Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. Welcome to episode 39 of Missions on Point. This is the wrap up of our series on keys to effectiveness as a missionary. If you've followed along with us over the past weeks, we've covered 13 different topics related to keys to effectiveness as a missionary. Here they are, strong ecclesiology, clear biblical vision, simple priorities, knowing the target audience, theological discernment, Bible knowledge, value for indigeneity of future vision, reproducible methodology, authority of scripture over man, practice and priority of prayer, stamina or durability and lastly, the priority of teaching the Bible. Now, I realize I haven't given fancy titles or alliteration to these 13 qualities, but in general they cover three sort of major areas, training, ministry philosophy, and practical means. They can also be classified in different ways, having to do with biblical in nature, vision or priorities contextualization and personal character.

All of them are important and all of them are things that need to be observed. They're not simply academic exercises. It's not something you can just do a class in or read a certain number of books and get it. People who are evaluating missionaries and evaluating the keys to their effectiveness need to look at actually what they're doing, how they're obeying the principles involved in order to truly be effective. And I realize not every missionary is going to be perfect in all of these. I'm not. I wasn't on the field and I'm not, now, I have to fine tune this on a regular basis, but it's a great reminder to walk through these things and go, oh, I need improvement here, or I slipped a little bit there, or I'm doing pretty well in this thing. So churches can use these to help understand and evaluate the missionary's ministry.

The missionary themselves and their leadership on the field can help understand how they're doing or what needs to be tweaked, how they need to refocus. Supporters and those of us who are praying and supporting and helping missionaries accomplish their tasks, we can ask the questions that will help stimulate them to improve in every area. In this wrap up episode, I promised that I would give you two other ways of looking at and evaluating missionaries where they are and missionary candidates perhaps, to see if they really qualify as being effective missionaries. The first one is really very simple. It has to do with our philosophy of not relying on external secular normed tools to try to evaluate how a person is doing, but just asking direct questions under the biblical foundation of relationship. Ask questions about these areas, ask questions about their medical health. Are they healthy enough to be on the field? Have they been healthy enough? Do they have problems in their medical health? And that includes whatever connections they may have to substances that they're taking or have taken in the past.

Mental and emotional health. Just ask plain questions about their relationships and those close around them. Are they really stable and have established a track record of mental, emotional, health and proper responses to crises or things that happen in their life?

Financial health, do they have a burden of debt? Are they consumer debt oriented? Do they have a lot of credit card debt? Are they paying those things off in a systematic way? Also, another area is marriage and family health, and the best way to find out about that is not only asking the principal involved, but asking their spouse and their children, how are they responding in a biblical way to the roles and responsibilities of their particular status?

Also, you need to ask the question about sexual health. Has there been a track record of moral purity in their life? Do they have victory over the temptations of sexual sin? What's going on in their thoughts in their mind and their hearts, in their affections, in their media time with regard to sexual health?

So, this way is a shortcut, if you will. It doesn't take very much time, but it could take time depending on what their answers are. They're items for discussion, and you need to find out are they ready, prepared to go to the field? There's another tool that we use, we call the six C's. Each of these has its own sort of world of development, but I'm going to walk through them. I'll give them to you first and then I'll walk through them. The six C's are calling character, conviction, competence, chemistry, and cross-cultural capacity.

Let's go back to calling. Missionary calling is an important aspect. It has both internal compulsion side to it and an external verification side. Just because a person says, I think God wants me to be a missionary, doesn't necessarily mean it's so. Are they actually doing the things that prove it? Are they exercising their gifts and abilities in the local church and ministry in such a way that indicate that God has indeed gifted them and may be calling them to foreign mission? So internal external components of calling.

The second one is character. We really believe that someone who is in a Bible and evangelism ministry on the field needs to have the kind of qualifications of character that are listed for elders in first Timothy three in Titus One. Are they elder qualified? Do they have that kind of character? And the Bible produces the list, so it's easy to just walk through the list and find out are they really exhibiting that kind of character.

The third is conviction, and this has to do with biblical and theological convictions. In other words, what do they believe? Are the doctrines and the truths that they believe actually from scripture or they somehow developed extra biblical things that came out of their personal culture and experience. You want them to have strong, biblical theological convictions that match up with your local sending church, for sure.

The fourth area has to do with competence, and this is practical skills in ministry. Do they have some experience in ministry or are they just wishing that they will have experience on the field? Actual ministry experience is one of the best indicators of whether or not they're going to be competent on the field and they can build competency over time by being discipled, mentored by others in ministry and taught how to do the basics of ministry. Ministry with people is messy, and it doesn't always match up to what our ideal would be. That kind of experience in messy ministry with real people is exactly what's needed before they go to the field.

The fifth C is chemistry. This is a little bit different because what it means is are they a team player? Do they get along with people? Do they have good relational skills? We've seen missionaries fail on the field simply because they don't relate well to other people. They don't know anything about conflict resolution. They don't know how to have a disagreement with someone and come to unity over a period of time by working on it in relationship. Those kinds of things are absolutely essential for a long-term effectiveness on the field. So chemistry is something you need to look at. Do they get along with people? Not that they are a rubber stamp of exactly like everybody else on the team, but they know how to have free and open discussion, solicitation of information from others and work through whatever emotional concerns that might crop up in the natural course of relationships. Chemistry.

The last one is cross-cultural capacity, and this has to do with a person's willingness to not only accept the cross-cultural environment, but embrace the proper and good values of the culture to which they're going. And how do you test that? Well, it has to be more than enjoying Taco Bell or Chinese food. It has to be being willing to live with say, a different kind of menu for most of the year, for most days, and being able to adapt even the way you think and cook and do housekeeping, and your expectations with regard to business and bureaucracy within your environment in the particular place that you're going to. Cross-cultural capacity can best be tested by getting cross-cultural experience right here domestically in the United States or wherever your home country is and by taking a field visit to the nearest culture, to the target culture you want to go to for some period of time, just being a tourist for a week isn't gonna to do it.

So you need to dig a little deeper and find out do you have the capacity to live in that environment for the long term to deal with the stresses of life and just making do day by day by day with the transportation systems, the language, the food, the culture styles. Many cultures eat much later in the day than we're used to here. Getting used to that whole routine is part of cross-cultural capacity.

I don't know about you as a listener, but I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this series on keys to effectiveness as a missionary. It's helped me relive many lessons of real life on the field and in mentoring and training missionaries, as I've walked through these 13 steps that we've been through together. It's so important to realize that the kinds of passion and love that we have for missions, need to be properly informed by the right kind of keys to effectiveness in order to best fulfill the great commission, both as senders and as goers.

I'll tell you my favorites among these are number one, the first one, strong ecclesiology, number two, which is the seventh in the series value for indigeneity, but then the triad together having to do with priorities and vision. It's number two, a clear biblical vision for what the end result is. Number three, simple priorities. That's day-to-day things that guide what you do every day. And number eight, a future vision that has to do with beyond that church plant, what do you expect to happen? You want that church to have a vision for multiplying itself, and you need to inculcate that early in the process of planting the first church. So those things are sort of my favorites out of the 13. All of them are challenging and convicting in a way, to walk through one by one and apply it into my own life right now.

I trust that it has proven to be used of the Lord to do the same in your life. I hope you'll follow or subscribe in your podcast app. We've got a great three week series coming up, but just as we close this one, I want to close in prayer. Heavenly Father, please use this information and this challenge to encourage our lives and encourage the missionaries in our lives to greater effectiveness because of consideration of these 13 keys. May this be used for your glory in the church to all nations. In Jesus name, amen. 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, Please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.

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