(The following is the first draft of the table of contents and the introduction to the new book Missions on Point: the Local Church's Role in Missions.  Reproduction is not permitted.)  


Table of Contents


Part 1 - Seeing the Local Church’s Role in Missions from the Word

   Intro to Part 1 - Recognize Local Church Missions Philosophy 

   1. The Local Church in Christ’s View

   2. The Local Church in Christ’s Great Commission

   3. The Local Church in Christ’s Followers’ Obedience

   4. The Local Church in Christ’s “All” of the New Testament

   5. The Local Church in Apostle Paul’s View

   6. The Local Church in God the Father’s View

   7. The Local Church in the Sending of Missionaries

Part 2 - Securing the Local Church’s Role in Missions

   Intro to Part 2 – Restore Local Church Missions Practice

   8. Satisfy Objections to Local Church Engagement in Missions

   9. Sharpen the Biblical Goal of Missions

   10. Select Missionaries From Your Midst

   11. Search for a Strategic Missions Focus

   12. Specify Your Church’s Missions Resources

   13. Stimulate Your Congregation for Missions Involvement

   14. Sustain a Missions Culture in Your Church

   15. Send and Shepherd Your Missionary Well

Part 3 - Sustaining the Local Church’s Role in Missions

   Intro to Part 3 - Return to Local Church Missions Partnerships

   16. The Role of the Lead Pastor

   17. The Role of the Missions Leader

   18. The Role of the Missionary Mentor

   19. The Role of the Missionary Candidate and/or Missionary

   20. The Role of the Missions Agency

   21. The Role of the Missions Donor

   22. The Role of the Missionary Training School

   23. The Role of the Missions Mobilizer



   A - Why is “missions” my term of choice?

   B - What are good resources for church missions development?

   C - How do we choose a missions agency partner? 

   D - Is my church too small? 



The thesis of this book is simple:

  1. The Bible teaches that God has always planned to declare His wisdom and glory through local churches.
  2. The New Testament shows local churches are the quintessential means in His design for Christ-centered gospel proclamation to every people group on earth.
  3. All stakeholders of the global missions enterprise would be more effective if aligned in partnership with a local church-oriented missions ministry philosophy. 

The three parts unfold in this way:

First, we’ll consider biblical evidence showing that God has planned the Great Commission to be fulfilled through establishing local churches. Those churches then join the ongoing cycle of sending, going, and planting local churches.

Second, we’ll propose how local churches can embrace and implement their role by applying seven practical principles.

Third, we’ll consider how thoughtful implementation by every stakeholder in the missions-sending enterprise will build positive steps towards faithful partnership in this biblical local-church-centric mindset.

Dear reader, please allow the Scripture in this book to convince you of a local church-centered philosophy of ministry. Don’t skip over the Bible references, observations, and applications, though you might assume you’ve heard and seen them previously. Like many readers and listeners, I want you to look with wide-eyed wonder at something you’ve never seen, even though it was right in front of you.

This book turns a spotlight on the biblical role of the local church in world missions. (See Appendix A - Why “missions” is my term of choice). It will awaken and challenge church leaders, missions leaders, missionaries, and everyone involved in the support and execution of missions to align with God’s plan for His glory in and through the local church. A lot of practical principles are offered for all the stakeholders, proven with a thoughtful examination of biblical values and decades of missionary field, cross-cultural missions leadership, and local church pastoral experience.

Many churches and missions agencies have already experienced revolutionary positive impacts from the principles presented here. These truths have encouraged church leaders to step up into their God-given role and leadership of missions. Their churches have ignited with a more focused involvement in world missions. They have intentionally and joyfully raised up, trained, and sent their own to missions fields. Missionaries have become better qualified in every way for the challenging work of cross-cultural ministry as their church sends them out. Much to their surprise and delight, missions agencies have realized that those missionaries are the upper echelon of faithful, fruitful, long-term workers among their ranks.

We sincerely appreciate missions agencies. For most of our decades of ministry, we have been a member of one or another. Agencies have an irreplaceable role in missions. We’ve long held that churches that wish to send out cross-cultural missionaries on their own both overestimate their capacity and underestimate the complexity of doing so. Most churches who attempt it fail or at least regret doing so. Don’t view this book as pro-local-church to the exclusion of missions agencies. That is not the case! Local churches do need strong partner missions agencies to facilitate their and their missionary’s missions vision on the field.

Yet, for too long, para-church organizations have taken world missions captive. A few have no concern for local churches on either end of the spectrum, sending-side or field-side. Our dear brother organizations too often redefine missions however they choose without being challenged by the valid owner of the Great Commission, the church. Pragmatism reigns. Statistics become their Key Result Area goals. 

Even though most missions organizations initially founded their organization and launched to serve local churches in their geographical, cultural, institutional, or technical specialty, they typically become independent enterprises. They have a life of their own, which they unashamedly protect, promote, and propagate. They hope, pray, and expect churches and donors to support the agency’s ministry. They rarely have a vision for enabling and facilitating the local church’s missions ministry. Vision, field strategy, personnel management, and accountability are almost always initiated by and for the agency's benefit. A truly biblical vision for missions ministry is not just some imaginative goal for the agency’s growth. Missions agencies can become self-perpetuating machines with little or no respect for the rightful role of the local church in missions. 

Local churches bear some culpability here. The local church has essentially given up its biblical role and responsibility to missions agencies (yes, even denominational entities). So, local churches should reclaim their ownership. It’s prime time for them to repatriate world missions into the sphere of the local church while seeking appropriate partnerships with sending agencies to lend their particular expertise without dominating. This book aspires to provide a pathway to corrective change in this state of affairs.

If, by God’s grace, we are successful in making the case, it might start a tidal wave of change for the better in the entire missions enterprise. Churches will demand, with good reason, a place at the table. Missionary candidates will be better prepared and supported to do the work of missions ministry, having a more clearly focused end goal. Preventable attrition from the missions field will plummet. Missionary-sending churches and their missionaries will compel missions agencies to sign partnership agreements with the sending church. Donors will have a guide to help them be more discriminating in favor of more local-church-centric ministries, more biblically focused goals, and better longer-term results. Professors will not teach missions as a cold, historical progress of the gospel. Instead, they will lead their students to hearty engagement and maturing relationships with healthy sending churches.

How can this be accomplished? By starting with incontrovertible biblical evidence for the centrality of the local church in God’s plan for His glory and fulfillment of the Great Commission. Then, in practical terms, learn how these principles work out in our local churches and missions today. These biblical, theological, and practical lenses will give a fresh vision of the role of each party in the work of missions. I’ll suggest commitments for the stakeholders, which, Lord willing, make it all fit together seamlessly for effective implementation. 

The book will include some anecdotes of churches we’ve helped to become aligned with this teaching. In particular, we’ve created one composite serial narrative, based on real stories, of a church progressively awakening to these principles and applying them, all based on real-life situations, though anonymized for privacy and security purposes. Lastly, several appendices provide practical references and solutions to help you with implementation in your respective role/s.