Over the years, pastors or churches have told me they would like to send out missionaries from their church, forming a small mission board in their local church. This is certainly a worthy cause, but allow me to give you some things to consider before jumping in. Now, here are some practical thoughts:
- Have you counted the cost? It is a worthy goal to be able to send missionaries through your local church, but you have to consider if you can supply a secretary fully dedicated only to the missionaries needs. Receiving checks, sending receipts, allocating fund to their bank account or bills they may have, various paperwork, etc. Some churches can afford paying a secretary for the mission board, but not all can do so.
- What experience do you offer? The financial side is very important to a mission agency, but it is not the most important. Yes, you need to make sure finances are above board to keep out of the crosshairs of the IRS, keep integrity with churches and efficiency for the missionaries, but that is the minimum a mission agency should provide. The best thing a mission agency can provide for missionaries is experience. Many colleges “train” missionaries from theory because they do not have anyone who has “been there, done that.” A mission agency should be able to know about cross-cultural adaptation, learning a language, how to plant a church, multiple churches, national-leader training and much more. Just as not every church should have a Christian school, college or daycare, not every church is prepared to have a mission agency either. Missionaries need a counselor to know how to live in a foreign environment, a guide to do ministry in a different culture and an encourager to keep going in a third culture ministry. Someone who has been there and came out affectively on the other side without quitting can understand and help the missionaries better than someone who has a heart but not an understanding of what missionaries are going through. So, personal experience in the area of missions is of utmost importance to having a mission agency.
- What accountability is set in place? A pastor has his plate full with preaching, visiting, planning, supervising and loving his flock. He likely does not have time to keep up with the missionaries while balancing the ministries on the home front. Someone needs to keep the missionaries accountable in areas such as their marriage, personal struggles, finances, and miscellaneous areas of their life. I’m not talking about controlling, rather helping them to stay accountable by contacting them, visiting them and staying in regular communication with them.
So, there are a few things to consider. I also have tried placing important subjects and tools on my website as well (www.missions.tips) if any of it can be of help.
Here to Serve,