Medora Community Bible Church
This is not a department in our church; this is what we do.
This is who we are; this is why we exist as a church.
We believe that the mandate given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) is the responsibility of the local church. The Bible tells us how the early local church fulfilled that mandate.
Introduction to Biblical Missions
Local Church Missions in Acts
The Book of Acts reveals explosive Gospel expansion. The time frame from the commissioning of the disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 to the forming of the first 120 believers as the church in Jerusalem was less than two months.1 In only a matter of a few days, this new 120-member church had swollen to over 3,100 believers and continued to expand.2
With the tremendous growth experienced by the church in Jerusalem also came fierce opposition. Discontentment from within the church moved the church to mobilize and organize for effective ministry (Acts 6:1-6). The opposition from without moved the church into the world. It was persecution that drove the believers from their cocoon in Jerusalem and scattered them abroad as witnesses to Judea, Samaria, and beyond-just as Jesus had said (Acts 1:8). As these witnessing believers scattered, the Gospel erupted with power (Acts 8:1-4).3 The fallout from this Gospel explosion created the birth of a new church in Antioch (Acts 11:19-26). Soon the maturing church in Antioch was called on by God to send men out to continue the mission of Gospel expansion by planting churches throughout the world (Acts 13-14).
The purpose of this handbook is to set forth a Biblical philosophy of missions for Medora Community Bible Church, hereafter referred to as MCBC. Because a strategy of missions (what will be done) grows out of aphilosophy of missions (why and how it is done), a Biblical philosophy will be established to provide the foundation necessary to support a strategy that is Biblical, functional, and successful. The details for implementation of this philosophy are included in the missions handbook.
Because the words “mission,” “missions,” “missionary,” and “church planting” mean different things to different people, the terms are to be understood in this handbook as follows:
Mission is the purpose of the ministry. It is the overall good the church is attempting to accomplish.4 Our church’s mission is to see God glorified through making Christlike disciples.
Missions is the term that describes the program of ministry that sends forth mature believers to accomplish the ministry of reproduction.5 While the broad definition includes the reproduction of believers, the more narrow definition limits missions to the reproduction of and establishment of believers into a local church.
A missionary is one who is sent from and supported by the local church to a defined area for the purpose of evangelizing the lost, maturing believers, planting New Testament churches, and supporting those who do these ministries.
Church planting describes both the process and the goal of a missionary’s ministry of maturing believers, establishing national leadership, and forming a New Testament Church with the people in a given geographical area.
Indigenous describes a church which reflects the culture in which it is located, administrating and supporting its own life and outreach.
Parachurch is a ministry which compliments and works alongside a local church. This type of ministry works in areas where a local church is not able or is poorly equipped to do the job effectively.
Biblical Philosophy of Missions
I. The Underlying Reason for Missions (or The Premise for Missions)
The underlying premise behind this philosophy for missions is a conviction that the Bible not only clearly establishes the mandate for missions, but also sets forth the method for missions. Comparing the way missions is handled today with the way missions was handled in Acts, it becomes apparent that we have strayed from the pattern given in the Word of God for a local church’s missions strategy.
In many churches today, there is minimal involvement of the church with the missionary on the field and little (if any) accountability of the missionary to the local church. Sadly, the local church has delegated its responsibility of selecting and sending missionaries to missions sending agencies and left the burden of obtaining financial and prayer support to the missionary.
The missions philosophy and strategy presented in this chapter are taken from principles found in Acts 13-14. While understanding that there is room for flexibility in missions due to changing cultural and technological factors, the church at Antioch set a pattern that should be followed today.
II. The Foundational Principles
The following four principles are taken from the model of the church at Antioch and the unique relationship the Antioch church had with its first two missionaries, Paul and Barnabas. The process that the Antioch church followed with Paul and Barnabas was one through which God called and the church sent.
This model relationship provides the structure for a Biblical philosophy of missions.
A. The First Foundational Principle
The missionary is to be proven in the context of local church ministry prior to being sent.
The Antioch church was a ministering church. The thirteenth chapter of Acts opens with the identification of those who were faithful in the ministry of that church, among whom were Paul and Barnabas.6 It was in the midst of faithful ministry in their church at Antioch that Barnabas and Paul were “separated out” for missionary service.
It was in the context of the church in Antioch that Paul matured as a church leader, having been brought there by Barnabas (Acts 11:26). While in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas engaged in a teaching ministry for nearly a year, until they were entrusted to take relief money to the believers in Judea who were experiencing great famine (Acts 11:30). Paul and Barnabas continually proved themselves by faithfully doing the work of God in that church and city. As John Phillips writes:
“These were men who had labored in the Antioch church. They had seen souls saved there, they had proved themselves to be gifted evangelists, and they had demonstrated their ability to teach. . . . Under their ministry, the church had grown. Everybody knew them. They were loved, trusted, respected, and consulted.” 7
It is the responsibility of the church to disciple the believers. When a church fails to train, equip, and then engage believers in ministry, the pool from which to harvest missionaries becomes virtually nonexistent. The church must then look outside its own ministry to find faithful missionary candidates whom they can support. Paul and Barnabas were not men looking for support from outside churches that did not know them, had never seen them before, and likely would never see them again. These were men who had been proven through faithful ministry in their own local church.
MCBC will only send those who have a proven testimony in ministry (I Timothy 4:12; Acts 13:1-3). Our goal is that any missionary sent out by the church would first be involved in the ministry of the church. It is here that his heart for ministry is seen, his burden is felt, and his character is tested.
This will also allow the missionary to be known and loved because he is part of the church family.
B. The Second Foundational Principle
The missionary’s call will be confirmed by God to the local church.
