Your local church tradition or ethos may be different, but we recommend that the role of church staff be primarily facilitation and operational support. The function of the office of the missions Pastor and/or missions team requires a lot of administrative support. It has been said of the missions operations of the local church that, “It’s difficult to run an international enterprise on one meeting per month.” For missions to be well run in the local church there is a high volume of communication and coordination that must take place. Church staff are usually better equipped and have available time allotments to serve the needs.

If there is someone on staff designated as the missions coordinator, leader, or pastor, the leadership will have to decide whether or not that staff person functions as the chairman or leader of the missions team. We recommend that the missions team leader be a layperson. The designated staff person becomes the COO (Chief Operating Officer) for the Missions Team. The missions staff person may have specific skills, training, and experience to functionally lead or at least supply appropriate training and influence to the missions team. However, we believe that a missions mobilized church includes the “insider” members of the church retain ownership and leadership of the ministries of the church. Applying the principle of Eph. 4:12, the staff equip the church for the work. There is a strong sense that appropriately qualified staff missions leadership should execute the day-to-day operation of missions, but that the Missions Team, comprised primarily of lay members of the church, should establish the boundaries and direction for missions, under the authority of the Elders or overall leadership council of the church.

Support for logistics, technology, communication, prayer, personnel functions, financial accounting, receipting, and disbursement, promotion, event planning, coordination of hospitality, etc. are the roles of church staff. Policy, priorities, major decision-making, direction and vision are the roles of the Missions Team under the broader church leadership. We will discuss the specific role of “missions pastor” later in the “Church Leadership” path-book.