Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. Welcome to episode 13 of Missions on Point. This is the second of a four part series on pastoral leadership of missions in the local church. In the first part, episode 12, we talked about the necessity of pastoral leadership. This episode we're gonna talk about the obstructions to pastoral leadership. A missions, and I'll just break it down as 10 challenges to overcome in general. I've never met a pastor who said their church was not missions minded. In fact, I've never met a pastor who said they didn't understand missions and have a passion for missions themselves, whether or not they actually did. In fact, they don't know how to measure it and they may have never been taught it, and so they don't know what they don't know. We love our pastors. We want to think the best of them.

It's humbling for pastors to come to the place where they admit, as one did with me one time in tears saying, I've never been taught this. I had no idea how to lead my church in missions. Please help me glorify God in leading my church. Admissions. Here are the 10 things we'll get right to it. First, lack of passion for Christ. This may seem like an obvious thing that no one would admit to, but I'm telling you it is first on the list for a reason. Pastors while in seminary often think that the goal of their life's work is to have a comfortable church and a comfortable location with a comfortable salary, a comfortable house, comfortable family, and it's really more about them than it is a passion for Christ. Regardless of the sacrifice and cost, it may take for them in their congregation to be involved in that cutting edge ministry of missions.

They just don't grasp that there are those for whom Christ died out there in the nations of the world completely without access to the gospel, and the only way they're gonna know Christ and His glory and the fellowship of the Saints is for people from outside their group to go there and communicate as best they can in their own vernacular language. The gospel of Jesus Christ as it's found in the scripture to proclaim Christ is something of a passion for Christ, and the pastor often runs into that is the first obstruction, second lack of understanding of the Bible. We dealt very briefly with this in the previous episode, but pastors often just don't understand that missions is woven throughout the Bible. I remember this famous or infamous story from the life of John Piper. John Piper was the pastor of a large city church in Minneapolis, Pennsylvania, Bethlehem Baptist, and they had an annual missions conference that ran eight days Sunday to Sunday.

He faithfully, as the new pastor of the church, scheduled his vacation during that time so that  his family could get away, and he didn't really have anything to do with missions. He had a very competent missions pastor that ran things. He just didn't have anything to do with it. He never really saw it until he was compelled by the keynote speaker dropping out at the last minute to have to actually search the scriptures and be the speaker for the conference and give up his vacation plans that year. It totally changed his life. He had to prepare the messages, which then became the basis for the book. Let the Nations be Glad. John Piper began to see missions throughout all of scripture, and the glory of God is the great overarching theme and passion of God for glory to his name. Lack of understanding of the Bible with understanding missions woven throughout the thread of salvation from Genesis to Revelation is a key for pastors.

So pastors, if you haven't picked up some books or videos or audios or podcasts that help you understand the Bible from a missions kind of perspective, then please do so. Number three, lack of proper training in seminary, lack of preparation to lead missions. There's almost no one that provides preparation for the pastor to lead missions at most. He may be given in seminary an assignment to develop a philosophy of missions for a local church paper that he has to write as an assignment, but there's no background to that and no practical steps to achieving it. Most seminarians graduate thinking that they're fully equipped to be a pastor and they've only had one small course on missions history, maybe taught by somebody who lived a good part of it. There is maybe one or two seminaries in all the evangelical seminaries that I know of that have even an emphasis on being a missions pastor as a ministry career, much less train senior pastors or would be senior pastors as graduates to lead missions in their local church.

They're giving courses on counseling, on multi staff administration, on finances, a lot on exa Jesus and languages, a series on theology. But how many courses on missions and the leadership of missions or the import and priority of missions for the local church, I vouched to say zero. Challenge number four would be lack of exposure to good missionaries and good missions work. Although there may be short term missions opportunities offered during seminary years, most men are most concerned about just finishing seminary and the courses that are required, not getting exposed to good missions and missionaries on the field, so they don't really have any objective way of measuring what might be good and what might not, and they get a missionary candidate coming through who is flying through and making contacts trying to develop support. You may not have much more contact than one weekend at the most before the church decides whether or not to support 'em.

