BMW'S COMPANION CHURCH CONNECTION
WHERE HAVE ALL THE MISSIONARIES GONE?
Over the last two decades, Christian leaders have noticed a sharp decline in the number of men and women training for vocational ministry. The number of missionaries retiring these days far outpaces the number of servant-leaders heading into the harvest fields of the world. Some have estimated that since 1990, the missionary work force has declined more than 20%.
Many young families would go to the field if their church would equip and assist them to do so. BMW is finding that many couples aspiring to serve as missionaries are in their thirties or forties, have learned to do ministry within the context of their local church, and if adequately prepared, would consider a career change. The average age of new missionaries joining BMW over the past ten years is 34 years old.
LOCAL CHURCHES CAN PRODUCE GREAT MISSIONARIES
We strongly believe that the local church is a sufficient forum in which to train and equip tomorrow's missionaries and church leaders. BMW has therefore been linking arms over the past few years with churches that have a vision to actively produce leaders and missionaries from within their congregation. These are our "Companion Churches."
COMPANIONSHIP PURPOSE STATEMENT
BMW's Companion Church Connection is designed to enhance the flow of qualified servant-leaders to the mission fields of the world by enabling and encouraging churches to equip their own people for ministry.
CRITERIA FOR A COMPANION CHURCH
The role of Biblical Ministries Worldwide is to serve local churches by helping them accomplish their vision for world missions. We are seeking to intensify our working relationship with 500 local churches that are doctrinally compatible. It is our desire to link arms with churches that hold to the following values:
BENEFITS OF COMPANIONSHIP
So, what does your church gain by becoming a companion with BMW?
THE WORKSHOPS - There are four intensive workshops for pastors and church leaders and one workshop on personal evangelism available. Although the leaders in our companion churches have embraced the concept of church-based leadership development, few have ever seen it done.
Thus, BMW has created a set of workshops to help the leaders of these churches take some tangible steps toward retooling and refocusing their church for biblically based, people-oriented ministry and meaningful leadership development.
BMW developed these workshops in consultation with missionaries, pastors, seminary professors, church leaders and Christian business people so as to present a balanced and biblical viewpoint.
Many of those who influenced the writing of these materials also present the workshops in churches all over the world. The presenters come from different professions and backgrounds and are putting these principles into practice in their present ministries as God gives them the wisdom and strength to do so.
While the presenters can't live at your church for several years to help you through this process, they will remain available to you for follow-up consultations. Your church's leadership team must carry the ball, but the presenters are there to guide you. These workshops are serious undertakings and normally require eight or more hours of focused time.
PARTNERSHIP IN SENDING OUT MISSIONARIES - Companion Churches realize that they are the sending organization - not the mission. BMW helps the church accomplish its vision for missions. Thus, Companion Churches forge a much closer working relationship with the missionary and BMW. For churches that send out a new missionary with BMW, here are some ways to foster that relationship:
CONSULTING SERVICES - At Biblical Ministries Worldwide, church planting is the main thing we do. As a family of church-planters around the world, our passion and life's work is to establish new churches through the three interrelated activities of evangelism, discipleship and leadership development.
To be as effective as we can, we study the scriptural principles impacting local churches, we evaluate the influence of different world cultures on local churches, and we observe scores of churches here in the United States to see what promotes healthy growth in churches that are both biblically grounded and culturally cued.
We are far from having all the answers, but perhaps we can share something that the Lord may use to help your church as it struggles to serve Him more fully and effectively.