Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. This is episode 125 of Missions on Point. Thank you so much for joining us. Missions on Point presents missions concepts that are biblically rooted in the concept of a high view of the local church. The term used in the New Testament for this transliterated from the original is propempo. That's three Ps and no Ts, propempo. Propempo basically means to send forward, but in the New Testament, it is used in a technical sense for the local church sending out qualified missionaries to take the gospel and plant churches everywhere in fulfillment of the Great Commission. The biblical Propempo perspective is local church centric in missions philosophy. This means that we hold to the primacy of the local church in sending an healthy indigenous local churches as the intended biblical end goal of missions. You can hear the fuller biblical rationale for our Propempo perspective in the first five episodes of Missions On Point. There are plenty of other episodes that expand this both biblically and practically. Just because every new episode of Missions on Point is released on Friday doesn't mean that you can't go back and learn more from other episodes every day of the week. If you have questions or comments, just email us,

Now, this series of episodes of Missions on point answers critical questions which we get from wrestling with applying the essential biblical perspective. People naturally ask, "We understand these things from the Bible for the first time. It makes sense. Now we want to aim our personal and corporate missions involvement to these priorities. So what does it look like for us to be consistent with these principles?" That's why we've adopted this idea of "Propempo certification". We've thought about what specific standards would define logical results of embracing a biblical local church centered mindset for missions. First for the local church, secondly for a church missions leader, third for the missionary, fourth for the mission agency, fifth for you as a donor, and lastly for a missionary training institution.

Today we're talking about the person or group that supports missions financially, the donor. That's you and me. All of us as believers can participate in the great commission by praying, giving, and sharing the gospel. All of us are donors in some form. Every genuine believer should be a member who is consistently serving and supporting their local church. That's a biblical exhortation and model that applies to all of us. Every church member should aspire to be a world Christian. What we mean by that is that the great commission in Matthew 28, the great commandment in Matthew 22, and the call to conform to God's purposes in Romans 12 compel us to shape our character and stewardship of time, talent, and treasure in alignment with the gospel and God's glory to all nations. In short, every believer has a part to play in fulfilling the great commission.

As donors, we all give something to missions, even if it's just giving through our local church. We trust those who lead missions to sort out the priorities of the who, what, where, why, and when of our church's corporate involvement in missions. However, let's talk about your missions giving outside your local church. In real life, most of us have dozens of causes and relationships pulling at our purse strings, asking us to donate to "good causes". If God has blessed us with the capacity and reputation for generous giving, it seems like every mission's interest passing into our consciousness wants a piece of the action. It is emotionally stressful to wrestle with stewardship questions. Even more, it's stressful to consider good reasons why we should or why we should not give to a particular ministry or person or cause.

The big overarching principle for us as donors is wise, informed discernment. This means that an effective donor is going to ask probing questions and build bridges of trust and accountability to assure that God's funds are being used consistently for his purposes. Here's some essentials for Propempo certification for you and me as a donor. Number one, the donor has a relationship with a supported ministry, including reasonable communication and accountability. Sometimes this relationship might actually be family or extended family, so you might feel obligated to give. This doesn't require you to give. You still have to ask some questions. Then sometimes the relationship might come through other normal channels in your life. Someone in some ministry connected through your church or your church affiliation, someone or some ministry connected to you through your work or family life, or someone or some ministry referred to you through a trusted source. You want a relationship having fewer degrees of separation.

The relationship is important. As a donor, you want more than the minimum newsletter or mailing. You want to feel like an insider to the ministry concerns you are supporting. You want and should expect reasonable communication and accountability. If that doesn't happen, you might reconsider your partnership. I don't know about you, but I get inquiries through phone, email, and even from people who may be doing good work in gospel needy countries around the world, all asking for assistance or partnership, meaning money. The answer, if I reply at all, is simple. No relationship, no funding. The Propempo certified donor does not fund ministry without a pathway for relational communication and accountability.

Number two, the donor seeks to discover the ministry's relationship with the local church on both ends of the spectrum. Does the petitioner have a relationship with a healthy local church on this side of the water? Who is their sending church? How does their ministry directly help or resource the planting and development of local churches on the other side of the water? Does the intended result of their ministry build up the local church or does their ministry operate without any connection to the local church on either end of the mission's ministry spectrum? I know a number of large international organizations that intentionally avoid meaningful relationships with local churches. Their modus operandi is organizational growth and self-perpetuating staff. The answer for Propempo certification for the donor is simple. No local church relationship and goals, no support.