Is that the best way to do it? I don't think so. Lack of exposure to good missionaries and missions work and even good missions. Thinking for the local church is one of the big challenges of a pastor. Number five, a general lack of interest to get involved. Honestly, pastors have one of the hardest jobs on earth. It is very stressful. It is hugely relational. It involves lots and lots of study and lots and lots of interaction with people and a lot of expectations from people in their congregation and expectations they put on themselves. Where can they even find a slot of time or interest remaining to give missions? How can we do that? Pastors just generally have a lack of interest. Their field is their town, their area, their community, not across the world, and so it's hard for them to develop an interest if they have not had any before they even entered seminary.

Number six, a fear of competition of values and vision. Missions is often seen as a competitor for funding, for interest, for vision of the people. If the people get all excited about missions, maybe the general funds will go down. Maybe people will start prioritizing that over local outreach or over the local ministries that are taking place. Maybe it'll have a negative impact on our church. Those are the kinds of fearful thoughts that run through the mind of a pastor, and I'm here to tell you in general, that never happens when a church establishes missions in a sound way and involves their people in legitimate, good biblical missions ministries with relationships with good quality missionaries on the field, the ministry values and resources go up. People are more involved in local ministry. In fact, even outsiders love to see an emphasis of a church on something outside of themselves and not so self-centered.

It is attractional to have that kind of missions emphasis in a church. Number seven, fear of loss of resources, whether financial, human time or platform. So here we're zeroing in on that fear of competition, specific lack or loss of resources. Pastors literally think that if we give too much emphasis to missions, if we give too much budget or too much opportunity for funding to missions, it's going to reduce the funds for the local ministry. And again, I say it just doesn't happen that way. Funding isn't a pie with a zero sum budget. It is a river flowing from God and the resources keep coming as you spend them in good stewardship for the kind of purposes God wants you to spend them on. And you shouldn't fear loss of resources, whether it is financial, whether it is human resources, whether it is time of yourself and your people, or whether it is platform time being generous as a church to missions will yield rich dividends in reward.

Number eight, fear of change. I've gotta be honest with you, this may be the only one of the 10 that is actually legitimate. If you begin to grab hold of missions and understand it and implement it and lead it more, yes, things will change. If you fear change,  maybe this is not for you, but if you fear change, maybe the pastor, it's not for you. I wanna tell you that the change that comes is good, sound solid change, particularly if us pastor are taking the lead and moving in the right direction. You want to get everybody off of the on ramp to the highway onto highway speed with you. On missions. You're gonna have a grand time, and the changes that are coming may be challenges for sure may stretch you, but they're going to grow you and mature you and enable you to see exciting things happen.

Far above all that you could ask or think, read Ephesians three again. Number nine, fear of distraction from growing your local church. This is a piece of what we've reflected on earlier, but this fear is real. If we get involved in missions, maybe we will not grow our local church. And actually, I have seen this happen where a church becomes so missions minded, they more or less give so many resources to missions that it's unbalanced. The church facilities get run down. The people age, there's nothing there for younger families. It just does get run down if you're not paying attention to local ministry as well. My appeal is to have balance. Don't fear distraction, especially if missions is a weak point for you. I'll address how to determine that in just a minute. Number 10, fear of the unknown. This is this big cloud. All of us fear the unknown, but you're stepping forward in faith, in the hand of God, and he's gonna help you because this is the kind of thing that he wants to see done.

It's the kind of thing for which he created the church and for which he placed you there as a leader. So let's get on with it. One of the tools that Empo has that can help you understand missions better and how you're doing is the church missions profile. A serious problem that many churches have is they measure themselves by themselves year by year. So they think, oh, we're doing a little bit better this year. That's good. Well, maybe you should be doing a lot better this year, but how do you really know objectively what the benchmark is for really good quality churches doing a good job in missions, church missions profile solves that for you. So if you go to  missions hyphen profile, you'll get to a page that will lead you through a self assessment. You're assessing yourself on a scale that will show you where you are in comparison with the best descriptors of the benchmark that you ought to be aiming for.

Not only that, if you take the church missions profile, it will give you a 12 to 15 page report at the end, like consultant recommendations for how to improve your score in every single one of those 12 categories that it measures. So I would strongly encourage you take the church missions profile on pro pimple dot com's website, find out how you're doing, and then you'll have a great means, a tool for helping you measure even your leadership and missions and help the church move further down the road toward achieving the highest benchmarks of a passion for missions. Thanks for listening. Hey, thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. We trust that you'll find more resources and help on the website

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