team. Hospitality and relationship-building with your missionaries is integral to your engaging with missions. Visiting missionaries on the field should be a priority for you and your church. To have that personal touch and experience will go a long way to your and your church’s understanding of the ministries and people you are supporting. Field visits don’t have to be very long; a few days is fine. Depending on the geography, you might have a connect-the-dots trip to hit several in one trip. Remember, this is not a vacation, it is not a resort-hopping trip, it is not supposed to put you in the limelight or add anything to your resume. Field visits are for you to shadow and experience and question your missionaries life and ministry on the field. It is relationship-building and information gathering. One way that you can make a unique and necessary contribution to the work of missions is through the discipleship and mentoring of missionary candidates. You can and should have some involvement in their lives as they develop and grow in ministry effectiveness through your watchcare. Here are some ideas for doing that, below. You don’t have to do all these things yourself. However, you may be involved in guiding and shepherding the process along. In the end, you will have to give that pastoral reference form to a mission agency. You want it to come from long exposure and solid personal relationship, not out of ignorance. Here’s a list of great learning activities in which you might be involved in guidance and mentoring.

  • It’s critical for the candidate’s missions motivation to flow out of the biblical concept of the glory of God and His global purpose to see Jesus Christ glorified in all nations.
  • Test their interests, gifts and skills in a variety of ministry settings such as ministry to children and youth, evangelism, and small group leadership.
  • Become a mentor or prayer partner who will be ruthlessly honest with the candidate in evaluating their spiritual maturity, relationships, and personality.
  • Help them seek out opportunities for local cross-cultural ministry similar to the place or culture they would like to serve.
  • Provide or point out opportunities for them to share the Gospel consistently.




In what ways should I engage with our supported missionaries?


We’ve already discussed this in the course of answering questions of several previous articles in this “Church Leadership” path. Here are some of those ideas in list form:

  • communicate regularly with your supported missionaries
  • work to develop a relationship with them
  • try to understand their field ministry context and challenges
  • shepherd their family and marriage relationships
  • try to learn the mission agency structure and leadership through whom they serve
  • pray for them systematically and consistently
  • when they come through your area/church, make sure you have a private time of interview and coffee or a meal with them
  • resource them with whatever latest, greatest applicable resource you encounter or enjoy
  • advocate for them; be their best cheerleader
  • ask them penetrating questions that push them to make goals, be theologically discerning, properly understand and represent your church’s ministry
  • demonstrate love and appreciation for them
  • rejoice with their accomplishments and weep with their disappointments
  • praise their good communication and admonish their lack of or poor communication




Should I prioritize personal field visits?


Yes. Reasonably, depending on the size and resources of your church, the pastor should try to visit one missionary or one swath of missionaries every other year or so. This should be considered as part of your job description. It doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone; you may find it advantageous or even necessary to be accompanied by someone with more experience in the particular area you’re trying to visit. You may need some training in security procedures. Again, you must not consider this a vacation or an opportunity for being in the limelight. This is not a ministry spotlight trip for you and your gifts; this is a shepherding ministry trip to and for the missionary. It doesn’t mean that you need to stay in a cave or ignore the opportunity to take in cultural sites and features. But it should not be a teaching or preaching tour.




How and when do I communicate with our missionaries?


  • Not less than annually, a state-of-the-union letter describing highlights of the church’s ministry
  • When the missionaries visit, personal communication and an interview/coffee/mealtime with them
  • Perhaps quarterly, some personal email, Skype, or phone call of greeting and “catch up” about their ministry and concerns
  • A field visit, once every ten years on the field.
  • Special communication in times of crisis
  • Affirmation of prayer for them through whatever normal channels the church may use




How can I support the work of the Missions Team in mobilizing the church?