It was obvious to the church in Antioch that God had His hand on Barnabas and Saul. The church had been seeking the Lord (“fasting”) and serving the Lord (“ministering”) (Acts 13:2).8 It is in such a climate that God chooses to work. The Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work of the ministry” (Acts 13:2) .
The Holy Spirit will reveal His will to a God-seeking and Spirit-sensitive church body. “It is the responsibility of every local church (especially of its leaders) to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, in order to discover whom He may be gifting and calling.”9 Someone who is not recognized by a Spirit-led church as faithful, mature, and called should not pursue the mission field until others have a sense of God’s calling on his life. It is essential that the church be faithfully praying for laborers and confirming those whom God has called.
One concern with modern missions is the way in which a missionary gets to the field. There appears to be little, if any, true sending role of the local church. We have bred today an individual autonomy when it comes to the ministry of missions. If a man is called into missions, his church may take little financial responsibility for him, leaving him dependent on the mission board system to care for him and provide him accountability. Sadly, the local church is left to function in a supporting role with little investment in the ministry of the missionary. This leaves the missionary on his own, which is not the Biblical pattern.
MCBC will send those who have worked in partnership with the church to confirm the call (Acts 13:2). It is not only essential that the missionary have a testimony in ministry, but that both he and the church are certain of his calling. The church leaders have the responsibility to seek laborers for the harvest. As God leads, missionaries will be raised from within the church or others who fit the criteria.
C. The Third Foundational Principle
The missionary is to be sent out by the local church.
Acts 13:3 reads: “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Convinced of the calling and the qualifications of the two men, the church commissioned them by the laying on of hands and sent them forth (v. 1-2). “The laying on of hands was the church’s commissioning of the two to missionary service. The remaining three (leaders) of the Antioch church laid their hands on the two missionaries as their Spirit-chosen substitutes to the regions beyond. It was a mark of confidence and fellowship.”10
Having been given the authority by God to carry out the Great Commission, the local church is to ensure that the work is done according to God’s plan. The pattern is clearly church-centered, church-supported, and church-supervised. The missionary, who has been commissioned by a church, becomes the representative of that entire church. He is then able to extend the church’s ministry far beyond where the church as a whole could minister.
Therefore, MCBC will send those who are like-minded in doctrine and philosophy (II John 10; Romans 16:17; II Thessalonians 3:14-15). Because the mission is that of reproduction, it is imperative that the right thing is reproduced. Having been involved in the ministry of the church, the missionary will have a firm grasp of both the church’s philosophy of ministry and its pattern for ministry. Just as it is expected that the ministry leaders within the church be like-minded, so must the church-planting missionary also be like-minded.
MCBC will send those who will be involved in reproducing Bible-teaching New Testament churches and related ministries. While there are many good ministries in which a church could be involved, MCBC will primarily be involved in church-planting related ministries in which the goal is to glorify God, evangelize the lost, and edify believers to be Christlike disciples, and where local believers are trained for leadership to pastor their own churches.
Unfortunately, today, being sent out by a church typically means promised prayer and financial support. The church does not view the missionary as an extension of its ministry and the missionary does not view himself as an extension of that church. He is more identified with his mission board than his “sending” church. He is also more accountable to his mission board than his sending church. He is supported by numerous churches (with whom much time must be spent when back in the States) rather than by his “sending” church.
Sending in the Biblical sense involves more than sending one off to the work. It involves sending by equipping with what is needed for the missions task.
D. The Fourth Foundational Principle
The missionary is to return home to the ministry of the local church following periods of ministry on the field.
It becomes necessary for the continued vision of the church for the missionary to rehearse what God has done while he was ministering away from the body. In Acts 14:27-28, Paul and Barnabas returned to the church in Antioch to rehearse all that God had done. There is to be a continued tie with the missionary to the sending church. The return visit was for “a long time” (v. 28). This extended time back in Antioch indicates that continued ministry in the church had time to be accomplished. Time spent back with the missionary’s sending church allows the missionary to minister to the body, as well as for the body to minister to the missionary and his family.
III. The Defining Purpose
The purpose of missions in the church is to reproduce Christlike disciples who will be able to reproduce themselves and will be part of an indigenous church. This purpose finds its support from three foundational pillars.
A. The first foundational pillar that supports the missions purpose of the church is that God must be glorified.
Glorification involves our worship of God. The driving force behind every area of the ministry of the church (missions included) is to glorify God (Ephesians 1:5-6; 11-12; 3:21; I Corinthians 10:31). This not only affectswhat the church is trying to do, but also governs the means of how the church will accomplish it. This overriding purpose, when implemented, keeps the church from other methods and means that stray outside the clearly defined doxological principles given in the Bible.
B. The second foundational pillar that supports the missions purpose of the church is that the lost must be evangelized.
Evangelization involves our witness to the world.11 Although evangelization is one part of the purpose, evangelization alone falls short of the Commission. The church has been given a charge to make disciples through instruction, training in doctrine, and imitation. Salvation is the first step in the process of what God wants accomplished. (Matthew 28:19-20).
C. The third foundational pillar that supports the missions purpose of the church is that believers must be edified.
While glorification involves our worship with God and evangelization involves our witness with the world, edification involves our work with believers. Our work with those that we see evangelized is to teach, train, and disciple them to maturity. In short, we are to assist them in becoming Christlike disciples (Romans 8:29). Christlike disciples are to be edified, brought to maturity, and established in the faith. Disciples should become part of a local church so that they can carry on the work of ministering. This being accomplished, God is glorified and the lost are evangelized (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:28-32; Hebrews 3:13; Ephesians 4:11-13).
