By Gary Becker
In the last two issues of The Equipper, the emphasis has been on the role of the church in the ministry of local and global missions. A primary concern expressed has been over the local church neglecting its biblical role in missions. The flip side of the concern is the mission agency assuming the role as a sending agency apart from the local church. In this issue the intent is not to attack missions agencies but to consider how to build relationships that improve effectiveness and reflect a biblical relationship.
Gregg Carter, the author of A Church-Based Approach to Missionary Candidate Preparation, suggests the role of “The Agency provides:
Assessment of potential candidates
Administration and oversight”
Mission agencies certainly have a value in these four areas. The biblical pattern of the church is not one of total delegation. In each of these areas there should be a partnership. Partnership should never mean a “division of
powers.” The church and the agency need to see each other as a partner. Biblically, the church should be the one that delegates authority. Remember, in management, delegation requires supervision.
Delegation without accountability is poor management. Thus the church may delegate but must hold the agency and the missionary candidate accountable.
The church can be the best place for the assessment of a candidate for career ministry. A problem is that some churches, and even pastors, are not willing to make the investment in a candidate. They are more often ready to “let the agency do that.” One argument is that the agency has more experience. Biblically, the church should be directly involved in the assessment process and orientation. Working alongside the agency provides the most effective means of preparing missionaries. Gregg Carter’s manual provides great resources for the church in taking a leading role and becoming actively involved
(rather than being passively involved).
support is one of
the primary areas
become an arm of
However, delegating responsibility for the logistics does not remove the church from its responsibilities. Some churches want to see their members go into missions but take little responsibility providing the support to the mission agency in the logistics. Missions are costly and the missions focused church recognizes it will cost the church to be a fully mobilized church in missions. Mission agencies can help churches to understand the logistics, and together they can build a strategic partnership.
Administration and oversight is often delegated to the agency. What results is the church becomes disconnected from what actually takes place on the mission field. If the church simply “sends the missionary” and never gets a first hand vision of what is happening on the field, they lose the right to be involved in crucial areas of oversight. When a church invests in field visits and takes an active role, it earns the right to be more directly involved in the oversight. If the church is going to share in the oversight, it needs to develop a close partnership with the agency. The strongest support is always a triangle.
The mission agency provides a vital role in most missions. Because churches have relinquished the biblical position of taking the lead in missions, agencies have filled the void. When a church takes its biblical role and builds a true partnership with the agency the effectiveness is a much greater local and global impact.
A triangle provides a great support structure. The triangle in missions is a strong partnership between the church, the agency, and the missionary. It takes willingness on the church to assume much more
“The local church has a critical role in preparing people to become effective missionaries, but few know how to do it. “
responsibility, a willingness of the agency to share authority, and a missionary who is willing to submit to greater accountability. The rewards for all three have great promise.
One more consideration for this model is many churches have limited gifts, resources, and personnel to provide for this kind of partnership. A potential in this type of approach would be for two or three churches to form a team of leaders to build a deeper partnership. This helps provide increased resources for both the agency and missionary. And, it allows each church to be a vital part of the connection.
Greg Carter’s book Skills, Knowledge, and Character – A church-based approach to missionary candidate preparation has been the major influence in the recent Equipper articles. The book takes you from building the foundation and understanding to “The Documents” (forms) for the church and mission agency to implement this process. Actually, this book is a manual for implementation. David Mayes (Director of Learning Initiatives, The Mission Exchange) gives clear statement of the value of this book as a manual,
“The local church has a critical role in preparing people to become effective missionaries, but few know how to do it. Greg’s manual pulls from the best church missionary manuals and provides a clear and compact process with lots of supplemental resources. Your church can do this. You need to do it.”
The book provides extremely helpful and comprehensive tools. However, each local church will most likely need to adapt the tools to their ministry.
Serving as a church missions coach, I am available to serve with local churches in the implementation of developing a fully mobilized missions ministry. BBM offers several ministry options for developing a church based mission strategy:
1. A simple start can be leading a Design Your Impact workshop.
2. “A Church Based Vision Workshop” – This workshop teaches the church the biblical principles we have been sharing in the recent series of Equipper articles. The workshop applies and challenges the church in becoming an active/involved partner with the mission agency and missionary. It can, also, be used as a missions conference format.
3. Extended Missions Coaching can include any or all of the following:
Helping the church to develop a clear mission, vision and strategy
Providing monthly or quarterly personal coaching working with the church missions team
Serving as an active part in the leadership of the missions ministry
Serve as a catalyst between the church, agency, and missionary
Serve as the coach for implementing Gregg Carter’s process by adapting it to the local church
4. Custom designed coaching relationships.
We offer these types of ministries in working with our WorldVenture churches, but also to other churches with other mission agencies.
For more information contact
Gary R. Becker at 717-856-4523
ADDRESS: 1600 COLONIAL MANOR DR. - LANCASTER PA, 17603 firstname.lastname@example.org. / balancedministries.org