Visit the team. See how they operate. Go as an observer/learner. Ask questions. Develop a close relationship with the Missions Chairperson/Leader/Pastor. Have regular meetings to find out what’s going on and what issues they are wrestling with. Ask the Missions Team for help in understanding missiological trends or issues, your missionary “staff” environments, etc. Develop a good source for missions information and resources from which to find statistics, illustrations, etc. for sermons and teaching. Speak of the Missions Team and their ministry in public and private meetings. Give them time for the annual Missions Conference event, platform time when needed, missionary time when needed. Encourage other ministries of the church to seek resources and vision for missions education and outreach through their own ministries. Make the process of administration of the Missions ministry of the church easy by encouraging proper resources of their work and helping direct personnel resources to assist them.




How can I encourage the Missions Team in their work?


Meet with the Missions Team and the Missions Team Leader with some frequency and consistency. Help them receive the personnel and financial resources and space they need to do their job well, without encumbrance. Grow yourself to be a mission-minded, missions-advocating pastor. Study and become aware enough of missions trends and issue that you can adequately discuss and guide their thinking and discernment to be aligned with proper doctrine and practice. Challenge them to excellence in all they do for mobilization of the congregation and management of the complex missions enterprise in the church. Introduce them to Propempo resources and training, including the plethora of information and resources available through Propempo.com




How can I encourage our missionaries in their work?


First, you need to know them. Know their goals and strategies; learn their ministries strengths and inclinations; find out what aspects of their work, local culture, language learning, administration, housing situation, etc. create concerns. Try to get them to open up and share what going on beneath the surface in their heart and mind. Shepherd them; encourage them; point them to specific Scriptures; hold them accountable in the spiritual life. Send them a book or DVD or Internet link that would encourage them, or bring them joy or laughter. Get them connected to affinity groups or families in your church – people that will follow up in those interest areas or hobbies.





Delegate

What is the essence of delegation in the area of missions?


Invest in and trust your church missions team (or committee, or board, or task force, or whatever you call them). Choose a missions leader who understands missions and is a good communicator, with good management skills. Provide the best resources to inform and guide the team possible. Propempo and Propempo.com can be your church’s ally. If you will meet at least monthly for a coffee or update meeting with the missions leader, you will be kept apprised of direction, progress, and significant issues from the team. If you and the elders/leaders board provide the missions team with the basic principles for guidance, you should be able to trust the team to carry out the day-to-day management and promotion of missions within the church. Having mutually understood direction and focus will serve your church well and facilitate trusted delegation.




What are the primary areas to delegate (and the areas to hold on to)?


Delegate: the annual missions conference interview, evaluation, & recommendation process for making support commitments construction of the proposed missions budget approval, management, training, and discipleship of short term missions teams/project administration and promotion of missions education and ownership distributed throughout church ministries, e.g. “Missions Advocates,” small groups and SS classes “adopting” missionaries routine missions communication via email, brochures, displays, newsletters, etc. management and leadership of monthly (and other) missions team meetings recurring prayer meetings and emphases Hold on to: setting guidelines principles for decision-making and future development approval of strategic focus/focii for future vision development and implementation final approval of the budget approval of keynote speakers invited from outside the church review, at least in concept, of public media & announcements for Sunday morning services




How can I make delegation work?


The surest way is to have such a relationship with your missions leadership, both staff and/or lay leaders, that that is a large sense of trust and understanding. Relationships trump ripples of problems that will inevitably occur. If you and your mission leaders are “on the same page” and trust each other, you’ll be able to repair and rebuild any glitches that pop up with a minimum of lost inertia. So, take the time to meet with your missions leaders. Visit that Missions Team from time to time. Show appreciation for their hard work behind the scenes. Written communication usually helps clarify and sharpen expectations. These are not “edits” or “memos” giving orders from on high. Rather, it will be a summary of a conversation in which some direction or guidance was given, received, and understood by all involved. Having the missions team keep a record of minutes or proceedings of which you receive a courtesy copy will help you keep up with what’s going on in their meetings. Yes, that means you have to read it! Certainly having the person responsible as a missions leader of the missions team reporting with some regularity to the elder or governing leadership board of the church will go a long way to having “no surprises.” A part of the missions policy document/s should be simple job or position descriptions. Anything to keep expectations and accountability clear is a help, without being overbearing or over-detailed. You still need to allow people to discover or creativity figure out how to do their tasks. It’s possible that they would do things differently AND better than you and other church leaders might imagine! Give lots of credit as publicly as is reasonable to those who are behind significant progress or events. Good leaders give credit freely and take blame for themselves. Doing so will encourage trust and loyalty much more than you might think. Be a good listener; offer your evaluations and corrections cautiously and in the right context. These delegation skills will serve you well in any area of ministry, not just missions.




