Very few independent Baptist churches have a written missionary policy. Most of our churches have a burden for missions. However, only a few have taken the time and effort to put their mission purpose and policy in writing.
There are several advantages of having a written policy. In my many years of working with a missions organization, I was asked repeatedly about certain issues in missions such as the following: what can I expect from our missionaries? should we support fewer missionaries for larger amounts or more missionaries for a smaller amount? what do we do about missionaries who have spent many years on the field and are not able to stay on the field? what do we do with missionaries who change fields? These are just a few of the many questions that I have tried to answer for missions conscious pastors.
If we have a written missions policy, we do not have to make an emotional decision or a decision based on personalities to determine what we will do or what we will not do in any of these specific situations.
I have always emphasized that it is not our responsibility as a mission organization to set policies for local churches. Each local church should decide what they believe God would have them do. While we may not find specific answers in the New Testament for each of our present challenges, there are principles that can help us greatly in the most important ministry.
Since many of these questions continue to be asked, and since God has allowed me be a part of so many great churches, allow me make some suggestions concerning a written missions policy. The following is an outline of a sample missions policy:
I. What Is Missions?
There is a great difference between the words mission and missions. The mission of the church includes its entire scope of activities. It includes the upward aspect or what we classify as worship. It includes the inward aspect which is building up the believers, also called edification. The outward aspect of the church’s mission is the evangelization of the lost.
The word missions is a specialized word and indicates the ministry of the church beyond its borders.
A missions statement may or may not be desired. A typical statement could be something like this:
“Believing that the great commission was given to the Apostles as representatives of believers of all ages and therefore believing that it is the duty of every local church to evangelize the world, we commit our self to the task of encouraging each member of the church to be totally involved in praying for, giving to, and being willing to go to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
II. Missionary Personnel
1. Must be recommended and supported by his or her sending church.
2. Must be approved by and affiliated with a reputable mission organization.
3. Male missionaries must meet the qualifications for a pastor as stated in 1Timothy 3.
4. Must be in agreement with the doctrine and philosophy of our church.
1. To maintain regular communication with the church
a. Letter or other correspondence at least every other month
b. Report to church while on furlough
c. Keep the church informed as to any change in ministry such as changing fields etc.
2. To be faithful to perform the ministry as was stated to the church when seeking support
III. Missionary Support
A. Method of choosing missionaries for support
B. To start the month the missionary is approved by the church.
C. To end when the missionary ceases to be an active missionary or in some way becomes disqualified as a missionary of our church
1. For missionaries for whom we are the sending church
a. First year on deputation: $1,000 per month
b. After first year: $500 per month
2. For other missionaries: $150 per month
3. For retired missionaries (minimum of 30 years of service)
a. Continued full support for those who remain active in missionary service
b. For those who are not actively involved in missions, the support will be decreased fifty percent.
E. Projects and Organizations
1. Bible colleges
2. Mission organizations
3. Church planters in the U.S.A.
6. Children’s homes
F. Since we believe that Biblical missions is evangelism, edification of believers, and the establishing of indigenous Baptist churches, a minimum of fifty percent of the missions budget will be used to support church planting missionaries.
IV. Missions Conference
A. To be conducted annually
1. A minimum of five missionary families
2. A conference speaker or speakers
3. Special musicians
4. Representatives from Bible colleges
5. Representatives from missions organizations
1. Preaching nightly
2. Missionary presentations
3. Ladies tea or luncheon
4. Youth activity with missionaries
5. Men’s prayer breakfast
D. Offerings and expenses for the conference
1. Offerings received at mid-week service for 5 weeks prior to conference
2. Budget $300 each month for conference from missions budget
3. Each missionary to receive love offering and expense check
4. Speakers and other guests to receive love offering and expense check
E. Meeting of church leaders immediately after the conference to evaluate the effectiveness of the conference and to consider changes in the conference that need to be made
V. Church Missionary Personnel
B. Missions committee
1. Made up of five couples
a. One couple for each age group in the church
b. Each couple to serve for three years
c. Committee to meet monthly
a. Consider needs of missionaries
b. Consider the progress of each missionary
c. Pray for laborers and for missionaries on the fields
d. Encourage involvement of members with missionaries
VI. Relation with Missions Organizations
A. Must be compatible with church in doctrine and philosophy
B. Must show proof of financial accountability and integrity
C. Must recognize and honor the authority of the local church
D. Must communicate with church concerning missionaries and missionary issues
E. Missions organizations must recognize that they are service organizations that have only designated authority. (Designated by the local church.)
This is only a sample written policy. The actual policy of your church would vary depending on your convictions and your policies.