The Commission given in Matthew 28:19-20 is the ongoing responsibility of the church. Christlike disciples are to be reproduced and New Testament churches are to be replicated in order to continue the work of reproduction. This is to be an ongoing multiplication process. Since Pentecost, the cycle has been that a church is born, matured, and then reproduced. It is because of this “life cycle” of the church throughout the ages that there are churches today that are able to enter the process and see Christ’s Body, the Church, advanced.
IV. Six Essential Areas of Emphasis
In order to fulfill this purpose, we shall commit our prayers and resources to aid in the support of the following mission emphases:
1. Send out evangelists and pastors – directed by the Holy Spirit through our local church to occupy new frontiers for Christ – to preach the Gospel of redemption in Christ Jesus unto salvation, to win converts, to baptize, to make disciples, and to establish evangelizing, multiplying, self-supporting, local churches.
2. Train candidates who meet Scriptural qualifications and give evidence that they desire to commit their lives to Christian service as pastors.
3. Support seminaries, schools, and organizations whose primary purpose is to prepare and equip believers for Christian service.
4. Support MCBC college students – college students must read our Missions Philosophy and Policy and fill out an application for assistance.
5. Balance our mission ministry in order to meet our responsibility to God for sharing the Gospel in the local, national, and foreign fields.
6. Support facilities, activities, and personnel whose primary function is vitally necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose of our missions program, but only if support is not otherwise available.
V. Order of Priorities
As a church, our first priority of missionary support is to those involved in church planting, pastoral training, and ministries that work closely to support the local church. These activities shall receive priority in the missions support program of the church.
1. MCBC will, as a first priority, provide substantial support for missionaries who have been raised up from within the MCBC fellowship and meet our missions philosophy. We will encourage and counsel those who are interested in missionary service and assist in their training and preparation.
2. The second priority for support is indigenous missionaries (nationals). Recognizing the wisdom and efficiency of nationals, we emphasize the support of nationals.
3. As a third priority, MCBC will support other missionaries as funds are available. Such missionaries must have substantial links with MCBC.
4. MCBC may partner with like-minded, independent mission boards to use their administrative expertise and experience. MCBC may also send help to approved missions organizations and projects. It is our desire to work with missions organizations who seek to assist rather than compete with the local church. It is within our purpose to consider support where there are unique opportunities to penetrate with the Gospel and to encourage participation in a local church.
If uniting with another missions sending agency, the purpose, doctrine, practices, and methods of the organization must be consistent with those of MCBC.
Our Biblical Missions Philosophy allows us:
1. To achieve a clear sense of direction (strategy of missions)
2. To facilitate making decisions in a planned and intelligent manner
3. To maximize our efforts to invest labor and finances in a Biblical manner
4. To educate new board members quickly, allowing them to familiarize themselves with the issues faced in and general direction of the missions program
5. To maintain consistency as committee membership changes
6. To have a clearly defined position and to provide printed philosophies, policies, and guidelines
7. To avoid making important decisions on an emotional or haphazard basis
8. To develop an accountability in our missions program
9. To work in better harmony with church leadership and inform them of the policy and the decision process of the Missions Department
MCBC Policy for Missions
The purpose of having policies in the area of missions is to provide guidelines for how the church will carry out its philosophy of ministry. Those policies are the specific applications of Biblical principles. The objectives outline the church’s responsibilities to the missionary, the missionary’s responsibilities to the church, and the church’s responsibility to parachurch ministries.
It is expected that the policy set forth herein will serve as guidelines for most decisions relating to the missions program; however, it is not intended to be overly restrictive. To ensure that it not be so, exception may be made at any time by approval of the Board of Elders.
I. The Responsibility of the Church to the Missionary
Having sent the missionary to the field, it is the responsibility of the sending church to support their missionary.
A. First, we will provide regular prayer support. The missionary supported by a sending church receives a greater amount of “effectual fervent prayer” (James 5:16), because as a member of the sending church, he and his family are loved and cared for as part of the body. The result is passionate prayer offered to God by the church for the missionary.
B. Second, we will provide regular pastoral support. Recognizing that the missionary is an extension of the ministry of the church, the elders must be available to the missionary as they would to any other ministry of the church. Our goal is that the Senior Pastor, as well as other church leaders and workers, will visit the missionary on the field regularly to encourage, evaluate, and edify him.
Throughout the Pauline Epistles, Paul mentions both those who visited him in ministry and those that he sent to visit the churches he started (Philippians 2:25, 4:18;
I Corinthians 16:17-18; Titus 3:12-13; Philemon 22; Ephesians 6:20-22; II Timothy 4:12; Colossians 4:8-9; Philippians 2:19-24).
C. Third, we will provide regular financial support. We will provide regular financial support to all missionaries sent out by MCBC. Because the missionary depends on the support of our church, it is the responsibility of our church to insure that there is sufficient support to accomplish the work. Our goal is to provide 100 percent of the required support or to make arrangements for the remainder of the required support through partnering with other local churches.
Support level of missionaries shall be determined from a set of criteria based on relationship with MCBC, type of ministry, geographic location of ministry, and targeted people group.
1. Support level for our missionaries shall be reviewed annually in preparation for the next fiscal year budget. Changes in support level shall be based on:
a. Missionary’s response to our annual evaluation
b. Conformance with agreed-upon ministry and area of service
c. Availability of funds based on the missions budget
d. Pre-established financial goals, but also the reality of the ministry’s situation
2. Consortium support
A consortium candidate shall be accepted and supported in accordance with agreements defined by the participating agencies.
3. When support begins
Support shall begin when the missionary leaves for the field, or at a time determined by the Missions Board.
4. When support changes
Any consideration of change in assignment or affiliation should be immediately communicated to the Missions Board Chairman. Such change in assignment or affiliation shall require reevaluation for support. The current support level shall continue for a period of three months during which the Board shall communicate to the missionary the new support level which has been approved by the Board of Elders.
