Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions.

Hello! We are glad you’ve joined us for episode 199 of Missions on Point.  This episode is all about being a missions pastor.  If you are a missions pastor, or if you know one, or if you wish your church had one, then this episode is for you.  I was just talking this past week with a missionary about the importance of a church having a missions pastor.  Once you begin to recognize all that the church can and should be doing for the work of global missions, it is easy to see how important it is for a church to have a missions pastor. 

No matter what your church governance structure looks like, there are ways in which we can delegate the responsibilities of overseeing the work of missions to a pastor whom we might call a missions pastor.  I’ve even heard it advocated that if global missions really is such a huge part of what the church is doing, then the second full-time hire for a church after the senior pastor would be the missions pastor.  Now, that might not be necessary, especially if your church already has a gifted lay leader in missions who works closely with the church leadership and staff.  Yet, you should never outright dismiss the idea altogether, because hiring a missions pastor might still be more beneficial for your church.  Or your church might be a small church, with only one staff position.  It’s most likely the case that the missions pastor role will be combined with several other responsibilities too, like being the youth pastor or worship pastor, or counseling or discipleship, or a number of other combinations.  If you happen to be in a larger church, it’s important to know when the part-time or shared-responsibility staff position might become a full-time missions pastor.  If your church is say giving over $100,000 per year to international cross-cultural missions, then a full-time position should already be on the radar.  The cause of missions has all the elements of an international Christian business, with communication and management issues both locally and globally. 

The basic qualifications of a missions pastor includes everything you would require for a pastor of the church, and then specifically some qualifications that are helpful for his specific job.  He must love missions and love the church.  He needs to be a better than average administrator, managing relationships, finances, and logistics.  He must be able to travel to shepherd the church’s missionaries.  And also, he needs to lead the Missions Team. 

I like to categorize the missions pastors responsibilities into 7 oversights.  Those oversights are: prayer, priorities, “product,” promotion, personnel, program, and “pesos.”

  1. First, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s prayer for missions.

Prayer is often underestimated.  The pastor not only feeds the sheep, but leads them spiritually in prayer.  He stimulates and provides opportunities and tools for missions prayer.  There will be no effectiveness in missions without the efforts being thoroughly grounded in prayer.  God desires to receive all the glory for the success of missions, so prayer must come first, demonstrating our complete dependence on him.  Without prayer we are working in our own strength and God does not receive the glory.  The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s prayer for missions. 

  1. Second, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s priorities for missions.

Without leadership, the sheep go wherever the wind around them is blowing.  While the elders of the church and the entire Missions Team should be involved in establishing the church’s missions priorities, the Missions Pastor will play a key role in leading the endeavor to establish those priorities.  He supplies resources and makes sure the process continues quickly.  He then is the main champion of those convictions.  He is regularly involved in teaching or creating classes on the biblical, theological, and strategic foundations for missions.  He is involved in ongoing study about current missions trends.  He facilitates decision-making, and leads the church in continuing to develop their missions strategy.  When it comes to priorities, the first and most important one is that everything must be done for God’s glory, fulfilling God’s purpose, built upon God’s word proclaimed in the church.  The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s priorities for missions. 

  1. Third, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions “product”.

Now, I put the word “product” here in quotes, because missions is not a business that produces something to be consumed, but there is some objective work that is being accomplished which can be measured.  The Missions Pastor thus is the chief quality control engineer.  He wants to make sure that the missionaries the church supports are working hard toward the right goals.  He ought to be careful not to pressure missionaries to inflate numbers or produce results simply for the sake of having something to report.  Yet, if there is no observable fruit from the missionaries efforts over a long period of time, then there is some serious evaluation needed. 

One good way that a Missions Pastor can evaluate the missions ministry of a church is to refer to the self-assessment tool on called the Church Missions Profile.  The 12 categories of missions ministry that are delineated there are a helpful reference that the Missions Pastor can continually refer back to for ongoing development of his church’s missions ministry.  The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions “product”.

