Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo Perspective on Church and Missions. Welcome to episode 43 of Missions on Point. Thanks for being with us. This episode will start a three part series on missions committee essentials. I want to just talk about some of the most practical essentials of a missions committee or missions team, so you may want to take notes or listen through it again. Be sure to follow or subscribe in your podcast app.

The first one is just a basket of starter concepts. First of all, have a missions committee. I think every church should have a designated group of people. It's kind of like running an international organization and it takes a lot of thought and administrative skill and communication in order to do it well.

Second part of the basket of starter concepts is don't call it a missions committee. Call it a missions team. This is my personal preference, but team seems to imply teamwork and a goal and doing things together. A committee often has the connotation of being an administrative, cumbersome thing that people don't want to go to or attend or be a part of. The missions committee or missions team, as I would call it, is much more than a mechanical bureaucracy. It is a dynamic team that is trying to involve the whole church in missions.

The third part of the basket of starter concepts is start with understanding that prayer is the most basic work and priority of the missions team. If missions team members don't have time for praying for missionaries and missions during the meeting and outside the meeting, then they don't have time to be on the missions team. Prayer is God's instrumental means of achieving his work on Earth, and we need to be about that because we can accomplish a lot through God answering our prayers much more so than just simply passing paper around and making decisions.

The fourth part of this basket of starter concepts is I believe the senior pastor should be on the missions team, at least as a regular attending ad hoc member. Why is this? It's because this ministry of the church is core. You remember the previous series we did is Missions is the primary work of the church, which is the central agent of God's purposes on Earth. So the senior pastors should be very interested in the work of the mission's team and be in tune with that so that there's no surprises, so that he gets it, that the information that he receives as part of the missions team kind of oozes out of his communication with other people and other venues, including on the platform. The senior pastor needs to understand the people involved in missions. The missionaries and projects that you support have a good handle on the special vocabulary of missions, insights into the scripture in missions, all of those kinds of things. And that comes about by being a part of the missions team, at least as a regular attending ad hoc member.

So apart from these starter concepts, let's talk about the next essential, the purpose of the missions team. The purpose of the missions team is not to handle the administrative bureaucracy of decision making on behalf of the local body or even on behalf of the elders or ruling body of the church. The purpose of the missions team is to mobilize the whole church in missions by providing personal involvement and corporate ownership and missions, by giving people information, inspiration, relationship, opportunity, and vision.

Now, there are a lot of particulars about these kinds of things that are on the website, so you should visit the website. Look at the literally hundreds of articles dealing with these kinds of things on the missions team, including references and resources that will be available or are already available on the website and those articles. In general, it should be the purpose of the mission team to be outwardly focused, to get everyone in the church as believing Christians involved in the work and ministry of world missions, and that is done through a wide variety of ways.

Like I said at the very beginning, it's not that the missions team executes or implements the operation of missions on behalf of the body at large. Rather, the missions team vision is to be outwardly focused, to get everybody so involved, excited, knowledgeable, interested in missions, that missions is a normal part of their Christian life. This simple essential is a huge paradigm shift for most missions committees. Missions committees tend to kind of go through the motions and year by year, even decade by decade do very little differently than what they did when they originally started. And the expectations of the organizational structure of the church is such that the missions committee can just be this mind-numbing regular meeting of missions interested people that never really get very much done except facilitating the visits of missionaries per se, or maybe doing a short term missions project from time to time.

That's not what we're after. It is a paradigm shift for them to be outwardly focused, looking to mobilize the whole church in missions and providing lots of information and opportunities and connections for every church family to have some sense that they are a part of the world missions ministry of their church, and fulfilling an effective essential part of doing the Great Commission.

It is absolutely exciting and joyful to see a congregation so own missions and wrap their hands around it that they feel like they are being neglected if they don't have the latest inside information about the church families that the church supports in international ministry. They become eager themselves to pray, to give, to be involved, to have a relationship with the missionaries that you're supporting, and in so doing, then they and their children own a sense that the Great Commission is a natural priority for them and their family to be involved with.

That's what we want to see because ultimately we want the local church to be the seed-bed of developing new missionaries. We want the local church to be the environment in which naturally missionaries are called, equipped, sent, shepherded on the field so that we are fulfilling the Great Commission as a local church. That's the goal and purpose of the missions team to see every church member involved in understanding their role in the Great Commission in such a way that all together, everyone is pulling in the same direction and seeing the local church fulfill the great commission together.

The third essential is what is the operational charter or scope of authority of the mission's team? Of course, the missions team should operate under the authority of the church leaders or the highest leadership body of the local church. It should be understood that they're working within the constraints of the elders' oversight, whatever that may be. They're not just doing missions on behalf of the church and having their own way or doing their own thing. They work within the scope of the identity of the local church and its authority.

That also means that they're working within the established doctrine and values of the church. Whatever ministries and missionaries the church supports should be in line with the doctrine and values of the church. So many times we've had to counsel churches that had missionaries that kind of made a left turn on doctrine while they're on the field. That's really difficult. If the missionary is not teaching and preaching and using the same kinds of methodologies, though contextualized, on the field that the local church would approve of and be in agreement with, then they probably should not be supported by the church, and the church needs to know that, which basically means the church needs to ask those kinds of questions on a regular basis.

Is it possible for a missionary to go a different direction, to start believing different things, to be influenced by other things out there in the world or in trends in Christianity and missiology in such a way that they're not really reflecting the heart and values of the local church that's sending them? Yes, unfortunately, that happens all the time, and if the church isn't being careful to know their missionary well enough, to know that they are in a line with the doctrine and values of the church, then they need to up their game so that they do have that kind of communication and relational understanding with the missionary that the missionary represents them. They're an extension of our local church, and we want them to represent the beliefs and values of our local church. If we hold to the centrality of missions as the primary ministry of the local church, then the scope of the missions team is to influence all the established and created ministries of the church.

It's getting to the grassroots of where everyone is in all the different ministries, including Sunday school and youth group and men's ministry, women's ministry, small group ministries, even how it influences music and worship in the children's department, training and equipping ministries, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of the ministries of the church should be influenced by the mission's team and the driving core and heart of ministry to those outside the church, through the ministries inside the church.

So let me review these three essentials really quickly. First is just the basket of starter concepts. Have a missions committee. I have been in contact with some churches that did not have a missions committee. Either they just let it die, or the pastor did everything and just didn't really communicate very well with anybody else, so nobody else really knew what was going on in missions.

I say you need to have a missions committee. I would prefer you call it a missions team. The purpose of the missions team is not to do the work of missions on behalf of the church, but to mobilize the whole church in missions. That change in focus is a huge paradigm shift that every church missions committee needs to consider.

The third thing is the scope of authority of the missions team and its charter is under the authority of the highest body of church leaders. It needs to hold to the established doctrine and values of the church and make sure the ministries they support do also, and work at the grassroots level so that all the ministries of the church are affected by this mission's heart, that there is some element of missions woven into every ministry of the church.

Now, probably somebody out there is thinking, why do I need to listen to this? It's because this has to do with the life and health of your church. There are more essentials to come. We're going to expand on those key values of missions in the church next time. We're going to look at what does the operation of the missions team really look like? And something about building ownership with your missionaries and having shared expectations. We'll also introduce you to some tools that Propempo has that you can use in assessment of your missions ministry and talk a little bit about the difficulties that you may face and some curriculum ideas for you to put missions into the center of the picture of your local church.

So please stay tuned. Please follow or subscribe in your podcast app. And let others know, you can share it, to share with others who may really need to know these missions committee essentials. 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 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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