II. The Responsibility of the Missionary to the Church
Objective: We expect our missionaries to be accountable to the church.
A. He is expected to correspond with the church on a regular basis. This communication is necessary for the ongoing ministry of prayer for the missionary. The communication is designed to keep the church informed about the needs, blessings, and burdens of the missionary’s life and ministry.
B. He is expected to spend quality time with our church if possible (Acts 14:27-28). This allows for the church to see him up close and see that any personal, spiritual, or familial needs are addressed. It allows new families in the church to become acquainted with the missionary family, and it allows for the missionary family to be a functioning part of the body.
We recognize the need for a missionary to be given time for rest, education, etc. However, we feel that this period of time should be used with purpose and stewardship. Therefore, we have established the following guidelines:
1. Travel itineraries and meetings should be listed if known.
2. MCBC will seek to provide living accommodations during their visit. This may include room, board, and transportation.
3. Interview with the representatives of the Missions Department will be scheduled so as to provide an opportunity to “report” and evaluate results of the ministry and future plans.
C. He is expected to be faithful in his calling and to maintain a Godly testimony before the Lord. Because of the close ties and accountability between the missionary and the church (the missionary is an extended staff member), the sending church must be kept informed of all issues that could negatively affect the missionary/ sending church relationship and/or the mission project. Should a missionary become involved in some besetting sin that would render him unfit for service, the sending church would be responsible to implement disciplinary action. Spiritual restoration would be the goal of any such action with the understanding that if this does not come about, dismissal would be necessary. Such disciplinary action would be accomplished at the sending church or a place designated by it.
D. He is expected to submit himself to the church’s leadership. Since the missionary is an extended staff member of his sending church, he is expected to submit himself to the church’s leadership and work harmoniously under their direction. Should disagreements arise, both parties must seek to resolve them following Biblical principles. Should these parties fail to settle the disagreement, the missionary would be expected to resign.
E. He is expected to exercise careful discernment with ecumenical alliances when deciding whether to accept invitations or participate in services or programs of other churches and denominations, especially where there are doctrinal differences that can be divisive, i.e., Charismatic, Catholic, etc. Such identification can cause confusion not only within the local community, but also with members of MCBC. So as not to put support in jeopardy, MCBC Missions Board should be consulted in advance of acceptance especially if some questions exist.
Criteria for MCBC Missionary Support
The Missions Board must approve a missionary candidate before regular support can begin. Final decision on candidate approval shall be determined by the Missions Board and then the Board of Elders.
A. Criteria for MCBC Missionary
1. Meet the qualifications of church leaders as found in Acts 6:1-8, I Timothy 3, and Titus 1.
2. Be actively involved in the ministries as a member or regular attendee of MCBC for at least two years. The Missions Board may consider any missionary to be qualified if he/she has been an integral part of the fellowship of MCBC, demonstrating the ability to lead and minister. Active members of MCBC shall receive priority for financial support. However, non¬attendees may also be similarly considered for missions support.
3. Enter a ministry consistent with the purpose and philosophy of MCBC’s missions program.
4. Have a proven ministry and experience in making disciples for Christ.
5. Be interviewed in person by the Missions Board and/or the Elders.
6. Have displayed appropriate spiritual gifts and a call to ministry through service in the church for at least two years as attested to by the Elder Board.
7. Have a reputation for emotional, social, and spiritual maturity.
8. Have sufficient educational preparation, including Bible training and experience. Candidates may be required to obtain further training or, if deemed necessary by MCBC, complete an in-house training program.
9. Agree with MCBC’s Doctrinal Statement. He/she must sign a statement indicating agreement with our Doctrinal Statement. Any disagreement will be reviewed by the Missions Board and, if necessary, the Board of Elders.
10. Complete an Application for Support, provide a written testimony of conversion, and submit a plan for missionary service including financial need.
B. Criteria for Indigenous Missionary Supported by MCBC
1. Be accepted by an approved missionary, church, or agency
2. Complete an Application for Support, provide a written testimony of conversion, and submit a plan for missionary service including financial need
3. Give evidence of substantial ministry effectiveness either in his or her home field or other mission field
4. If possible, schedule time to visit with MCBC
5. Must be interviewed in person, or at least by phone, by two or three Missions Board members
6. Agree with our Doctrinal Statement. He/she must sign a statement indicating agreement with our Doctrinal Statement. Any disagreement will be reviewed by the Missions Board and, if necessary, the Board of Elders.
C. Procedure for Missionary Seeking MCBC Support
1. If interested in pursuing missions, first come and talk with our Missions Board Chairman. This will give him an opportunity to meet you, give counsel, and begin evaluationg
2. Before choosing an opportunity or mission agency, first check with the Missions Board to determine whether it is a ministry or organization which MCBC will support.
3. Make sure all necessary applications and forms are completed and approved by the Missions Board before making any commitments.
4. Throughout the process, keep the Missions Board Chairman informed of each step you take as you pursue any mission opportunity.
5. Understand that support will be descending on a timetable of plus or minus five years for independency unless otherwise stipulated.
D. Procedure for Missions Board Upon Examination of a Missionary
1. Present a recommendation to the Elders that the applicant be accepted. A proposal will accompany the recommendation.
2. If the applicant is rejected:
a. Recommend that no monetary commitment be made, but that the application be kept on an “active” file. In the event that additional funds become available, the applicant will again be considered.
b. Recommend that no monetary commitment be made, but that the applicant is “endorsed” as a MCBC missionary. It authorizes a letter of recommendation from the church recognizing that the missionary candidate has a bona fide ministry, but that it does not fit within the philosophical or monetary goals of the church. The candidate may raise support from contacts within the church by approval of the Missions Board.