Number three, the donor looks for clear ministry goals that keep a high priority on essential ministries like gospel proclamation, good biblical and theological training of leaders, and contributing to the planting and development of healthy local churches. For many traditional missionary ministries, this is not a problem. Still, you need to ask the questions, what is the final goal or purpose of this ministry? In what ways is it connected to the biblical essentials or not? How does this part contribute to the whole? This concern cuts right through the popular trend of throwing support, that is funds, at all kinds of humanitarian, human rights, community development, and disaster relief ministries. If those works are not consciously engaging spiritual and biblical ends, they're essentially no different than secular means of doing those same things. To be Propempo certified as a donor, you need to focus giving on ministries that have clear ministry goals focused on the biblical priorities of evangelism, discipleship and leadership training, all for the planting and developing of indigenous local churches. No connection to priority ministry, no donation.

Number four, the donor seeks to support ministries that have an impact on the completion of the Great Commission. If you understand Propempo principles correctly, you'll know that the great Commission is not just evangelism or discipleship. It includes those things, but specifically as a part of the process aimed at establishing healthy local churches. But it is also being strategic about choosing to reach the unreached. That's the all nations part of the great commission. That is, those with little to no access to the gospel apart from someone bringing it to them from outside their group. So we need to ask questions about the target population and their unreached status. What ministries are available or accessible to them? Do they have the New Testament in their language? What other gospel or sound Christian resources do they have in their vernacular language? Are your missionary or mission friends targeting an unreached people group, UPG, or an unreached language group? Are there any others trying to reach that target population? There are lots of ministries that may be links in the chain of reaching the unreached. Your responsibility as a discerning donor is to discover the connections. If the ministry in question has no thought of strategically connecting with pioneering ministry to the unreached, there still might be some compelling reason to support them, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Maybe your questions and concern will nudge them to lift their eyes to see how they might adjust their trajectory.

Number five, define the amount of need and longevity of your commitment. It's always better to have a frank and open conversation about these things. Don't leave it to assumptions. How much will you give and for how long duration? With what frequency will the need of your commitment be reevaluated? Is the goal of your giving for a project, a person, an organization, or a crisis situation? Number six. Lastly, find out if there is some way you can personally visit or participate in the ministry. Getting personally involved is one of the best ways to build trust and grow and appreciation for the work and the workers. If it is reasonable to do so, go learn about the nature of the ministry on the ground for yourself. Your investment is more than just money. It is sharing your life and truly partnering in the work.

Just to recap these principles in summary, number one, establish relational communication and accountability. Two, raise the awareness of biblical local church centeredness on both ends of the ministry. Number three, keep highest priority ministries as the highest priorities of your giving. Number four, give more funding to those ministries strategically aimed at the least reached peoples. Number five, determine the cycle of amount, duration, and reevaluation of your giving. Number six, discover ways of getting personally involved beyond the dollars. These are tough issues to even talk about as a donor, but if you really want to be wise and you really want to be God glorifying in your giving, you should think through these issues and seek to become Propempo certified as a donor.

I've got tons of stories, and some of them horror stories, about giving that is ill managed or ill targeted, or somehow the donor ends up feeling kind of duped. You don't want to feel that way. You want to do your homework and do the spadework it takes to answer these kinds of questions so that in the end, not only will you be satisfied as a personal donor, but you'll be satisfied that you are a part of accomplishing God's intended purposes for missions ministry on this earth. Please, please don't be duped by arguments about leveraged giving. Don't be fooled by people saying that you get more bang for the buck in this way or that way without all of those other questions being answered properly. Again, I want to encourage you to go back and listen to all the episodes of this particular series about Propempo certification for the church, for the church missions leader, for the missionary, for the missions agency for you as a donor, and for the missionary training institution coming up next week. And if this piques your curiosity, I would encourage you to go back into the episode list on your podcast app and look at some of the other episodes. We cover some very practical things for you and your church in missions.

Finally, I'd encourage you to prayerfully consider your role as a donor and reevaluate where you are. You may need to make some changes, or maybe you're on track and can rejoice in God's generosity and goodness to you as you share it with Missions Ministries. 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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