Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. This is a warm welcome to episode 167 of Missions on Point. This is the final episode and conclusion of our preview of a book on the centrality of the local church in missions. If you're new to Missions on Point, I would encourage you to go back to episode 142 and listen to the series all the way up to this one. In this particular episode, I'm going to ask for feedback and interaction so you can leave comments on your podcast app. Follow and subscribe to the Missions on Point Podcast and tell others about it. What I'm looking for this time is interest in the book. If you think you're interested or you know of people interested, please let me know. You can email me directly and let me know. Yes, I'm interested in the book or yes, I think our church should buy 10 copies for our whole missions team, or, yes, I'm a mission's prof, or I know a mission's prof that could use it for his whole class.

I'm not asking for a contract to purchase. I'm just asking for your interest in probably or possibly purchasing it when it is printed. The working title for the book today, which may change over time is Local Church Centric Missions, Biblical Support and Implementation. Now, that sounds like a big title, but it is descriptive of the contents. If you've got a better title, let me know. Let me know how this series has captured your heart and mind and what the results might be in your particular ministry or in your church. Again, you can leave comments on your podcast app or you can email me directly Thanks a lot for your participation and help.

As we wrap up this series, I want to highlight three particular ideas and one big goal. Here's the three ideas. The church is central as God's agent on earth. That's true in the New Testament letters, it's true in the one in another's of body life, it's true with the listeners who heard the Great Commission and the next generation of those people that understood the Great Commission they were planting local churches. The church is central as God's agent on earth. A key passage of this is Ephesians three, and it rolls right into Ephesians four, very practical information admonition and instruction for local churches.

The second one follows, the church is central in missions. It is central in missions because the church is the laboratory in which missionaries are created. It's the place where they are prepared and affirmed and verified in their calling. It's the place where they're supported and sent out. It's the place that shepherds them along the path of their career in missions. I said it's the place, but I should have said, it's the body. It's the family of the missionary. They have strong ownership of the missionary and the mission to which he is commissioned to do.

The third big idea is the church is the goal of missions. That is local churches are the goal of missions. Local churches replicate in context of every tongue and tribe and people on earth. This body life that Jesus taught us and through his apostles showed us and instructed us so that we can demonstrate the wisdom of God and the glory of God in Christ to the world. The big goal of the book is to fuel, if you will, a tidal wave of change in the mission's enterprise. Too long the local church has taken a backseat and abrogated or given over its responsibility to mission agencies, parachurch agencies, 501(c)(3) nonprofits to do by proxy what the church is commanded to do. The church needs to take back their ownership.

The mission agencies need to repatriate or give back ownership to the home country of the work of missions to the local church. Is the local church expert in all of those things? Does the local church have the means to do all the administration and supervision and policy guidance on the field, relationships that have to take place through government and whatnot to enable the missionary? Usually, the answer to that is no. The church, local church does not have all of that capacity and complexity. The local church does need to partner with outside entities. They just don't need to totally give up ownership. So in this book, we've built the biblical case for the local church being the center of missions. We looked at biblical evidence in Christ's view and how to understand the Great Commission in its fullness. We talked about how the hearers of the Great Commission of Christ original command obeyed it, what they did to obey it, and how the New Testament on the whole completely supports this proposition that the local church should be the center of missions.

We look specifically at Paul's view. And in scriptural context the word propempo, it reinforces the whole picture of the local church being the center of God's agency in the world to fulfill the Great Commission. After looking at things biblically, we looked more particularly at how do we restore missions in the local church? What process or what practical ways can we put into place the local church's ownership of missions and having their fingerprints on all parts of it even though they may delegate certain aspects and services to outside organizations? We talked about owning missions in general and the typical kind of objections that pastors and church leaders have given to this concept. We've walked through the rationale of why the goal of missions should be planting and strengthening local churches. We talked about how to raise up missionaries and how to have a strategic focus, prioritizing support of missions within the local church.

We've explained how you can mobilize your whole congregation to be more missions minded and how to grow a missions culture sort of from the ground up through all the age groups and ministries of your church. Then we talked about specifically the process of sending and shepherding missionaries that come from your church to go out to the field. Then in this last section of the book, we describe the major stakeholders or players in the whole process and how they fit in and what difference does it make to them that they might accept a local church centric mission's mindset. We talked about the lead pastor and what difference it makes for him, the mission's leader who may or may not have understood a local church centric ministry philosophy for missions previously. We've talked about how it affects the missionary candidate and even the missionary that's already on the field sent from a particular church, so it changes their dynamic, their relationship with the local church.

We talked about the mission's agency and what difference it makes. So if the mission agency believes and accepts this biblical framework, then they must give more attention to the sending church of the candidates and include them in the whole process, and that shapes and shifts everything that they've been doing bureaucratically and organizationally prior to this time. It even affects the biblically minded donor to missions, and I'm thinking primarily of major donors. People who are generous because of God's great supply in their stewardship of ministries need to ask the right questions so that they're supporting the right things, not just because something is a new fad or trend in missions. They need to hold it up to the lens of biblical appropriateness and fittedness. It certainly changes the way a missionary training school handles missionary students that are training for career mission's ministry out on the field.

They are not the end all of training. They are a partner in all of the training that needs to be done to qualify a missionary really well for the field, both in their character, their being, in their knowing the content of things that they believe and know from the Bible and theology, but also their skillset in doing, their competence in ministry skills. And lastly, we speak to missions mobilizers who are really cool people that love the Lord and love missions, but often they need a realignment or recalibration of their focus so that they're actually working with and serving local churches rather than just promoting individuals to do their own thing to get to the field.

As we've considered this book, we have this one big question. It's kind of in your face. Who owns world missions? Is it the mission agency? Is it the local church? Is it the missionary? And you might say the answer's easy. God owns missions. Well, yes, God owns missions, but who is his agency? Who has he delegated responsibility for missions to in the earth? And I think the biblical case is very clear. It's the local church. A lot of people are fond of quoting John Piper in saying that missions is not the ultimate goal of the church, worship is. Missions exist because worship doesn't. I agree with that, but I think it falls short of giving the bigger context. We're not just trying to develop a whole bunch of independent believers around the earth. We're trying to develop worshiping communities that the Bible recognizes our local churches. That's where the white-hot worship comes. It's in community and in practice around the world, it's in local churches until heaven.

On the one hand, our present state of missions enterprise has failed to produce the results that they even claim. Mission organizations have been largely distracted and sent in different directions from the main goal by their own bureaucracy and institutional mindset. The local church has too easily given over control and responsibility to mission agencies because yes, it is complex and difficult, but they've lost touch with the exciting dynamic of their congregation having a greater sense of ownership and responsibility and skin in the game of world missions. The statistics of missionary attrition contribute to this picture. It's sad for so many people to come home feeling defeated and broken because they didn't make it on the mission field for long-term, and they didn't see the results that were promised. So we're ripe for this tidal wave of change to come and have all stakeholders agree to put the local church back in the driver's seat, so to speak, and come together and work together in such a way that we see more quality missionaries going to the field for faithful long-term service to accomplish the goals that Jesus intended in the Great Commission.

It's time to recover that local church vision that people like Oswald J. Smith had when he says, "Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist." Let's pray together that God will enable us to help this change come to pass for his glory. I want to encourage you to send me feedback or comments, Please let me know and let others know about this series and about the book, and let me know if you're willing to be notified about publication of the book when it comes out. Thank you so much for listening, and thank you especially to those supporters that enable this podcast and our ministries to continue. Stay tuned for another exciting series coming up with Missions on Point.

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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