The Board of Elders will give final approval or disapproval to all candidates after consideration of the Mission Board recommendation and any additional data the Board may seek. The Board’s action will be communicated through the Elder in charge of missions.
I. The Responsibility to Promote Missions
Objective: MCBC will keep missions visible before the church.
A. Missions will be kept visible through teaching and training. It is the responsibility of the leadership of the church to properly equip the believers in the church so that they will be able to do the work of ministering (Ephesians 4:11-12). Paul instructed that the things received are to be committed to faithful men (II Timothy 2:2). Instruction as to the purpose, mission, and philosophy of the church demands a visible missions ministry. The reason for giving this vision is so that the ministry can continue in the responsibility given by the Lord to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20)
B. Missions will be kept visible in the church through first-hand exposure. This can be accomplished several ways:
1. By missionaries returning from the field and being involved in our ministry. This exposes the church to what God has been doing on the mission field and exposes the people to the missionary as a functioning part of that body (Acts 14:27-28).
The church will involve the missionary as a staff member while he is home. He will be implemented into teaching, worshiping, and fellowshipping alongside the people. His family will be taken in as one of the families of the church. The church will benefit from his ministry and the future missions ministries of the church will benefit as others see missions as a natural ministry of the church.
2. By sending members of the body to the field to encourage and minister. Prior to being sent to the mission field, Saul and Barnabas were sent from Antioch to the churches in Judea with relief money. Churches that expose their people to missions through trips to the field where their missionaries are see more people within the church become sensitive to the call of God to become missionaries themselves.
It will be a goal of the church to expose as many people as possible to a field where we are working. Again, this only strengthens the church, the missionary, and the mission of the church.
3. Through the MCBC Missions Board exposing the church to ministry needs around the world.
The purpose of the Missions Department is to provide a practical vehicle for encouragement to and communication with the missionaries of MCBC and to promote Great Commission ministries to the church body.
A. Selection of Members for the Missions Department
The Missions Department is made of two entities, the Missions Board and the Missions Committee. Members of the Missions Department should have a healthy spiritual life and deep interest in and commitment to missions. They also need to be active and faithful in church, familiar with church missions policy, committed to the cause of world-wide missions, and willing to work diligently in a missions capacity or assignment.
1. Missions Board
The Missions Board shall consist of at least three members and shall be appointed by the Board of Elders to which it is responsible. At least one member of the Board shall be an Elder, who will be the Board Chairman. A Recording Secretary will be selected from within the Board. Minutes are to be sent by the Recording Secretary to the Missions Department members and the Church Board. The Senior Pastor shall be member ex officio. Due to the overseeing role of the Board, all members will be male.
The Missions Board Chairman is to exercise oversight of the entire missions involvement of the church and is to provide direction, training, and pastoral care for the Missions Department. He is to serve as liaison between the boards, staff, and committees of MCBC. He should grow in the field of missions through ongoing education. He may need to assist the Senior Pastor in representing Medora Missions in its relationships with churches, mission agencies, and national missions associations.
2. Missions Committee
The Missions Committee shall consist of at least three members plus a Director of the Committee. The Director of the Missions Committee shall be a Missions Board member and approved by the Elders.
Candidate members for the Missions Committee shall be identified by current members. These individuals shall be submitted to the Missions Board for approval. Following Board review, the Missions Chairman shall contact candidate members to determine their willingness to serve. In these interviews, the Chairman shall present job descriptions as suggested areas of service for the candidate.
A Recording Secretary will be selected from within the Committee. Minutes are to be sent to the Missions Board.
B. Function of the Missions Board
1. Missions Board Responsibilities
a. Develop, manage, and evaluate the missions program
b. Serve as a liaison between the church and missions organizations, agencies, associations, and missionaries
c. Interpret the church Doctrinal Statement and Missions Philosophy to missionaries, congregation, and agencies
d. Stimulate the intercessory prayer of the congregation for world evangelization and for our missionaries (I Timothy 2)
e. Educate the congregation concerning both the need for and opportunity for world missions
f. Help stimulate and recruit believers for missions service
2. Missions Board Priorities
a. Local Church Plants
Organize the details of training and sending a family/families from our church. It should be developed into a broader level of support than simply dollars. Our church gets behind the endeavor and we have a synchronized launch. Study and strategize! See Appendix A.
b. International Church Plants
International church plants will be with indigenous pastors who will be trained, financed, and overseen. We will be the mother church and the authority until they reach independence; then we will help them plant other churches.
c. Pastoral Seminary
Develop men from within our congregation.
d. Research & Policy Amendments
Initiate research to identify opportunities; investigate opportunities brought to our attention; and monitor changing political, sociological, economical and religious conditions throughout the world in order that we can be aware of, and responsive to, opportunities which the Lord provides.
e. Planning Future Endeavors
(1) Research, develop, and meet our Philosophy and Guidelines
(2) Prioritize and get clear objectives from Missions Philosophy and begin to move regularly in those directions by prayer, fasting, and faith
(3) Plan, conduct, select, and administer special projects
(4) MCBC will seek to establish church-planting bases in strategic regions of the world.12 It is our goal to find a need that our church can fill and then to take on the responsibility of meeting that need. MCBC will continue to function in a cooperative role with these bases as they establish other churches.
3. Missions Board Oversight
(a) Missions Finances
The general responsibilities of the Missions Finance Committee are:
1. To develop and manage the budget made possible through the offerings and special gifts.
2. To prepare the Missions Budget by October and update as necessary. The annual missions budget shall be proposed to the Board of Elders for approval. Final approval shall be provided by the congregation at the Annual Meeting. The size of the budget shall be determined by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the funds available.
3. Any solicitations of funds and/or fund-raising activities must be approved by the Missions Board.
4. All recommendations with monetary ramifications are forwarded to the Missions Board for their review and consideration and then on to the Elders.
