Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. This is episode 121 of Missions On Point, and I'm really excited to begin a new series. Before I do that, I just want to thank you for those who have been listening to Missions on Point. Thank you for your faithfulness and ask that if you have any questions or comments, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the email address, email@example.com. If you're a new listener to Missions on Point, you're in for a treat because I'm going to give you some background that will help you understand where we're coming from on the church and missions along with a bit of an overview of what we've been talking about over the past 120 episodes.
So what is the essence of the Propempo concept in practical terms? Propempo is the Greek word used in the New Testament, meaning to send forward. It is used in several places in the New Testament, but notably in the context of Romans 15:24 and the context of Third John verse six. It expresses the concept that it is the local church who sends forward missionaries for the sake of the gospel to fulfill the . After you hear this episode, go back and listen to the first four episodes of Missions on Point, and then maybe pick up episodes 10 and 11 to get a better biblical background supporting this key principle.
With this major concept in mind, we read the Great Commission again carefully and discover that it cannot be fulfilled apart from the establishment of local churches. That is indigenous bodies of believers who live out the Great Commission through evangelism, discipleship, observing the ordinances of the church, meeting regularly under qualified church leaders who teach the whole council of God from the Word of God. When you read the Great Commission very carefully, that's what you see. We strongly believe this local church vision in missions is biblically correct.
Because this is what the original hearers of Christ giving the Great Commission did in obedience to that mandate. It is also validated by observing that the Book of Acts and every epistle in the New Testament shows the primacy of the local church in the ministry of those early Christians. Every letter is written to local churches or local church leaders. So what is the Propempo perspective on church and missions? In a nutshell, it is the biblical understanding of the centrality of the local church in God's plan.
It is God's plan revealed in his word for his people, for his church, for the gospel, for missions ultimately leading to the final scenes in heaven, where we all gather around the throne and the lamb slain for us to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of all praise. We teach and promote a local church centric philosophy of missions because we believe that God teaches it in the scriptures. Missions on Point through previous episodes has addressed our role and informed our involvement in missions through the church, both as individuals, as interested parties, as local church leaders and a church body, and even as a mission agency.
If you were to go back through previous episodes, here's the kinds of things you would discover. Biblical evidence for this Propempo perspective, pastoral leadership and missions, short-term missions, keys to effectiveness as a missionary for all involved. Three central truths for missions, missions committee essentials, biblical missiology, great missions books, help for church missions challenges, your own church missions profile assessment, building church missions through vision, missions funding issues, help for missionary family members back home, missiology you need to know.
Church-based missionary training series and contemporary issues and missions, and there's more. Today, we'll start to crystallize the biblical local church centered mindset for each of six different stakeholders. The first today is the local church. In the next episode, we'll deal with the church missions leader, and further episodes are the missionary, the partnering missions agency, you as a donor and the missionary training institution. So the question of this series is this, how might I or my organization become Propempo certified?
In a fuller way, it's saying, what do I have to do or commit to in order to be recognized as embracing this Propempo local church centered philosophy of missions? Today we're going to start with this idea of Propempo certification for the local church. There are seven marks that can be used to tell if a local church really agrees with this local church centric view of their role in missions, and it's in these ways. First, the local church prays and seeks to identify, select, and prepare missionaries from their own congregation to go into career missionary service.
The essence of Propemponess is to be a sending church, to be seeking to be a sending church. Really small churches might struggle with this. Like, we don't have very many people who among us is going to go? But as you pray and seek and build a pathway for those who might be interested to grow in their awareness and skill and possibility of being a missionary, maybe the Lord would actually send out someone from your own midst. You might be surprised what God could do and answer to that prayer. The Moravians who are missionary heroes in their own right at the time of the dawn of the Reformation in Europe basically felt like they needed to give one out of every 10 to missions.
That's a tithe of their own people. Fast-forward to modern times, and it's not unrealistic to think of sending one adult for every 100 adult members. That's 1% of your total membership going into full-time career missionary work. The second requirement for Propempo certification for a church is that they agree to take responsibility for providing and managing the pre-field training and preparation of any missionary arising from their midst. Unfortunately, in modern times, churches tend to just hand their missionary over to the mission agency and say they'll take care of their training.
Not so. Even good formal academic training through a Bible school or seminary is not enough for the mission field today. The missionary needs to be trained in all sorts of ways. First of all, in their character, second in their core beliefs, and third in their ministry skills, particularly cross-cultural ministry skills. So the church needs to manage that and find resources from within and from outside to help them develop this missionary for thriving long-term ministry on the field.
