Although there a number of ways for a follower of Jesus to determine what really matters to the leaders of a local church, one of the simplest methods for discovering what a church values is to find out which ministries operate in accordance with a specific written policy.
When the leaders of a local church are convinced that God has called their congregation to focus on a specific area of ministry that they believe will bring Him glory, benefit their own members, and represent Him rightly to those who don’t Him, they take the time necessary to establish a written policy for the success of that ministry.
In a similar way, when the leaders of a local church have come to understand that the God of the bible is the Missionary God, what His end-game is, and that His desire is for them to participate in His global purposes, they will initiate the steps necessary to create a written missions policy.
WHAT A WRITTEN MISSIONS POLICY IS
Put as simply as possible, a written missions policy is document that describes the end-game goal of the global-missions ministry of a local church, the principles that shape how that goal will be accomplished, and the guidelines that are to be followed by those who desire to be the means by which the goal will be obtained.
WHAT A WRITTEN MISSIONS POLICY DECLARES
1–That the leaders of the church take participation in God’s global purposes and His end-game plan very seriously.
2–That they expect and trust that God will call some of their church members to go and make disciples from among all ethnic groups, especially in locations outside of the U.S.
3–That they love their members too much to permit them to try to go out as a missionary without a clear confirmation of their calling and a well-defined path of pre-field preparation.
4–That they desire as many members of the church as possible to be involved, and therefore have constructed a journey for a pre-field missionary to follow that is observable to the whole church and that has built-in opportunities for church members to participate in the life and ministry of their missionaries as senders and care-providers.
WHAT A WRITTEN MISSIONS POLICY ACCOMPLISHES
1–For local church leaders–either by being a part of the creation of the policy, or by providing feedback to those who are writing the policy, they will experience a season of intentional thought about God, His end-game plans, and the role He has assigned to their local church and its members, that is incredibly informative, inspiring, and faith-building.
2–For local church leaders–the policy also provides a crucial tool for evaluating those who believe God may be calling them to be missionaries–the policy itself can be helpful for slowing down or screening out those who believe they are called, but who may be mistaken, at least at that point in time.
3–For all the members of the local church–the policy instills confidence in the church leaders because its existence demonstrates that global missions is obviously a high priority to them
4–For the members sensing God’s calling–the policy provides an easy to understand process and path that they know they will need to follow in order to confirm their calling and to provide an opportunity for them to receive the multi-faceted blessings that the church wants to bless them with as a result of completing the process.
As important as knowing what a written missions policy is, what it declares, and what it accomplishes, it’s also crucial to know what the policy should include–which will be examined next.
**Developing a written missions policy is one of the 9 characteristics of a Global Impact Church–for the complete list, click here.