20 earnest questions building missionary effectiveness

What might happen to preventable attrition and long-term effectiveness of missionary efforts if local sending churches asked these kinds of questions?



For the Missionary Candidate:

  1. Do your personal spiritual disciplines exhibit consistency and stamina to feed your soul through hardship and loneliness on the field?

  2. Does your life show observable character like that in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1?

  3. Do you have a record of serving faithfully and fruitfully in your home church context?

  4. Are you a self-starter? What is your level of taking initiative to serve, minister to others, evangelize, reach out cross-culturally?

  5. Do you have the commitment it takes to work hard at language and culture as a first priority on the field, setting aside other activities, to learn the language at a proficiency level able to communicate biblical truths and values?

  6. Do you understand a good biblical definition of a local church?

  7. Do you have enough biblical and theological understanding to be discerning in your field ministry in the context of a different culture and faddish missiological trends?

  8. Are you committed to good, frequent communication with your constituents, especially your sending church?

  9. Are you committed to doing the hard and humbling work of raising your support (and maintaining those partnership relationships) as an integral part of your ministry and calling?

  10. Do you have an informed understanding of how becoming a missionary will impact and change your privately held convictions or philosophy of family life on the foreign field?

  11. Do you have a track record of total moral purity in your marriage and other relationships, including any form of pornography?

  12. Do you have a lifestyle that will sustain your physical health, including diet, exercise, sleep habits, use of habit-forming substances, etc.?

  13. Do you have a realistic plan for taking care of personal finances, legal matters, taxes, certifications, ongoing educational needs of your children while on the field?

  14. How can I build relationships with my sending church leadership that will strengthen my integrity and accountability while on the field?









For the Local Sending Church missions leadership:


  1. What would happen if we support fewer units with sharper focus and have a larger financial partnership and a real sense of ownership of the personnel and field ministries, rather than supporting many with crumbs of financial support and low value on partnership and ownership?

  2. What if we focused on the high biblical values of pioneering church planting and strengthening of indigenous churches, rather than investing in everyone that asks or every "friend" of our church family?

  3. What if we established a partnership agreement with (a) missions agencies (agency) to better serve our missionary with shepherding member care and accountability (and not leave it up to the agency)?

  4. How can we use natural segments of our congregation to get more involved in the care and support of our missionaries? e.g. - Sunday School classes, small groups.

  5. How can we plan visits to our missionary to encourage, shepherd, and fuel their ministry to faithfully stay on the field for the long term?

  6. What experience and practical ministry skills development can we do that would enhance our missionary's pre-field training to thrive long-term on the field?



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