THE MISSIONS TEAM
The Missions Team exists to glorify God (Ephesians 3:21) by mobilizing and involving the members of Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro Baptist Church (hereafter referred to as Shepherd’s Fellowship) in making disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20) through sending and supporting missionaries.
The Missions Team shall be directly accountable and responsible to the Elders of Shepherd’s Fellowship in accordance with Section 3, paragraph 3 of the Ruling Principles.
A. The Missions Team shall be responsible to establish and maintain a written policy concerning the missions program of the church. The policy shall be approved by the Elders.
B. The Missions Team shall provide a proposed missions budget for the coming year by the date requested by the Budget Team.
C. The Missions Team shall be responsible for the allocation of missions funds.
D. The Missions Team shall strive to stimulate within the congregation intercessory prayer for world evangelism, for our missionaries, and other missions-related causes.
E. The Missions Team shall strive to instruct and educate the congregation in the biblical mandate for missions through bible studies, missions conferences, and other appropriate means.
F. The Missions Team shall strive to involve the congregation in missions through short term missions trips and other appropriate means.
H. The Missions Team shall be responsible to annually reevaluate support to missionaries currently receiving support. If at that time, or any other time during the year, the Missions Team deems that a missionary should no longer be supported by Shepherd’s Fellowship, that recommendation should be made to the Elders for approval or disapproval.
I. The Missions Team shall minister appropriately to missionaries who are on home assignment.
H. The Missions Team shall involve members of the congregation, as needed, to assist in
accomplishing its purpose.
IV. Members of the Missions Team
A. Mandatory Members
The Pastor-Teacher of Shepherd’s Fellowship is a mandatory member of the Missions Team in accordance with Section 6, paragraph 2 of the Ruling Principles.
B. Selection of and Service on the Missions Team
1. Members of the Missions Team must be members of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
2. The members of the Missions Team will be selected and approved annually.
3. The members of the Missions Team agree to serve for the calendar year.
4. The Missions Team shall be responsible to recommend members to the Board of Elders for the next calendar year by November 1. All recommendations must be approved by the Elders (Ruling Principles, Section 3, paragraph 14).
5. The Missions Team shall have as many members as deemed necessary to fulfill its responsibility. At the discretion of the Missions Team upon approval by the Elders, additional persons may be selected to serve at any time during the year.
6. A person may serve for an indefinite period of time but must be recommended and approved annually.
7. At least one Elder must be a member of the Missions Team.
C. Missions Team Leader
1. The Missions Team Leader shall be recommended annually by the existing Missions Team to be approved by the Elders.
2. The Missions Team Leader shall be responsible to call meetings and oversee the ministry of the Missions Team.
3. The Missions Team Leader shall be directly responsible to the Elders.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
I. Evangelism and Missions
A. Evangelism: Evangelism refers to the proclamation of the gospel regardless of the geographic location. All believers are to be involved in proclaiming the gospel in whatever sphere God has placed them.
B. Home Missions: Home Missions refers to cross-cultural evangelism and ministry within the person’s native country. It may involve becoming acquainted with another language and culture but not leaving to go to another country. [Examples are refugee work or ministry to International students - both of which can be extremely strategic as far as World Evangelisation is concerned.]
C. International Missions: International Missions refers to the crossing of significant cultural barriers into another country’s society in order to live among another people. It usually necessitates learning another language and learning new customs for everyday life.
Note: There is a great need for ministries that support evangelism and missions. Support ministries may include such activities as administration, medical work, aviation, and other services. These ministries are a vital part of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and will be considered for support as defined below in the missions policy.
II. Vocational Status
Each missionary will be put into one of three categories: Career Missionaries, Short Term Missionaries or Project Workers.
A. Career Missionary - This is designated for anyone applying for career missionary
status, which will be defined as 4 or more years of intended service on the field.
B. Short Term Missionary - This is designated for anyone applying for a term of 3
months up to 4 years. Individuals/Families who pursue short term missionary status
should do so in prayerful consideration of moving to career status.
C. Project Worker - This is designated for anyone applying for a project that is up to
three months in length. Shepherd’s Fellowship encourages every member of the body to participate in such a project and sees this as foundational to the missions program.
CAREER MISSIONS POLICY
I. Priorities in Career Missions
The most measurable goal Scripture gives us for accomplishing the Great Commission is that of discipling "peoples." We are commanded to disciple all the peoples of the world (Matthew 28:18). We are promised that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). It has been revealed to us in the Bible that when all is said and done there will be men and women worshipping the Lamb from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (Revelation 7:9) because Christ has purchased for God with his blood individuals from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).
Therefore, although we must wholeheartedly continue to multiply churches within people groups where an evangelizing church has already been planted, we must also be vitally concerned about planting churches where Christ has not yet even been named (Romans 15:20). Since we are specifically told that the Great Commission will only be fulfilled when some from every people are won to Christ, therefore a special focus on penetrating unreached people groups is warranted.
II. Types of Missionary Outreach
A. Church planting: Refers to the establishing of local, indigenous churches characterized by true worship of God, effective biblical nurture of believers, and evangelization of unbelievers, to the end that these churches will reproduce themselves.
Church planting efforts will require an initial evangelistic strategy and a strong, ongoing gospel witness and teaching ministry for the effective building up of a body of believers. The goal should be the establishing or building up new local churches.
B. Strengthening existing churches: This refers to the equipping and building up existing local, indigenous churches so that they are able to evangelize and reproduce churches among their own people in an effective way. Efforts to strengthen local churches may include such activities as training national leadership and partnering with Christian nationals in outreach ministries.