Although a large majority of MCBC’s missionary funds will be used for the support of missionaries, support may also be given to special projects of our missionaries or of missions agencies.
(b) Missions Evaluations
Missionaries will be sent an annual evaluation form to determine if needs are being met and if the work is productive.
The Annual Review will:
1. Increase the effectiveness of our prayer and material support
2. Communicate the goals of the ministry
3. Evaluate the progress, ministries, priorities, and accomplishments through a documented review
The Board will also:
1. Meet with every incoming missionary to evaluate, inform, and encourage
2. If necessary, develop an action plan to conform to the Missions Philosophy and work with those missionaries over time to make the required transition
3. Evaluate applications for missionary support and recommend actions
4. Evaluate the agencies and churches which sponsor our missionaries
5. Make regular recommendations from an informed viewpoint to the Missions Board
(c) Missions Conferences
1. MCBC shall sponsor, plan, and conduct an annual Missions/Thanksgiving Conference on the first Sunday of November. The purpose of the Conference is to emphasize missions to the church body and to inform, update, and stimulate our church body toward greater involvement in missions through prayer, giving, and serving on the mission field. It is also a time for asking the people of the church to make a financial gift for a particular missions project.
2. We will also have a Missions Sunday usually on the first Sunday of March.
3. Other seminars, meetings, and conferences may be scheduled as deemed necessary.
C. Function of the Missions Committee
1. Missions Committee Responsibilities
a. Attend all meetings and any special meetings
b. Serve on a subcommittee either as a Chairperson or member
c. Serve as a Prayer Partner and correspondent for several MCBC missionaries
d. Educate self through agency banquets, mission trips, and reading
e. Promote, encourage, and communicate missions to the body
2. Missions Committee Priorities
Much of the groundwork of the Missions Committee will be done by subcommittees. Each subcommittee will usually be chaired by a member of the Missions Committee and should include members from the congregation. Members of the subcommittees shall be approved by the Missions Elder before offering them a position.
Subcommittees shall be established according to needs of the church and the needs of the Missions Board as outlined below or as designated by the Missions Committee in administering the responsibilities, such as:
(a) Missions Education
Involvement and Infection of Our People into Missions Work
MCBC shall promote education of the entire body in missions. This is to be done from the pulpit by all organizations in the church. This education shall identify our church missionaries, where they minister, strategy of our missions programs, and opportunities available for personal and corporate involvement in missions outreach.
It is important for representatives of the church to visit the missionary on the field. Encouragement shall be given to members of the Missions Department, Elders, and other interested people of MCBC to visit our missionaries. The goal of the trip would be to build the vision of the travelers and congregation, encourage and pastor the missionaries, and engender accountability with the missionaries.
The Missions Board may support leader and lay person(s) who are traveling on missions business. Although other factors may be taken into consideration when determining amounts, support shall generally be for 50% of expenses if the following parameters are met:
1. That specific reporting venues are established to report back to the congregation
2. They have been active at home and have prepared themselves
(b) Hosting Incoming Missionaries
Hospitality-arrangements shall be made as needed to provide housing, meals, transportation, and other needs while our missionaries are visiting the Medora area.
(c) Communication of Missions Information
1. Old business – not allowing any details to fall through the cracks
2. Missions Committee minutes are delivered to the Missions and Church Boards
3. Regularly submit information for bulletin boards, church announcements, Prayer List, and newsletter articles
4. Update current information on website biweekly
5. Sort mail – reply if necessary
(d) Prayer, Care, and Support
To ensure that our missionaries’ needs are met while on the field.
1. Investigate the prayer and material needs of our missionaries and make recommendations to the Missions Committee
2. If feasible, find ways of meeting those needs and of involving more of MCBC’s members in the process
3. Organize prayer support and keep the church informed of needs and results
4. Promote the spiritual, educational, emotional, and physical welfare of our missionaries
5. Systematically provide for timely and encouraging communication with our missionaries including correspondence, tapes, church publications, etc.
(e) Youth Missions Endeavors
To allow our youth to be involved in missionary activity in order to develop within them a burden to serve in missions.
A. Policy for Retirement
This is the responsibility of the missionaries in setting the support structure. Specific contributions by MCBC may be considered to help the missionary administer his personal retirement program. This arrangement shall be considered only for missionaries who are members of MCBC.
B. Policy for Raising Support
In connection with any missions activity within MCBC, all solicitations of funds and/or fund-raising activities must be approved by the Missions Finance Committee.
Missionaries who receive support from MCBC must agree to full disclosure of all sources of income. This policy of full disclosure will be used by the Missions Board to identify needs.
The missionary shall not make any direct financial appeals to attendees of MCBC unless approved by the Missions Board. This restriction does not apply to other outside established relationships, i.e., relatives.
C. Policy for Terminating Support for a Missionary
Support may be terminated if:
1. The affiliation of the missionary with his/her board or agency is severed.
2. A substantial moral or personal problem arises.
3. Adequate evaluation of the missionary’s ministry is not provided or recognized. Adequate evaluation will include an annual written report obtained by the Missions Evaluation Committee which enables the Missions Board to continually evaluate the work.
4. There is a determination by the Board of unsatisfactory performance after review of the missionary annual report.
5. The missionary chooses to relocate for personal reasons, or his/her assignment changes.
6. The missionary resigns or retires. If a missionary is incapacitated, the church will assist for one year.
7. There is a failure to abide by philosophy, guidelines, and requests of MCBC furnished within this document and the Missions Philosophy document.
8. Any change in the missionary’s doctrinal position which differs from the Doctrinal Statement of MCBC.
Termination will be subject to approval by the Elders upon recommendation by the Missions Board.
