Audio Transcript:

Welcome to Missions On Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and Missions.

Thanks for joining us for episode 129 of Missions On Point. We're going to start a new series. This series is going to help us answer some of the most frequent questions that we get at Propempo, and that is the questions of implementation. There is a whole body of questions and issues that continually cause frustration or tension or even conflict within the church leadership or between the church members and the church leadership with regard to missions. Now, we've dealt with some of these things in principle in other episodes of Missions on Point. We've covered a lot of territory about general functions of the missions team and leadership. We've had most recently this really significant series on Propempo certification and what it means to implement the biblical principles that we espouse and understand from the scriptures in our church and all the relationships related to missions of the church.

You would have to go back to Missions on Point in the very first four or five episodes to get some of that biblical basis under your belt in order to understand better some of the ideal implementation that we're going to talk about in this series. Now, there are literally hundreds of questions that we get asked, but there is something of a pattern to it, and I hope that you identify with some of the questions that are raised here and answered here. Here's some samples. How can our church determine a strategic focus? What role does short-term missions play? How can we help our missionary raise their support? How do we get from our present mass in missions to the ideal? How much and how many should we support? What is the proper role of a mission agency in sending a missionary? Even some of the most basic questions like what is missions and why should I care and what is the goal?

We get comments and questions along the lines of why is it so hard for us to make decisions in our missions committee or missions team about such and such kind of an issue? One of the repeated problems that church leaders and mission leaders within the church run into is trying to figure out what to say yes to and what to say no to. In fact, most of the problem issues that arise are because the mission's team said yes to too many things or to the wrong things, and now it's coming around full circle to show bad fruit of that decision.

There are so many things in life and even in church ministry that we need to learn to say no and what guides our no decision so that we'll be able to say yes to the best thing. There are hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of many worthy causes and ideas that we would love to be able to say yes to if we had infinite capacity, but we just don't. Therefore, we must refine our vision for what are the right things to say yes to allow us to confidently and comfortably be able to say no to things that don't fit that. So what we're talking about in this series is your church missions handbook.

What do I mean by that? Well, most churches have at least some charter, even if it's a one-page thing for their missions ministries of the church. Often they may have a missions philosophy or a biblical basis for missions stated somewhere in the church documents. A church that is maybe bigger or better organized might have a fuller missions policy, but all of those things in my view, kind of fall under the missions handbook.

Missions handbook is a playbook. It is a reference. It is a guide for missions team work over the course of time so that new members and up and coming next generation of the missions team won't have to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch. So some of you might be thinking right now, how does this apply to me? I don't want to write a missions handbook, but ultimately, you're going to need to do something like this in your church, and it's even better if you start it when the church is young and doesn't have a lot of accumulated issues that they face that also carry a lot of emotional attachment and cost to it.

Ultimately, a good church missions handbook is going to resolve a lot of problems, potential conflict, and guide the church in ways to be so much more fulfilling to the church in understanding their focus and what frames their decision making with regard to missions ministry in the church. Really, every member has a little bit at stake in what is in the church missions handbook and what it says. You have to realize that a good church missions handbook is a management tool. It is a tool to help define the boundaries of acceptable action. It is the standard for definitions that we use in missions and priorities and strategy, including the nuts and bolts of how we come to decisions and the reasons behind it. Realize that any mission's handbook is sort of a dynamic instrument. It's not intended to never change, and it should be people oriented, both to the people of the church, certainly the church leaders, but also to those missionaries out on the field that you're serving and supporting and shepherding.

The things we'll talk about in the series have to do with those nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty, the most basic foundational things that help guide our thinking and our church in missions. Things like the biblical basis for missions, the scope of authority of a missions team or committee, some basic definitions that we all should agree upon. We will talk a bit about church strategy and focus and what kinds of documentation the church handbook should outline to keep us on track. What is the ideal sort of missions team structure and composition and functions, and how we make decisions in missions for the church at large, and then what kinds of things do we actually measure? What are the important measurements for a good missions ministry in the local church?

And lastly, sort of a wrap up of all this implementation. If you have ever been approached by a church member, a sincere missions loving church member who says, "My sister or my brother or my nephew or my cousin is a missionary or wants to be a missionary. Why can't our church have them present and then support them forever on the field?" You know how uncomfortable that is, and if you don't have a good basis for answering that in a way that makes sense to the church and to the church member and ultimately to that prospective missionary, then it just wears on you. A good missions team handbook is going to resolve that for you and make it easy to answer that question. I'm encouraged biblically by the example of the Apostle Paul.

He says, in one of my favorite passages in all the Bible in Ephesians Chapter 3, that he was given this special grace to preach to the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ, and that essentially is the gospel. In Verse 9 of Chapter 3, he says, to bring delight for everyone. What is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things so that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places? The core word in that for me is plan. Basically, it means administration.

Paul saw his ministry as twofold. One, to actually proclaim the gospel to those who had not heard and would not have heard without a messenger, a preacher like himself. The second thing is when those believers arise and get discipled, local churches are formed. That's the plan, the administration. He had a special gift from the Lord to organize local churches. That's why we see so much instruction in his letters about how leaders should function and what their character and qualifications are, how to handle particular problems arising in the church, how to administer baptism and the Lord's table. What is the role of men and women? All of these kinds of things and the character of the church are part of the administration of the church that Paul taught and coached and wrote about.

So I feel like I'm in good company to talk about this. Is it administration? Yes, frankly, it is. Does everyone have a stake in it? Yes, frankly, they do. Now, here's a disclaimer over the whole series that we're about to get into. First of all, I want to give you what I think is ideal. It may be different in how you apply it. Every church is unique. You may apply it a little bit differently, and I'll tell you what some of the options are as well as some of the bad ones and good ones. However, I will present to you what I think is most biblically consistent, sort of the Propempo perspective on how to think about your church missions handbook.

There are a couple of resources I want to point out to you. The first is just to send comments or questions to me at the email That's The second one is to go to the new website called This is a new website we're developing specifically to contain resources and interactive tools for you to be able to help your church understand where you are and how to get to the next level on so many of these things we're talking about, including a resource called the Propempo Handbook on Missions Policy, which is available on The name Send Forward is actually the English translation of the Greek New Testament word Propempo. There's also the church missions profile, both as an individual church leader and as a group that helps produce recommendations in 12 key areas for your church. So if you don't even know what the 12 areas are, you need to see the church missions profile. It is an interactive self-assessment, and it's a subscription that renews annually for you to check up on your church annually.

In this series of podcasts, we're going to talk about biblical basis, missions philosophy, mission strategy, some church missions policy, how that applies in practical ways. We're going to talk about who gets to do the missions team work in the church and the dynamic of that. What kind of things guide our decision making and even how that gets recorded. So there's so many practical things we're going to talk about in this series of Missions on Point. I do want to encourage you one more time, please, if you haven't done so, go back and listen to the first five that are primarily about biblical basis, and then listen to the most recent series we completed on Propempo certification because that directly applies some of those biblical principles and is a framework for how we'll be talking about your church missions handbook.

Thank you so much for joining us in the series. Please stick with us. I think you'll find it interesting and practical for you, your thinking, and your church.

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