The third mark is that they commit to establishing a written partnership agreement or memorandum of understanding, MOU, with whatever mission sending agency best fits their vision and individualized situation prior to their candidate officially joining that organization. So there's a lot of nuts and bolts in that, but basically what it means is the church doesn't just give their people away. They form a partnership agreement with the sending organization, the facilitating mission agency, that parachurch organization in order to continue to have a significant role in the life and ministry of their missionary as they go.
No one can shepherd or encourage the missionary like their sending church. Fourth mark, they strive to teach and encourage and provide paths for their whole congregation to participate in the cause of world missions. Now, this doesn't mean that everybody in the church becomes a missionary. What it means that everybody in the church understands well that they have a particular role to play through prayer, through funding, through encouragement, communication, possibly visiting the missionary on the field, certainly housing and taking care of them when they come home from the field.
Everyone in the congregation knows that they have a particular role to play and that the missionary can't achieve all that they would as effectively as they could if the church doesn't stand behind them in this way. That's a good Propempo church, someone where the whole congregation is involved in not just sending but supporting and encouraging, sustaining that missionary out on the field. The fifth mark, number five, they have channels for stewardship which enable them to set aside not less than 10% of all church giving for world missions.
Now, for some churches that may sound like a high threshold, but I'm telling you that is a low threshold. You would think just on principle that the church should set aside at least a tithe of all of their general income for ministry outside of themselves. So it's not unusual for churches to always start with at least 10% for world missions, whether that's given through faith promise or designated giving or through a percentage of the general fund giving. In our church missions profile, we suggest that the real mark is at least 25%.
Back a generation or two ago, churches strove to have 50% of all income given to missions. Personally, I don't encourage that mark today. I think there are a lot of other things involved. But if you start at least with 10%, that would be a mark of being a Propempo church. Number six, they prioritize missions ministries directly supportive of indigenous church planting and indigenous church leadership development. What does that mean? They're focused on the end target. The end result is church planting. It starts with the church and it ends with the church.
Church planting is the sine qua non, the basic element of what happens when you really fulfill the Great Commission. It's not humanitarian work. It's not famine relief. It's not social justice. Although all of those things might be used as an means to the end, if the end is not specifically in consciously indigenous church planting, then I suggest you need to reevaluate your convictions and your values. There are so many reasons why indigenous church planting and church leader development should be the priority, and we don't have time to go into it in this episode, but some past episodes have done so.
Number seven, they prioritize missions ministries aimed at evangelism, discipleship, and church planting among unreached people groups. So the emphasis on this one is not just what they're doing, but where they're doing it. To be most strategic, to fulfill the Great Commission, to reach all nations, we must go to the nations that don't have the gospel yet. That means unreached language groups, unreached people groups, places where for generations the people there have never even heard of Christ, never met a Christian, don't know what they're missing from the gospel.
So a Propempo certified church is going to prioritize the most strategic target that they can, and that is people groups that don't have a church and couldn't have a church unless someone goes to plant one there because of their evangelism, discipleship, and leadership training in the long-term ministry of a missionary on the field there speaking their language. So when the church does these things, I would say they're Propempo certified. Let's go back and review quickly. First, they pray and seek to prepare missionaries from their own congregation.
Secondly, they agree to take responsibility for preparing and training them for the field. Third, they commit to a partnership agreement with whatever sending agency they choose. Fourth, they strive to encourage and teach the whole congregation to be involved in missions. Fifth, they have channels of stewardship for significant financial support of world missions. Six, they prioritize missions ministries toward indigenous church planting, and seventh, they prioritize missions for unreached people groups. That's the strategy toward completing the Great Commission.
Next up on this series, we're going to talk about the church missions leader. That may be the pastor in your church. It may be a missions pastor. It may be a layman who is the church committee or church team leader. So if you're not that person, encourage that person to listen to missions on Point in the series, and if you're not that person, you should listen so that you know what's required and that you can help nudge and move your church in that direction. If you're thinking, wow, this is a lot to take in just 15 minutes, maybe pray with us that the Lord would enable us to have a text transcription available online for all our Missions on Point episodes.
We are so thankful when you subscribe or follow the podcast in your app. Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I trust that you'll find more help and resources on the website, propempo.com. Please preferably consider supporting this ministry. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
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