What changes when I delegate?


Several wonderful things happen when you delegate well: You affirm that the church is all the people of the church; it is not your private fiefdom/kingdom. You develop ownership for the ministry among others, which happens to be one of the keys to obeying and implementing Ephesians 4. You open channels for the flow of much more energy, creativity, and joyful service. You provide greater margin in your personal life and ministry, allowing you to focus on excellence in your own priority ministries. You enhance your followership quotient; that is, when people see that you are not the “emperor, micro manager, ogre-leader” they are much more willing to volunteer and serve wholeheartedly. You model the very quality of leadership you want and need others in the church to exhibit, mobilizing others to get involved and have ownership of ministry in the church. You become a better pastor and yourself develop a larger sense of trust in others.




How can I make delegating effective?


The essence of effective delegation is clear communication and clear expectations on both sides. Both parties in the transaction must understand and interpret the communication, as identically accurate as possible. So, written records can be very helpful, whether formal or informal. Affirmation that responsibility and authority to fulfill that responsibility is important. One pitfall of leaders who otherwise think they are effective is that they do not confer the authority and resources necessary to do the task. When you and your colleague have had the delegation conversation, try to get a verbal assurance of understanding the task assigned and whatever parameters. Good goals include some description of the end/s desired, the time deadline, and whatever limitation on resources. If your delegatee is clear on expectations and everyone understands that he/she has the authority to make it happen, the only item remaining is to agree on some frequency or stages of reporting on progress or completion. Depending on the nature of what you are delegating, make the report requirements as minimal as possible. Remember, we’re getting away from micro managing!




How does my vision influence the missions vision of the church?


Two stories illustrate the impact and influence of a pastor “getting missions” in his vision for the church. A few years ago I asked a local church pastor out to lunch. My purpose was to find out what their church was doing in missions and if I could help them. I had visited his church; I knew nothing beyond the minimal routine denominational missions obligation was happening there. After we’d eaten, I asked, “What is your missions vision for your church?” His face was blank. I don’t think anyone had ever asked him that question before. After a thoughtful pause (it looked like his mind was racing to come up with an answer), he replied, “I think our church has been very successful in evangelizing our community. I think we should plant some other churches just like ours in nearby areas.” I could tell that he felt satisfied with his answer. It seemed like he thought, “See! That’s a great answer!” Then again, I hadn’t responded yet. I wanted to compliment him. I realized that he was a pastor for which missions was only a possibility. I could tell that he wasn’t sure where this was going. So, I said, “That’s a great start! You can use local church planting as your laboratory and internship process to train people to plant churches all around the world.” You could have knocked him over with a feather. He looked like he’d just had the wind knocked out of him. Fast forward: Six months later, while visiting this dear brother’s church, I found in the lobby a freshly printed missions vision statement. It stated, in essence, “Our church is going to plant other churches, locally and overseas. We’re going to get experience here that we can use to deploy missionaries around the world.” John Piper tells this account of his own growth in missions “ownership.” When he first came to Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, it already had a missions program with an annual missions conference planned well in advance. Being the typical, well-disciplined pastor at the time, he decided that the annual missions conference week would be a good week to take a vacation. One year, just weeks before the conference, the missions committee came to him to insist that he stay. The planned keynote speaker couldn’t make it at the last minute. They urgently needed him, the pastor, to be the speaker for the week! Let me interject here, while this was an unplanned incident, it was a genius stroke of Providence. I’ve often wondered if the situation couldn’t be duplicated in other churches. i.e. – Could you try doing this same thing with your pastor? Maybe you should consider asking your pastor to preach on missions! Back to the story: Piper panicked! He had little or no experience in preaching missions. But there was no way out. The vacation was shelved; off the shelf came the Bible and commentaries to start studying. He shuttered himself into his study to do the tedious work of preparation on short notice. What happened? God spoke through His Word! John Piper got it! His whole perspective on missions and his role was transformed. His classic book on the supremacy of God in missions, Let the Nations Be Glad was the result. An enduring result was a determined change in the purpose, vision, and values statement of Bethlehem Baptist Church — pushing missions into a clear passion of the church. Does the pastor’s vision for missions affect the church? Absolutely. Do whatever it takes to capture a passionate vision for missions in your own heart for the sake of your church!