In the event mission support is to be terminated, MCBC will continue payments for up to three months. In the event termination is for misconduct or other violation, payments can be discontinued immediately.
D. Policy for Receiving Designated Gifts
All designated gifts are nonbinding suggestions.
MCBC prefers that any gifts to missions be designated to the general missions budget. However, funds will also be accepted for missionaries or missions projects we are currently supporting.
All other designated gifts must be approved by the Church Board prior to being deposited or disbursed; any gift not approved will be returned to the donor.
E. Policy for Special Expenses
Special expenses which further the cause of missions at MCBC shall be handled under the Missions Board. Such special expenses may include:
1. Honorarium for visiting missionary speakers
2. Expenses for attending missions classes, seminars, and conferences as authorized by the Mission Board
3. Expenses for travel to the mission field by the Missions Department or others involved in MCBC Missions as authorized by the Missions Board
4. Expenses for promotion, printing, and administration of a special nature
5. The Chairman of the Missions Board may authorize the expenditure ofup to $500 for emergency needs without prior approval of the Elders, but with subsequent review by the Elders
F. Policy for Funds Shortage
The Church Treasurer shall report to the Missions Finance Committee the status of the missions fund, including income, disbursements, and balance for the month. In the event of a shortage of missions funds, the Missions Board shall make the need known to the congregation. If the shortage continues, the Missions Board shall make recommendation to the Elder relative to its alleviation. Only as a last resort will reductions be made in personal support of missionaries. In such an event, deficiencies will be made up later if funds permit.
Medora Community Bible Church
Local Church-Planting Procedures
1. The MCBC Missions Board identifies an area where there is a need.
2. The MCBC Missions Board working with the Elder Board should identify the man God has called to be the church-planting pastor (Acts 3:2). This man should be examined according to the Biblical qualifications found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. He should also be in line with the Doctrinal Statement and Philosophy of MCBC.
3. The church-planting pastor is required to move into the community of the church plant.
4. MCBC will commission the church-planting pastor by the “laying on of hands” of the Elders and place him on the pastoral staff (I Timothy 5:22). As a staff member, the church-planting pastor will be responsible for shepherding the church plant under the leadership of the senior pastor, during which time he will be trained by and be held accountable to the Senior Pastor.
5. The MCBC Elder Board will be the Board of the church plant and will assign a treasurer.
6. The MCBC Missions Board should assist the church-planting pastor in developing a strategy for items such as naming the church, taking ownership of or renting a building, and improving and maintaining the building. The church-planting pastor should consult the MCBC Missions Board and Elder Board as he drafts corporation papers, constitution, doctrinal statement, and bylaws of the new church.
7. When planting a church in an area near MCBC, some of our church people will be encouraged to become members of the church plant or agree to attend the church plant for a year. Though this may leave temporary voids in the ministry at MCBC, it affords other people at MCBC, as well as those going to the church plant, opportunities to serve in the church (Ephesians 4:12).
8. It is our goal to completely support the financial needs of the church planter. In order to accomplish this goal, we intend to support the church-planting pastor by sending him out as a paid, full-time pastoral staff member of MCBC. If this is not possible, the church-planting pastor can raise missionary support from other churches of like faith that are in agreement with our Missions Philosophy, or he may seek secular employment. We feel it is best if the church-planting pastor has full support so that he can devote his time to the ministry. Every six months, the MCBC Missions Board will review the finances of church-planting pastor with a plan to taper off his support as the new church is able to support him. The church-planting pastor should have a similar agreement with any outside supporters, allowing them to cut their support.
9. It is our goal to help the church plant be self-supporting as soon as possible. The church plant’s offerings will be used to take care of the needs of the church first, then to pay the pastor’s salary. A bank account should be set up at an area bank and a monthly report of receipts and expenses must be turned into the financial secretary of MCBC. Until the church plant becomes incorporated and obtains legal tax exempt status, all financial records will be maintained by MCBC. The title to any property will be held by MCBC until the church plant is chartered or the missionary pastor is fully supported. It may be necessary to have an attorney help with legal transitions; contact Christian Law Association with any questions.
10. When the time has come for the church plant to become an independent church, the church-planting pastor will work with the MCBC Missions Board to charter the church. Chartering the church consists of developing a membership role, calling a pastor, developing a leadership team, drafting a constitution and a covenant, and accepting a doctrinal statement. All members joining the church in the first twelve months are eligible to become charter members.
Short-Term Missions Projects
Periodically, the Missions Board will sponsor short-term missions projects for missionary candidates and/or other members of the congregation for the purpose of expanding the missions philosophy and providing practical missions experience.
Our members, young and old, are encouraged to consider short-term projects. These projects are opportunities for a person to further develop interest in full-time missions service. Disbursement of support shall be at the discretion of the Missions Board within the approved budget’s limits. Each project will be recorded in a file for future review and information.
Short-term missionary candidates will be governed by the following:
1. Short-term candidates must be in regular attendance and be faithfully involved in the work at MCBC.
2. Short-term candidates must demonstrate a sincere interest in world missions.
3. Short-term candidates may be required to obtain further training deemed necessary by MCBC, unless waived by the Missions Board.
4. Short-term candidates’ proposed areas of service must be approved by MCBC.
5. Short-term candidates must complete an Application for Support, provide a written testimony of conversion, and submit a plan for missionary service including financial need.
6. Short-term candidates must agree with our Doctrinal Statement. Minor differences will be reviewed by Missions Board.
7. Short-term candidates should have a reputation for emotional, social, and spiritual maturity.
Final decision regarding the project, finances, and any additional personnel must be determined and approved by the Missions Board and then agreed to by the Elders.
Following every MCBC-sponsored missions trip, an entire service may be dedicated to communicating what was seen, heard, and experienced, thus keeping missions visible to the congregation.
