Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. We're at episode 122 of Missions on Point. Thank you so much for joining us. Please let your friends and church leaders, especially missions leaders, know about our Missions on Point podcast. This series has been on our hearts and minds for a long time. It's the expansion of a concept, answering questions that we receive quite a lot from church leaders, from church missions leaders, and even from missionaries.

The basic question is, if we did things according to how we understand the biblical principle of local church-centered ministry of Propemponess, if you will, then what does that look like for our church, for our church missions leader, for a missionary, for a partnering mission agency, for you as a donor, for the missionary training institution? All of those entities or stakeholders have a part to play and need to understand in order to be consistent with the New Testament's role of the local church.

So just to take a step back, what is the essence of the Propempo concept in practical terms? Propempo is the Greek word used in the New Testament meaning to send forward. It expresses the concept that it is the local church that sends forward missionaries for the sake of the gospel to fulfill the Great Commission. It takes a look at the Great Commission and actually the whole of the New Testament to show and demonstrate that the New Testament teaches that the local church is the focus and center of God's plan for fulfilling reaching the nations with the gospel.

Please go back and look at the playlist and get some of the background information and teaching regarding this biblical principle about Propempo and the local church's role in previous episodes. You can always leave comments in your podcast app. You can also email us with email to with questions, suggestions, or follow up. Part one of this series is Propempo certification for the local church. This episode is going to focus on Propempo certification for the church missions leader.

Before we talk about the marks or affirmations required, let's think about what we mean by church missions leader. The church missions leader for most churches is a lay leader or a church staff person appointed, elected or assigned to serve as the chairperson, director or team leader for the missions committee. Sometimes the traditional term missions committee is now called the missions team, or in some cases, the missions board or global outreach team, shortened to GO team.

It is the body of people within the church structure responsible for functional oversight of the missions ministries of the church. Medium to larger size churches tend to have a pastoral staff member who has that responsibility. Sometimes, even with a full-time missions pastor, the church wants to have a lay leader elected or appointed as the chairman or team leader for missions. Smaller churches almost always have a missions passionate or missions experienced lay leader as the missions leader.

Maybe this person has experience on the field as a missionary or has cross-cultural experience in life. Usually, the missions leader has studied missions or missiology at some level, reading books, listening to podcasts like Missions on Point, or going out of their way to interact with missionaries and learn about practical missionary life from them. Often, they may have someone in their extended family or close friends who are or have been missionaries.

This episode addresses the church missions leader. Ah, you say, "I'm not the church missions leader." However, you probably know a church missions leader. You could help them discover and listen to this Missions on Point episode. Even though you are not the church missions leader, you might aspire to be that person someday, or you might use this information to enable your church missions leader to grow and develop in their role. So what does it take for a church missions leader to be, quote, Propempo certified, close quote?

Let's walk through nine elements of certification. First, affirm and teach your church the biblical concept of the centrality of the local church in missions. This means there's some Bible study involved, there's some Bible teaching involved. You may want to walk through the uses of Propempo in the New Testament. You may want to look again at the teaching of the New Testament regarding the significance and importance of the local church in ministry in general and in missions in particular.

Second, affirm and teach your church the role and responsibility of the local church in identifying, training, sending and shepherding missionaries from your own church membership. There is nothing like the dynamic of having skin in the game. That is, when you have someone from your own congregation, from your families, from your membership that is preparing to go to the field as a missionary, and the church is involved in their training, in their step-by-step preparation for going to the field, in everything having to do with their getting ready to go, and then to supporting them in every way, not just financially and through prayer, while they're on the field.

That kind of ownership makes a huge difference in the life and ministry of that missionary and the life and ministry of the local church. Third element, commit to securing a partnership role for your church with each mission sending agency of missionaries sent out from your church. This element is hugely missing from local church thought. By and large, the general thinking of local churches for decades and decades has been we will get our people ready as best we can, give them over to the mission agency, and the mission agency takes over from there.

When a church does that, the vacuum of ownership and responsibility and accountability has huge consequences for the missionary's life and ministry on the field. The statistics for missionary attrition, that is missionaries leaving the field for preventable reasons, are huge, and they go way down when the local sending church takes responsibility and ownership for their people and tracks with them very carefully to make sure that they have what they need, that stresses are reduced, that encouragement to persevere and keep going are there by their side all the time.