How does delegation better fulfill my role as pastor?


When you learn how to delegate effectively, you will be amazed at the positive transformation it makes in your personal ministry and in the life of the church. People love to take ownership and be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. You will love the newfound time and energy to devote to priorities in ministry, instead of personally putting out fires all the time. You will be a better pastor, because you’re equipping the people for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4). Your church will have greater capacity to grow both numerically and spiritually. Your obedience, servant-leadership, and delegation skills will model for other ministry leaders all down the line and make them more effective leaders. Delegation is a win-win!




What is Delegate ?


We wish there was a good class on delegation. Unfortunately, American pastors, who don’t have a plurality of equal-to-them elders functioning as a team together, tend to have a emperor complex. American pastors are infamous for being control freaks, micro managers, “my way or the highway” kind of leaders. By actions more than by actual words, the American pastor stereotype tells everyone around them, “I’m called to be the leader. I’m the visionary. I’m the one giving directions here.” It kind of smells like the attitudes Jesus warned His disciples against. Delegation is something that happens when the pastor has a heart attack or he just really doesn’t want to do that thing that’s being delegated. Yet, if the church is to grow, delegation must happen. In fact, ironically, delegation is the very thing that facilitates church planting ministry and helps the burgeoning church to develop indigenous leaders. It’s true that delegation means some degree of release of control. Things won’t be done in exactly the same manner or end up with exactly the same results as if you did them or you micro managed the stuffing out of it. However, it’s better to learn how to delegate so that you don’t have a heart attack, rather than have the heart attack force you to delegate. Delegation is the art of persuading and communicating others to do a task or project for the good of the whole body. Delegation gives both responsibility and authority to others. Delegation also allows for the possibility of failure. Failure isn’t always bad, by the way. Through failure we all, including you, learn from experience. Missions is one of the prime areas of ministry where you will be dependent on delegation to accomplish the education and mobilization of the church in a specialized area that you would not be able to accomplish on your own without neglecting other essential ministry priorities. You must find competent and proactive leaders and servants to carry the missions ministry of the church farther and better than you could. It’s OK if you want to be involved. It’s OK for you to give others resources and ideas to fuel their progress. It’s not OK for you to micro manage and subjugate everyone in the missions team to do it your way. This section will help you with some ideas about how to effectively delegate in the area of missions. There might be some transferable principles into other areas of church ministry, as a bonus!





Advance to Missionary

Advance to Missionary


We’re excited about this new online resource! Content is in the process of being created and ported. Prayerfully support Propempo.com and consider contributing to its content. The next path-book, “Missionary,” on Propempo.com will help you (or your missionary candidate or supported missionary) walk through eight steps of personal ministry and skills development with a view to long-term effectiveness in a cross-cultural field setting. Some of the early steps: Learn, Aim, Plan, Build, are foundational to sound ministry philosphy and personal growth as a cross-cultural worker/missionary. Strategic field skills to: Evaluate, Strategize, Multiply, and Finish, complement life-growth and spiritual impact from beginning to legacy. Every wanna-be missionary should spend time interacting with these concepts. 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





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.
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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
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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
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




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
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




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!
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




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.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




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
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 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.
Come back to this page for future additions of comments, links, and downloadable resources.




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