C. Support ministries: This refers to providing support services to aid those engaged in church planting and equipping ministries that are tied to the operations and accountability of a local church. Support ministries may include such activities as administration, medical work, aviation, and other services.
Note: These categories are not meant to convey inferiority or superiority among types of missionary work. At the same time, we will seek to plan and create missions policies and strategies so as to focus on areas of missionary activity which seem to be critical from the perspective of world missions at this time in history. For this reason we will increasingly seek to devote the majority of supported missionary activity to the planting and equipping of churches in both "unreached" and critically needy areas.
III. Qualifications of Career Missionaries
A. A clear profession of faith in Christ alone with evidence of God's saving work, spiritual maturity, continued growth in holiness, and the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
B. A member of Shepherd’s Fellowship and actively involved in ministry for a minimum of one year.
C. Meets the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:5-9.
D. Adequate education and training to carry out the proposed ministry. This may potentially include extensive elder-led Bible training and other necessary theological preparation and training. Other necessary education may include cross-cultural preparation and whatever professional training that may be required (i.e., aviation, nursing, construction, etc.).
E. Background of proven ministry experience (including active involvement in evangelism and discipleship and ideally to include an overseas short-term experience and/or cross-cultural experience in the U.S.).
F. Desires to maintain a strong relationship with Shepherd’s Fellowship members and leadership including regular communication; seeks accountability with Shepherd’s Fellowship; abides by any guidelines for correspondence and periodic review of ministry; willing to pursue equipping opportunities as Shepherd’s Fellowship or the chosen mission agency would require.
G. Pursuing or already accepted by a mission agency approved by Shepherd’s Fellowship.
H. Must be debt free or able to become debt free before departing for the field.
Note: Shepherd’s Fellowship may consider support of missionaries who are currently active members in good standing of another like-minded church, who have been active members there for a minimum of the past two years, and who meet these qualifications with the exception of #B [membership]. However, we will give support priority to those who are presently members of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
IV. Process of Evaluating and Approving Career Missionaries
Each step of this process must occur. However, for the purpose of effectively evaluation, the Missions Team may add necessary steps and procedures. At any point in the process Shepherd’s Fellowship or the candidate(s) may terminate the process.
A. The candidate(s) seeking support must make a written request to be considered for support.
B. The candidate(s) will recieve a “Missionary Candidate Packet” which will include pertinent documents and requesting the candidate(s) to do the following:
1. Read, be familiar with, and note any questions concerning the Shepherd’s Fellowship Missions
2. Familiarize yourself with Shepherd’s Fellowship by reading the following:
a. “Why Shepherd’s Fellowship Exists”
b. Shepherd’s Fellowship “Commitments.”
c. The Five “Solas”
3. Read, be familiar with, and
note any questions concerning:
a. The 1644/46 London Confession of Faith.
b. The Shepherd’s Fellowship Detailed Statement of Faith.
c. “What We Believe About the
Five Points of Calvinism”
d. The Shepherd’s Fellowship “Ruling Principles.”
4. Fill out the Shepherd’s Fellowship Missionary Application.
5. Answer the Shepherd’s Fellowship Questions for Missions Candidates.
6. Return the Shepherd’s Fellowship Missionary Application and Questions for Missions
Candidates to the Missions
C. The Shepherd’s Fellowship Missions Team will contact references of the candidate.
D. The Shepherd’s Fellowship Missions Team will contact an appropriate person from the missions agency in order to research its ministry, doctrinal statement(s), and other appropriate documents to determine its like-mindedness with Shepherd’s Fellowship’s doctrinal position and purpose.
E. If the candidate(s) is (are) a member of another local church, the Shepherd’s Fellowship Missions Team will contact the Pastor-Teacher (and/or any other appropriate person) from the church in order to research its ministry, doctrinal statement, and other appropriate documents to determine that church’s like-mindedness with Shepherd’s Fellowship’s doctrinal position and purpose.
F. The candidate(s) will have a personal interview with the Shepherd’s Fellowship Missions Team.
G. The candidate(s) will attend a congregational meeting and share with the congregation concerning ministry plans with an opportunity for members of the congregation to ask questions of the candidate(s).
H. After the above meeting, the Missions Team will request input from the congregation concerning the candidate(s) allowing an appropriate amount of time for the congregation to respond.
I. If approved by the Missions Team, the candidate(s) will be recommended to the Elders along with a recommended amount of financial support.
J. The Elders will approve or disapprove the recommendation.
V. Support of Career Missionaries
A. Types of Support
After If it is determined that Shepherd’s Fellowship desires to support the missionary, that support could be in one of the following ways.
1. Regular Prayer Support - A commitment to regularly pray as a church
for the missionary and his ministry.
2. One-time Financial Gift
3. Regular Prayer Support and a One-time Financial Gift
4. Full Support (prayer and ongoing monthly financial support)
B. Reevaluation and Termination of Support
It is the Mission Team’s responsibility to check annually with the missionaries and missions agencies to see if our missionaries are adequately supported. Increase in support will be determined by the need of the missionary and our ability to meet the need, considering the total missions budget at Shepherd’s Fellowship. A standardized questionnaire will also be sent to each missionary or couple. Increases in support, when given, are determined when the annual budget is prepared. In addition, reevaluation (and possible termination upon approval of the Elders) of continued support will be done by review of the Missions Team at the time of any of the following incidents in a missionary's life:
1. Change of doctrine and/or philosophy of ministry not consistent with
that of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
2. Change in the nature or location of ministry.
3. Change of missions agency/organization.
5. An extended furlough.
6. Problems which interfere with the missionary's ability to perform normal missionary responsibilities (i.e: medical, familial issues, etc.).