Friday, July 27, 2012

How to get to know a missionary

     I am currently lining up meetings for an effective deputation ministry.  Part of this process involves answering important questions which churches feel are vital in accessing a prospective missionary's philosophy.
     At the outset, I commend churches that attempt to filter prospective missionaries.  Perhaps the best way to do that is by being familiar with a couple of things: Their sending church and their supporting churches. 
     We see the sending church principle in Acts 13:3.  Barnabas and Saul received favor from the church at Antioch.  It was through that church that they were set apart to do missionary work.  Naturally, a church will want to reproduce itself.  In fact at the most basic level each disciple is to reproduce himself (according to Matt. 28:20 - "teaching them to observe all things...") with the end goal of Christ-likeness ("...whatsoever I have commanded you.").  A disciple isn't a good one if he isn't discipling others.  Churches ought to be concerned about a missionary's sending church because a missionary will represent and reproduce one's sending church.
     As to supporting churches, we find in the N.T. a bit more of a sporadic nature (ex. Phil. 4:10-19, Rom. 15:22-33) in comparison to modern missions, however the Bible principles of giving with its broader applications including tithes, offerings, gifts, and alms certainly includes missions.  A regular supporting church deserves among many things regular communication from their missionary.  Also, there is strength in churches cooperating in missions work (ex. 1 Cor. 16:3,4; 2 Cor. 8:19).
     Together the sending church and supporting churches working together is the N.T. pattern for doing missionary work and we can see in the Bible that a missionary is known by his sending church and supporting churches.

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