So this idea of securing a partnership role basically means that with every missionary sent from your church, the church has a partnership agreement signed by the agency and the missionary and the local church leaders to make sure that the local church has an ongoing role in securing the wellbeing of their missionary out on the field and even has a role in helping to guide and direct their specific ministry and strategy and team for whatever their end goal of ministry is on the field.

I know some churches that have this kind of agreement and it means that they limit their missionaries to the dozen or so teams around the world. Even within a huge mission agency, the dozen or so teams that best fit both the church and the missionary's ministry with like-minded theological and practical missiological understanding of what they are to do there. When there is a partnership agreement, then the church has some assurance that the ministry that's taking place on the field is a genuine extension of what they believe and what their convictions are about ministry from their own local church.

In other words, the missions ministry is a valid extension of the local church's ministry. Element number four, church missions leader, commit to leading your church in comprehensive missionary care for your sent missionaries. In other places, on, we have a list of 10 areas that the missionary care team should be responsible for in taking care of their missionary. It has a lot more to do with their whole life and supporting them in every way than just sending a check and adding them to the monthly prayer list.

The fifth element is church leader affirm and implement a course of action to mobilize the whole church in missions. This is a paradigm shift for most churches. Most churches, the missions mechanism of the church, whether that is staff or an office or a committee or team, usually do missions on behalf of the church instead of seeing that their larger role is to involve and inspire and get everyone in the church mobilized in some form or fashion with their own responsibilities in missions.

It means that the whole church is missions minded. It's not just an ideal that's printed on a brochure and executed by a couple of people in the office. As both a missionary and a missions pastor, I'll tell you, it's a different kind of work. It's a lot of work. Some ways, it's easier to do the work yourself than to get other people involved in it. However, the longer term benefits of having everybody understanding and being involved in missions are huge.

Number six, commit to a regular plan for orientation of new missions committee or missions team members training and exposure to practical church-centered ecclesiology and missiology for the cause of growing effectiveness in missions ministry. What does that mean? It means that you don't just elect somebody to the missions team and plug them in without some kind of training expectations and orientation. They probably need to read at least one or two or three books. They probably need to attend or listen to some podcasts or meetings in which their role as missions team leaders, especially in mobilizing the whole church, is clear.

You want new missions committee or missions team members to come onto the team with eyes wide open and ready to go to work. It also means that there's some ongoing training taking place for the whole missions team. The mission team grows together when they train together, when they read the same kind of things together, when they listen to and interact with the same kind of teachings together. Element number seven, church missions leader, lead your church to embrace a meaningful strategic focus to guide your church's missions involvement and direction.

This is a really huge topic and we deal with it in a lot of other ways. In teaching in Propempo, we have some other podcast episodes that deal with this, but having a focus of the type of ministry or the location of ministry or specific unreached people group that you are going to own for the sake of the Lord and the gospel is a huge blessing to the church. I've worked with some churches that said they intentionally want to see how many pins they can put on the map in different countries around the world, and I want to tell you that thinking is not only lousy, it's probably sinfully proud and arrogant to think that way.

Focus and intentionality and ownership of missions comes with deeper relationships, and the only way you can grow and develop deeper relationships is to have fewer of them. I highly recommend choosing to move in the direction in which you have fewer missionaries supported more deeply in every way than many missionaries supported in a very shallow way. I've had to face this myself as I've taught churches and churches that gave very little and had very little connection and relationship with us in our ministry dropped off. Element number eight, church missions leader, actively seek to bring all aspects of missions education, short-term missions and supported missions ministry into alignment with these principles.

What this means practically is you're going to have to ask all the people that you presently support and the ministries that you presently support, do they fall in line with these kinds of principles? Are they actually doctrinally like-minded with your church? Are they doing the kinds of things that your church would do if it could in that area of ministry? Are they seeking to bring the fruit of their ministry into solid bible teaching local churches no matter what their ministry is? The last element is a no-brainer. It's church missions leader, lead your church to be Propempo-certified as a local church. As you may be able to tell from this series of episodes of Missions on Point, I'm a little bit intense about this.

This is the culmination of thinking of decades of ministry in helping churches and missions, and it crystallizes a lot of information that cannot be expanded through just a series of short podcast episodes, but has a lot of other training and orientation and interaction to do in order for each element of each certification area to be fulfilled, but I trust that for you as well, crystallizing these concepts will be important to catalyzing, mobilizing, energizing your church in missions. 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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