By Gary Becker
Recently WorldVenture sent me few copies of
Skills, Knowledge, Character – A Church-Based Approach to Missionary Candidate Preparation by Greg Carter. Reading this manual has reinforced some of my own concerns about the place of the church not only in missions but in the totality of ministry in our culture.
My observation about the function of ministry today is that the church has, in
many ways, lost its biblical place. Biblically, the church is to be the base for ministry in evangelism, discipleship, and even social areas of ministry. In a future article, the role of the church will be dealt with more in detail.
In this issue, I want to address first some observations about how the church has lost its role. My observations begin with a somewhat critical view of our churches, mission agencies, and ministry organizations. However, right from the start let me say how much I appreciate many of these agencies and organizations. The realization is many of these groups have succeeded where the church has failed. My concern, like Greg Carter, is that the base for missions and ministry has become the organizations over the church.
These observations are not mine alone but many others are beginning to see the same things. Some of the observations are:
1. The church has become dependent on the agencies and has actually relegated the biblical role of the church to them.
2. The church funds the organizations and agencies without really requiring a clear accountability of them.
3. The organizations are
becoming less and less connected to the churches. One basic indication of this is that the majority of missionaries do not depend on churches to provide support. The majority of missionary support comes from individuals not churches. In many cases people are not tithing to church but using what should be a tithe to the church as a means for missionary support.
4. Training for ministry has been turned over to educational institutions and/or the mission organization itself. Some agencies even take the role as an ordaining body. Thus, usurping the biblical place of the church.
The priority of ministry and missions is not directed at church planting or building up the local church.
Naturally, these observations are not true of all churches and/or ministry organizations. Actually, it is encouraging to see that some of these agencies and organizations are actually seeking to build a stronger interdependence on local churches. Likewise, some churches are waking up to see the needs in this area.
The role of the church is very clear in Scripture. Again, using bullet points, that hopefully do not need much explanation, here are some of the key points:
1. While the commission for evangelism and ministry is given to every disciple, the context is that the church is at the core. (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2, Acts 1:8, Acts 13)
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Discipleship in the book of Act and epistles was in the context of the local church and under the leadership of the church.
Ordination and the appointment of people for ministry is the authority of the church. Acts 13, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus clearly outline the process of appointment to be through the church.
The priority of the mission of the church is to be the founding and establishment of local churches.
Thus, the church biblically is to be at the center-point and is to be the primary accountable authority in missions.
Restoring the place of the church to the biblical place of mission is not an easy fix. In the next few issues of the Equipper we will begin to explore the issues and potential for the church to assume its biblical place. Additionally, we will consider the relationship of the church with other agencies and organizations to increase the effectiveness of fulfilling the mission.
Facebook Post: The Power of Passion in Leadership by Hans Finzel
Hans and I are very close in age and stage in ministry. Reading his recent book, I resonated with him in many ways. He opens up himself to his recent and past experiences in the stages of ministry. He shares how there were times where he simply knew his passion for the Lord was strong, but
his place in ministry was not fulfilling his passion. I could certainly relate with him
in almost every part of this book.
One of the areas I related with him is his leaving a secure position of leader- ship to follow his passion to be a mentor and coach.
In 2013, just about year after Hans left his leadership position at WorldVen- ture, I left the pastorate of a church after 14 years to pursue my passion in pastoral coaching and church consulting. The church offered a secure place of ministry with a secure income. However, I knew it was time to pursue my passion taking risks particularly regarding my needed income.
God is increasingly showing me He has a plan. I have been blessed to be able to come alongside a number of pastors in coaching and encouraging. We are trusting God to provide for our needs, so that we will have an even greater ministry.
Check out our facebook post or website to get a copy of Hans’ book for only $.99 on kindle.
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BBM offers several training ministries including workshops, seminars, conferences, and coaching. Each ministry is designed based on the church assuming its biblical position. The focus is not local or global missions but “Mission” based. Contact Gary Becker for more information about building a training ministry to match your church.