Sunday, January 20, 2008

Why I like our deputation system

The following is a post I made on another forum (jackhammer), concerning the deputation side of missions. I have edited the post so it flows here.

When I was preparing for deputation, I was not at all for it. I felt this way even before the Lord called me to the mission field. However, shortly after deputation began, my mind was changed. I am all for deputation now, and I do believe it is much more scriptural that the cooperative program the SBC uses. Even though I can not stand the calling part, the calling part does have some benefits. It is very humbling. My family and I truly enjoyed deputation.

Let me give some reasons why I am for our current system, and what changes I would like to see.

Why I like the current system.
1) I believe it is scriptural. I do believe the Apostle Paul was supported by several churches, from his sending church in Antioch, to his most faithful supporting church in Philippi. (Acts 13:3, II Cor 8,9, Philippians 4:17) (The apostle Paul might not have had monthly support, but the local churches were the source of support for the Apostle Paul. He also used his tent making as well.)

2) The missionary gains much needed PRAYER support by virtue of all the people he is meeting. I can not tell you how often I received an email or letter from a church member from a supporting church letting me they have been praying for me and my family. Many times I would receive their correspondence during very difficult times and it really helped. How many times did the Apostle Paul say, “Brethren pray for us”?

3) Helps keep missions on the mind in the local churches. I believe the Lord can use the missionary to help assist the local churches in stirring their people about the importance of missions. Many companions of the Apostle Paul were from a variety of churches not just Antioch, and were stirred when they met the Apostle Paul and thus traveled with him. Consider Silas, (Acts 15:40) I believe Silas’s home church was Jerusalem.

4) The missionary’s eggs are not all in one basket. If only one church was supporting and they have trouble, it is very likely the missionary will be off the field for at least for at least one year.

5) It allows for churches to accomplish the great commission and gives fruit to their account. (Philippians 4:14-18)

6) The local church being able to give unto missions is well pleasing unto God. (Phil 4:18) Keep in mind the church at Philippi was not the Apostle Paul’s sending church, Antioch was.

What I would like to see changed or more common. (These are just ideas I believe would assist in the deputation stage of the missionary's life.)

1) I would like to see sending churches try to support for 1/6 to 1/5 of the total support needed. This would help greatly in the beginning stages, and cut down on the length of time of deputation. Of course, this would only be if the Lord enabled the sending church and it did not put them in a financial strain. (Many sending churches could not do this. I speak only of churches that are in a position to do something like this.)

2) I would like to see an average of $100 monthly and $70 at the very least. I still have several churches that support for $25 a month. Could you imagine if all churches supported for $25 of month! Deputation would take seven years! (I appreciate all of my supporting churches regardless of how much they support.) If churches took on fewer missionaries at greater amounts, it would cut down on deputation time.

3) I would like for all church secretaries to resign immediately. (Just kidding.)

4) If a pastor had a missionary in and the church really liked him and was behind what the Lord called him to, for the pastor to call other pastor friends and recommend him. This would assist the missionary getting meetings. The pastor getting the call would be less nervous about having a missionary in, if a fellow pastor recommended him.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Goal of Missions

I thought i would post some comments I made about missions from Jackhammer. The topic this month is missions and the discussion was over the goal of missions.

As a missionary, my goal is to obey the Great Commission in reagrds to the work the Lord has called me to do. I am to follow Matthew 28:19.20, Mark 16:15, Acts 1:8 etc… (These verses, and other similar verses, are the Biblical authority behind missions.) I am therefore to preach the gospel and disciple those who trust Christ. As a result a church will be established. This is God’s design. Church planting is the ultimate goal.
Here is the Biblical pattern for Biblical mission work as I follow it in PNG:I am to go into new villages preaching the gospel. If there are converts as a result of the preaching, my next step is discipling, with the end goal a self supporting local church. If a local church is established, I have accomplished my goal for that village. A goal that I believe is Biblically mandated by verses like Matthew 28:19, 20. (The only way to fully accomplish Matthew 28:19 20 is by establishing a local church. These verses are the directive for missions.) Granted, I can not accomplish it backwards. I do not start teaching Bible doctrine to lost people. This is absurd. It has to start with the gospel followed by conversion.

Bro Kent made a very true statement today, “We’ve made “church building” so complex.” The fact is church planting on our end follows a simple pattern, and yet when I read books on the subject they usually have one chapter on Bible methodology and then dive into 14 other chapters of man made efforts. By the time your finished reading you have list of 98 things you need to do to plant/build a church.
We need to be Biblically driven instead of numbers driven in our efforts to accomplish the great commission. Please do not think that I do not desire to see multitudes saved. I truly dream and day dream of entire villages coming to the Lord with only one true church in the village. However, we must stay focused on how the Lord has directed us and leave the results to him. I will not be judged based on numbers, but on my obedience to the Lord. Let’s remember, many of the churches in the New Testament were house churches. We have come to the place in America, that unless you meet certain worldly requirements such has a separate church building, pews, choir loft, baptistery etc… you do not have a “real” church.
Now, I am a realist. I understand it will be difficult to build a church in the American culture with a house church. However, as I already stated, we need to leave the results to God. Jesus said, “I will build my church.” He did not say “he would build your church”, nor did he say “you will build my church.” God knows how for provide for his work. We simply need to follow the Lord and trust him to provide. Matthew 6:33 is very true! I would whether have a house church with true converts who love the Lord, then a church of 500 who are sheep in wolves clothing or carnal. (My point is not that big churches are wrong. A church that does not follow God’s design is wrong regardless of size. A church that does follow God’s design is right regardless of size.)