Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo Perspective on Church and Missions.

Hi and welcome to episode 45 of Missions On Point. Thanks so much for joining us. This is the third in a short three-part series on missions committee essentials or missions team essentials. We're talking about some very basic things, including concepts that are paradigm changing for a lot of people involved in missions team kind of work in serving their local church. I'll just remind you that there are literally hundreds of articles on these kinds of things on the website. Go to the Services tab and look at the Missions Paths. We'll give you lots of choices of different roles and then articles under all of those roles that you might find interesting. Actually, one of the things I want to talk about today as we wrap up this short series is a church missions profile.

It's something that is unique to Propempo. It enables you to do a self-assessment diagnostic with your church missions ministries. One of the problems of church ministries in general, and missions is not exempt, is that we often measure ourselves or effectiveness in ministry based on what we did last year, and it's hard to find an objective measurement for missions ministries. When we talk about so many other ministries in the church, we usually measure ourselves by the latest information or news or fad or book or article regarding the particular kind of ministry that we're interested in, whether it is children or youth or adults or small groups. Then we try to emulate that. What Propempo has done is taken some historical data from really thousands of churches and put together a self diagnostic called the Church Missions Profile, which enables you to check off on descriptors which identify your church at six different levels of accomplishment or implementation in 12 different categories of church missions ministry.

So here are those categories and then I'll talk to you about getting onto the website and getting into the church missions profile, biblical foundations, local outreach, congregational education, church leaders, the missions team itself, individual participation that is of church members, prayer, giving, short-term missions, missionary care, mission strategy, and missionary training. Now, these 12 categories sort of move from the most basic having to do with biblical foundations and understanding missions in the Bible to missionary training, which is very rarely thought of in the local church, but really ought to be. So the church missions profile was created in order to establish an objective measurement based on benchmarks of the best performing churches in all of these areas. I've never seen a church that excelled in every single one of the 12 categories, but usually a church finds a personality or rhythm in which they can excel in some and continue to work toward excellence in all of the areas.

One of the great things about taking this assessment online is it automatically produces an individualized consultant recommendation list in each of the 12 categories of how you and your church can move from one level to the next. To get there, you go to the website, go to the Services tab and click on the Church Missions Profile. Then it takes you to a page where you can read a profile introduction about what it does and how it does it, including a little video, which I highly recommend you view. That'll give you an orientation very quickly of the different steps it takes. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of the computer coding in the background and the database involved in it, there are multiple steps to doing it. It does cost something. It's $20 subscription per year and you can take and retake it over the course of the year, and it gives you this snapshot of here's where we are as a church and here are the steps to improve in each of the 12 areas.

If you want to use multiple users, it does cost more, and then you can have as many as 10 users on that profile so that you have a broader cross-section of church leadership and participants involved in assessing it. Often there is a halo effect. If the person who is singularly responsible for that particular area, they tend to rate their work in that area a little higher, and it's good to get a cross-section of different people. We've had a number of churches tell us it's really well worth the cost to be able to discover where you are on this assessment. The church missions profile is a unique and powerful tool to help you and your church progress in your effectiveness in missions through the local church.

A whole other area to just mention is facing difficulties with missionaries or field situations. This is inevitable in life and missionaries are going to have unique problems because of their cross-cultural environment, but they're also usually strong-minded people and so they can run into conflict issues on the field and need some intercession, certainly, maybe intervention to help them overcome these problems and be able to stay on the field long-term effectively.

The sending church is probably the best agent to be able to enter into a loving relational resolution to whatever conflicts and difficulties the missionaries are facing on the field. Having pre-established relationships with your missionaries on the field and their sending agency is a great help to the church entering in to help resolve and come to an appropriate conclusion of whatever difficulties may be faced. Another whole area of development for most churches is thinking through teaching and training missions to your congregation. It may be as simple as regularly having on a biannual kind of basis, a Missions 101 course that talks about what is missions and how do we do missions at our church. There are resource materials available for your people to know how to pray and how to communicate with their missionaries, including in today's world, security guidelines for what are the right kinds of things to say and how to say it, and what are the wrong things to say and how to say those.