Ideas for Missions Giving and Support
What Does the Bible Say?
1. God loves the world and wants every person to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
2. God uses people-His Church-to be His channels, His ambassadors,His instruments to accomplish the spreading of the Gospel (II Corinthians 5:20).
3. God’s people are intended to always walk by faith, trusting God for everything. Through living a life of obedient faith, we fulfill God’s purposes in the world (Hebrews 11:6).
We are God’s people who have come to Him in faith. He has given us a mandate-world evangelism. He has a method-His children giving and going. He has a resource-our simple obedient faith which makes us willing to give even when it requires sacrifice. But our faith is no match for His faithfulness because we are promised that God will provide all our needs (Philippians 4:19).
The Macedonian Christians exemplify a beautiful pattern for giving in II Corinthians 8 and 9. Note these points:
1. They demonstrated rich generosity, even though they were in extreme poverty (8:2).
2. They gave joyfully (8:2).
3. They gave what they were able, beyond their ability, and begged for the privilege (8:3-4).
4. They first gave themselves to the Lord (which then made giving money easy) (8:5).
Yes, giving to missions is Biblical. And faith is required. It’s an exciting part of the Christian walk-trusting God to meet our needs as we give generously to meet the needs of others.
How Does God Provide?
God has always used a variety of ways to supply us with money for missions. Perhaps there are some you haven’t tried. God provides in these ways:
1. Through our abundance. Psalm 67:7 says, “God will bless, and all the earth will fear Him.” There’s a reason behind God’s blessing: we are blessed to be a blessing to others. God’s intention is for us to be channels of His blessing and supply to others. There’s no doubt that we are a blessed people-the richest on earth today. We cannot selfishly keep God’s blessings for ourselves. Out of our abundance we must give generously for missions.
Some have said they will give as soon as their “ship comes in.” For most of us in blessed America, our ship has already come in. It’s sitting at the dock waiting to be unloaded! Let’s use what God has already given to see this work done around the world.
2. Through our sacrifice. If the Macedonians could give beyond their ability, so can we. They were living in poverty at the time, but they were still willing to give.
What would you or I be willing to do without so that the Gospel could go forth? Sacrifice is not popular today, but it’s Biblical. Make some hard choices, and do without something you probably don’t really need anyway. That kind of giving produced overflowing joy in the Macedonians.
3. Through good management. Who among us could not revise our budgets to make more money available for missions? We often waste money and spend unwisely what we have. Careful attention to management could produce many dollars for missions. Perhaps there are luxuries in our budgets we can do without.
4. Through our creativity. Many of us could think of some ways to make
extra money and give it to missions. Missions money can come from selling something of value (how about a rummage sale for missions?), writing for publications, taking temporary or part-time work, or selling craft items at Christmas. There’s more money available for missions than what we presently can see. Be creative!
5. Through unexpected income. God sometimes passes an extra blessing on to us-money totally unexpected. It may be a bonus, an inheritance, repayment of an old debt, a refund, or a gift. God delights in giving gifts to His children so they can bless others.
6. Through our faith. We need to stretch our faith and give more than we think we can. As we look to God to supply all our needs, we are freed to give faithfully and generously.
All of these ways by which God provides require faith. It takes faith to give of your abundance when you give up the security of having something in your possession. It takes faith to sacrifice and refigure our budget, because we have to believe God will meet our needs on less money. It takes faith to be creative and find sources of funds we don’t now see. And it takes faith to believe God will produce something from nothing-and provide for world missions through us. God has used sacrificial giving to do His work throughout the world. And He continues to see millions of dollars produced through this wonderful concept. Let’s be sure we don’t limit Him by our misunderstanding of Biblical giving.
1. The church was formed on the day of Pentecost. On this day the Holy Spirit baptized 120 believers into the Body of Christ (Acts 2:1-4).
2. Because of the teaching, fellowship, worship, and prayer life of the early believers, (Acts 2:42-47) the Lord added to the church daily. By the time Peter and John were put into prison, there were already 5,000 men who were believers (Acts 4:4). Following the death of Ananias and Saphira there were multitudes of men and women believers (Acts 5:14). After the appointment of deacons, the prayer ministry and preaching ministry of the Apostles were able to broaden. Here again, the numbers multiplied within the church (Acts 6:1-7).
3. By the time Saul was saved in Acts 9, there were already churches functioning throughout Galilee, Judea, and Samaria (Acts 9:31).
4. Mission identifies what the church is to be about. When looking to develop a missions philosophy, it is imperative that the missions ministry of the church falls under the umbrella of the larger mission of the church. In practice, some churches have chosen to leave “missions” as a ministry divorced from the actual functioning ministries of the church. This cannot be when the mission is understood.
5. Reproduction is simply the duplication of the product that exists. In the case of missions, the desire is to see Christians reproduced, with the goal of a Christ-focused, Bible-centered, New Testament church reproduced.
6. Barnabas and Saul were among five listed as prophets and teachers in the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). It is significant to note that while all (five) are listed as being spiritually gifted men who were ministering in the Church, God only called some (two) into a specific church-planting ministry.
7. John Phillips, Exploring Acts (Neptune: Loizeaux Brothers, 1986), 243.
8. One wonders if they were following the instruction given by our Lord to “pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
9. John Stott, The Spirit, The Church and the World (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1990), 218.
10. Phillips, Exploring Acts, 248.
11. In the Word of God, Christians are called witnesses (Acts 1:8), ambassadors (II Corinthians 5:20), epistles read of all men (II Corinthians 3:2), and light and salt (Matthew 5:13-16).
12. Medora is viewed as our home base. As the need arises, MCBC can establish church-planting bases in other locations, both here and around the world.