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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

29 Jul '08

What missionaries should your church support?

Posted by T.J. Addington in church leadership, missions
The process for determining who a church will support as a missionary often leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it is not unusual for a church to support someone that they would never hire themselves!

Here is something to consider: Just because someone is from your church, or feels called by God does not mean they are qualified to serve as a missionary. Or that you need to support them. We need to subject our missions budgets to the same scrutiny as we do the rest of our budgets. We need to subject the health and qualifications of the missionaries we support in the same way we would do with staff members we hire.

Dollars for missions are not unlimited. Just as we would not simply hire someone in our local church ministry who feels "called" we should not do so with our missions dollars. How we invest the limited dollars we have makes a difference.

Who then should we support? First, we need to know that the individual has relational, emotional and spiritual health. There is nothing more problematic in cross cultural ministry than to have unhealthy relational or emotional health. It goes without saying that spiritual health must be present.

Ask yourself the question. If there was a job available in your church, would you hire this person? If not, why not? If not, why would you send them internationally?

Second, we need to know that they possess a skill that will directly contribute to a missions endeavor. It is problematic to send an individual who has no track record in their own country. Ensure that there is a skill that is needed and that they possess the qualifications they need to do the job they are going to do.

Third, we need to know that the missions organization is healthy. Not all mission agencies are created equal. Some are simply support raising umbrellas for any who want to go into missions but they have no discernible strategy for missions, nor do they have a built in accountability structure or require staff to have well worked out plans. The effectiveness of those you send is directly impacted by the quality of the agency they are going with. Don't assume it is a good organization - find out.

Ask about the ministry philosophy and guiding principles of the organization that your prospective missionaries are going out under. Ask about strategy, accountability and intentionality. Find out what kind of support structure there is in place to ensure that your missionaries will be properly supported by the organization.

Fourth, we need to know whether the mission organization does multiplication or addition. Is the mission doing things that nationals could be doing or are they focused on raising up healthy national workers so that they are multiplying themselves.

The cost of missions is high. Once you factor in living expenses, travel, ministry expenses, health care and retirement, it is a significant bill. With limited resources, we need to be stewards of the funds and opportunity we have to reach our world.