As an aspiring missions minded church, you want to help families envision their children as potential missionaries. Now, obviously we don't want all of our children to go to the mission field, but if it is never an option, parents and children may never even think about or consider missions as a possible calling for their life's work. You want them to be familiar with missionary heroes, missionary biographies. You want them to consider in their high school years is it possible that God may want me to prepare in such a way that I could use my skills, my training on the mission field to advance the gospel? It's not uncommon for us to get a phone call from a church leader or a mission leader in a local church that is freaking out because somebody stepped up from their congregation and said, I think I want to be a missionary.

And how do you go about that whole process of identifying, equipping, qualifying someone to become a missionary? How do you enter into the process of validating their call and then commissioning them to the field, supporting them, shepherding them, and nurturing them over the course of their whole life's ministry if God so allows? Over time, Propempo has developed a whole curriculum of teaching that has to do with vision as an acronym for values of the church, including leadership roles and guiding principles, identity of the church, including discovery of their own local church goals and ideals for missions, strategy, how to research and actually select a strategy for the church's missions focus, and then implementation and ownership of the whole congregation with regard to being that sending church and nurturing the missionary all the way through their equipping, deployment and shepherding on the field. As I think about all the things we've talked about in this short three-part series, I realize that what I'm describing is the ministry of Propempo.

This is a lot of what we do, coming alongside churches, particularly church leaders and helping them understand their role in leading their church and missions and what the centrality and importance of the local church's role is, all the way from growing missionaries from the very beginning to seeing them have effective ministries on the field in the long term in fulfillment of the local church's goals and strategies for the glory of God. That brings us all the way back around to really the basic thing that I want to leave you with, and that is putting God in the center of your mission's picture. The way you teach and preach the Bible, the way you pray in public meetings, the way you intentionally select and support your missionaries, the way you integrate missions and your missionaries into your church body life, and have a strong sense of ownership and loving fellowship, faithful fingerprints of the local church on their ministry, even on the field. The way you depend upon God for both the process and the solutions and the outcomes, the strategy, the focus, and the operations that make it all happen.

Keeping God in the center of your mission's picture as a local church is really important because it is not man's work. It is actually not man's capability in and of ourselves to be able to accomplish anything apart from God's desire, his goals and his empowering to do the job. It's his grace, his gospel, his transforming work in the lives of men and women, boys and girls, through the ministry of the Word, proclamation of the gospel, faithful teaching and equipping of the saints, to see this done both at home and abroad. So by way of review, I just want to call your attention to the essential work and ministry of the missions team within the body and ministry of the local church at large. Have a missions committee. We recommend you call it a missions team, but start with understanding that prayer is probably the most basic work and priority of the missions team. Have a clear purpose for the missions team.

We recommend that the purpose be to mobilize the whole church in missions rather than doing missions on behalf of the church. It is the missions' team joy and work to give the congregation ownership in missions by letting them know information, giving them inspiration, relationship, opportunity, and vision to be involved in missions themselves. Have a clear operational charter and scope of authority of the missions team under the leadership of the church. Make sure you understand the key values of missions in your church, including doctrine and ministry focus and methodologies. Is there a strategic focus geographically or in relationships to other ministry? Look at accountability and long-term goals of your missionaries and how they fit with the values of missions in your church. Have regular meetings of the missions team that accomplishes a wide range of work behind the scenes and in public for all the aspects of missions.

Build real ownership of your missionaries with expectations regarding developing missionaries from within the church, and then use that church missions profile to enable you to diagnose and assess how your church is doing based on more objective benchmarks so that you can grow in the 12 different categories of missions ministries within the church. Make sure that you get some help when you face difficulties with missionaries on field situations and have the kind of foundational relationship that lovingly allows you to enter into solutions for them. Spend some time thinking about congregational teaching and training in missions on a regular basis to continue to fuel that fire for missions in practical and biblical ways. Make sure that you put God in the center of your missions ministries within the local church. Keep exalting God. It's for His glory. It is His work. He empowers us. We are His designated agents to accomplish the work of the gospel and missions and church planting in all the nations of the earth.

It is ultimately His work. We are His representatives, ambassadors to see the great commission fulfilled. Let me pray for us all to this end. Father, please use these concepts and the practical information to encourage and strengthen and challenge our churches to be better used of you to accomplish the things that we need to do in fulfilling the great Commission for your glory. Amen. I would encourage you to follow or subscribe to Missions on Point so that you don't miss more to come in future episodes.

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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