  1. Fourth, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s promotion of missions.

He makes sure that the congregation is generally educated about missions, missionaries, the missions process and the church’s priorities.  He seeks to promote missions in every possible context and provide opportunities for individual participation.  If missions falls out of the view of the congregations sight, then do not expect much progress to be made toward the church’s missions goals.  One helpful way that the Missions Pastor promotes missions is through providing resources for the church, such as books or newsletters about missions.  The Missions Pastor should be in regular communication with every other ministry leader in the church seeking ways to incorporate missions into everything that the church does.  Another way that missions can be promoted is through missions conferences, like the Cross Conference in Louisville.  My last piece of advice for the Missions Pastor who wants to promote missions is that he consider his own life as a way of promoting missions.  How does he personally give, pray, teach and speak about missions in his everyday life?  The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s promotion of missions.

  1. Fifth, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions personnel.

This includes both the missionaries on the field and those in the congregation who are involved in or getting prepared for missions.  Both ends of the spectrum need continual shepherding to keep pressing on toward obeying God’s call on them in missions.  He is responsible for the Missions Team and any missionary candidates.  The Missions Pastor should supervise, coordinate, and assist in missionary care, including on-field visits.  Even if the Missions Team has recruited church members to function as key points of contact and communication, the Missions Pastor is often the face and voice of the church to your supported missionaries.  While the Senior Pastor should be known to the missionaries, the Missions Pastor is the main conduit of communication, with regular check-ins.  The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions personnel.

  1. Sixth, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions program.

I know some people have a knee jerk reaction against programmatic language, but the reality is that when people start organizing themselves together to perform the same functions year after year, then a program is established.  What a program simply means is that the Missions Pastor develops and implements the processes that the church takes in raising up, sending and caring for missionaries.  A key function of that process will be a church-based missionary training.  The Missions Pastor then ensures that interested people are sufficiently guided through that training or has delegated that training to a specialist or a missionary training school. 

A helpful component in missions development in the church is the place of Short-Term Missions.  The Missions Pastor will develop and deploy training and opportunities for Short-Term Missions.

To avoid the pitfalls of becoming programmatic, the Missions Pastor must make sure everything that is done is regularly evaluated for its biblical faithfulness and carried out with genuine sincerity.  Included in this program are the local outreach opportunities and the various connections that ministries have with evangelism and cross-cultural outreach.  Key to the success of any program is the need for good communication.  The Missions Pastor must interface with church leadership and be the primary liaison or leader with the church Missions Team. The missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s missions program.

  1. Seventh and last, the missions pastor is responsible for overseeing the church’s “pesos” for missions.

Of course, most churches that are listening to this podcast don’t use pesos, but I had to keep up the alliteration of p’s.  The reality of any missions program, especially those that will be employing a missions pastor, is that the stewardship of finances are a critical component.  The missions budget should be carefully protected because it is too easy to give to many good opportunities and yet not have enough left over to give to the best opportunities.  The church finances should tell the story of the church’s priorities.  The Missions Pastor is the first gatekeeper of the church’s finances when it comes to missions.  The Missions Pastor should establish a long-term vision for missions finances that falls in line with the church’s strategic vision for missions.  Furthermore, he is the primary promoter and communicator of needs and opportunities as they arise. 

So there you have the seven categories that the Missions Pastor oversees: prayer, priorities, “product,” promotion, personnel, program, and “pesos.”

I hope that you have been listening to the podcast for a while now and find yourself continually encouraged by it.  You may have noticed that our recent series that we have been talking about are the missions paths.  And we simultaneously have been pointing you to our websites where you can get further help.  That’s because there’s so much more that can be said on these topics and we don’t want these things to be a secret.  You can find all of our missions paths online, each one answering several frequently asked questions about missions and the various roles that you might take.  You can also compile them into one pdf with our handy tool, choosing from a pre-selected set or any that you like. 

Missions Pastors are especially the kind of people who like to have good resources available for themselves and others.  If you find something that is helpful, let us know about it.  We would be happy to partner with you in the advancement of God’s glory among all nations, through his church, as we worship our one Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.   

Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites at and 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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