Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and Missions. This is episode 128 of Missions on Point, and it's a special one. I normally don't try to lock in chronologically where we are in the calendar or what's going on specifically in history or current events because I don't want to date the episodes of Missions on Point. And in so doing somehow make them irrelevant at a future date. However, this episode is being released as the first episode of 2023. It's a special one in that recently, Propempo International has merged with MissioSERVE and I have to tell you some of the story in the background of that because it really is significant, not just to me personally, not just for Propempo International, but because it is a very special answer to prayer. And has some impact and influence as we move forward into the future in missions.
If you've been tuned in to the last seven episodes of Missions on Point, we've been talking about Propempo certification. And you might have noticed that there's a certain amount of frustration in my voice, but also in the world of missions with regard to church leaders, mission agencies, even missionaries, donors and missionary training institutions that just don't get the basic biblical understanding of the local church's role in missions. So, it's kind of special to be able to recognize that God is doing something in answer to that need. I've been talking with several people about this, and I'm going to start with really a personal illustration and move on to some more of the details.
I was fishing on a local neighborhood pond and a big largemouth bass hit my popping bug just as the floating line cast from my fly rod landed. I set the hook and felt the weight running away in deeper. I knew that this was going to be my biggest bass ever, adrenaline, focus, heart pounding excitement. The fight was on! Cautiously I angled him right up beside the boat. After my line broke, I learned from boys who lived on this neighborhood lake, that my bass had a name Gargantuan. It weighed at least 13 pounds. It gets caught every year by a diligent fisherman who lives right there, weighs it and releases it. Big smiles all around, I had almost landed Gargantuan.
Throughout my missionary career, I've been teaching and enabling local church leaders to fulfill their biblical role in sending missionaries. I've also been fishing for four decades for a mission agency that understands and actually aligns with that biblical ideal. In fact, in past years, I got in trouble as a mission agency leader for including local churches too much in my recruitment planning and relationships and counseling of missionaries. But now I've hooked one, or maybe it's hooked me, MissioSERVE is that gargantuan catch that practices those things I've been teaching, promoting, and casting for.
MissioSERVE believes, teaches and does what we see in the New Testament. Finally, Propempo has a partner, a preferred mission, to which we can encourage churches to unreservedly trust, to honor their role in missions. A mission that is doctrinally solid in conservative evangelical theology and understanding of the gospel and the centrality of the local church.
Now, it's true that many other missions claim to respect the local church. However, practically mission agencies tend to want platform, pesos, prayer and people more than partnership. It's really challenging to get a mission agency to accept a church partnership agreement that gives open doors for the local sending church of a missionary to stay in tune with every aspect of that missionary's life and ministry on the field.
I'm asked all the time, "What is the best mission to which our church should send our missionary?" In the past, trying to be kind, I would say well find the best match you can. Realizing that you'll have to negotiate uphill with them in order for you as sending church to fulfill your role. But now I can say MissioSERVE is ready for you. Send your people to MissioSERVE. Breathe a sigh of relief. MissioSERVE and Propempo's merger with MissioSERVE is an answer to long-term prayers on many levels.
Clear commitment to the local church's proper role is honored in word deed from the beginning to the completion of the missionary's ministry. Solid biblical principles coupled with practical, spiritual convictions frame everything about our joint ministry together. Everyone on the team believes and works for this. I am expectantly hopeful that God is going to accelerate and expand the joint reach of Propempo and MissioSERVE to draw great churches and their missionaries to faithful and effective ministry toward the completion of the Great Commission.
This is not a hollow optimism. I truly believe that because of this new partnership with a new paradigm of how to operate a mission sending partnership organization, we're going to see God get great glory in ways beyond all that we could ask or imagine. In fact, it's my great hope that this particular partnership, because of our longstanding history in helping churches and doing work on the field. And wetting those things with the biblical concept of Propempo as the leading principle for the church's involvement, in sending missionaries to the field, we hope to have an influence and impact on many, many other missions to turn in this direction and become very much more local church centric in their ministry philosophy. So as of January one, we're excited to announce that MissioSERVE Alliance and Propempo have merged to create a distinctly different church centric mission sending agency.
Our focus will be on training missionaries and equipping churches to fulfill their biblical role in sending and shepherding their people to fulfill the great commission. God, in his kind providence, has given MissioSERVE Alliance and Propempo International an opportunity to do something unique in the mission's world. We are merging our strengths to revolutionize a mission sending agency to be biblically local church centric in ministry philosophy.
The new MissioSERVE Alliance equips local churches in selecting, sending and shepherding their missionaries for long-term service to the unreached. Our role is focused on partnering with mission sending churches. Our mutual goal is establishing healthy indigenous churches. MissioSERVE Alliance will model a sharper biblical focus on local churches as the heart and harvest of missions.
MissioSERVE brings 50 years of vision and field experience to provide the needed channel for the missionaries of sending churches to be sent, serve and thrive on their field of ministry. Propempo brings 19 years of resources and experience in working with local churches to sharpen and succeed in mission sending to the unreached. Churches and candidates now have ascending agency partner with strong biblical theological and practical foundations for long-term mission service. Together we strive to meet the greatest need of the world through proclaiming the gospel and planting of indigenous churches everywhere. Together we have the experience to help missionaries be faithful and effective on the field, as well as the nuts and bolts and the convictions and biblical philosophy of ministry to help churches be effective in their role in identifying and sending their own people as missionaries.
You may ask, "Are there other mission agencies that are doing this kind of thing?" And honestly, there are. But they are very few, just a handful, and they're predominantly small and don't have a long-term experience in field ministry and in working with churches. There is a much larger number of mission agencies that would say, "Oh yes, the local church is a big priority for us." But in actual fact, their organization is not even oriented in the direction of being able to help local churches be all that they should be as sending churches. Just ask those missions how they get their recruits. Do they go to local churches and help local churches identify and send their own people? Or, they going to conferences and Christian college campuses? Are they focused on individual mobilization and motivating individuals to apply to the mission?
In fact, there's great resistance to allowing the local church to enter into the level of partnership and ownership of their missionaries and field ministry that they ought to have. So, if you're listening and you have someone that you know or maybe some personal favorite mission agency or you're involved in mission's leadership and several mission agencies, I would encourage you ask them the hard questions about what really is their understanding of the role of the local church. And how they facilitate that through their mission agency with their missionaries, all the way out onto field ministry. Please have a holy compulsion to bug them about it so that they will renew their ideas about how to function and relate to local sending churches.
We are more interested in God's priorities and biblical principles than we are in marketing and methodologies of man. Pray for us, support us, help us fulfill this vision of changing the mission's paradigm in the west to be more focused on God's glory through the church and in Christ Jesus, than building an organizational kingdom on man-centered principles.
I'm so thankful for God bringing us together in answer to so many prayers over the years. Now let's see what God will do. You can ask questions or send me your feedback by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites at propempo.com and MissioSERVE.org.
We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
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