apoLuo WORKSHOP CONTENT #006: WHAT YOUR CANDIDATES ARE LEARNING (OR SHOULD BE)
#6 in a series devoted to sending churches. The content of this post is adapted from BMW’s 6-hour apoLuo workshop. Numbered articles are intended to be read sequentially for maximum benefit. (This article originally posted in 2012 and is being republished for new readers that may have missed it–Editor).
If your missionaries are being served by Biblical Ministries Worldwide, they are receiving ten hours of instruction in support raising. We don’t want them to be surprised by what you’re learning, and we don’t want you to be surprised by what they’re learning. So here’s what they’re learning.
THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR SUPPORT RAISING
We want your missionaries to understand, as we hope you do, that in order for churches to fulfill the Great Commission, they must send others to do it on their behalf. If a church is not sending its own people, it should help to send others. It’s that simple.
We encourage your missionaries to communicate this principle, turning the traditional hat-in-hand model of support raising on its head. Instead of asking churches to bankroll their private ministry agendas, they are going to churches they have already determined to be compatible theologically and philosophically and offering their Great Commission services to those churches. As Dr. Bob Alderman, Pastor Emeritus of Shenandoah Baptist Church in Roanoke, VA likes to say:
“Churches don’t support missionaries. Missionaries support churches.”
IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS IN MINISTRY
Support raising isn’t about money; it’s about relationships. Your missionaries are learning that at its root, the deputation crisis is not an economic problem. When God leads the people of His choosing to become partners with them in the Great Commission, money will be a secondary issue. And it will be there.
We’re teaching your missionaries to use whatever means they can to establish relationships, primarily in churches, with people who will pray for them, take an interest in them, communicate with them, invest in them, and perhaps even serve with them on the field.
DEPUTATION ETHICS AND ETIQUETTE
Have you ever been stood up? Have you ever been stood up by a missionary?
For us, that is unacceptable behavior, and if it happens—even by accident—it requires an explanation and an apology. Thank you notes should follow gifts or hospitality. Missionaries should not expect others to buy coffee or lunch. If children—or their parents!—break something in a host’s home, they should offer to replace it. Missionaries must make pastors aware of meetings with their people which might take place outside the church building (such as in small groups.) They should never solicit financial support or monetary gifts in a church without the pastor’s knowledge and approval.
These are just some of the ethical principles your missionaries are being taught.
IMPORTANCE OF SENDING CHURCH PASTOR
You’ll be happy to know we are telling your missionaries what an important person you are. But don’t get too cocky—we’re telling them you’re important to the fund raising process! Our research indicated a direct correlation between the time it takes to get to the field and the sending church pastor’s level of involvement in the process. In fact, apart from your missionaries themselves, you’re the most important person in the entire parade of people God will use to get them to the field. You’re the Grand Marshall.
PROCEDURES FOR MAKING CONTACTS
BMW candidates learn how to make contacts with the assistance of their pastors and small teams of people in their churches who are willing to share ownership of their deputation ministry. They are taught about the “rock-in-the-pond” approach of starting within a 50-mile radius of your church facility. We tell them about the importance of having you introduce them personally to your colleagues in ministry within that circle. They learn how to harvest the contact information of prospective partners from the extensive BMW database. They download the TntMPD donor management software, receive several hours of introductory instruction and a lab, and are required to complete the 12-hour tutorial provided by this organization in order to master the use of their exceptional tool. They learn about establishing hubs in various centres and using their time efficiently while they are in those places.
We are lobbying hard with your missionaries for the immediate establishment of a DEP Squad in your church—a DEPUTATION EMPOWERMENT AND PRAYER SQUAD. This team of hand-selected individuals will be able to provide prayer support, encouragement, accountability, expertise and essential services to your missionaries—all of which will serve to propel them more quickly to their field of service.
These are the kinds of things your missionaries are learning as they embark on their deputation ministries. And, by the way—while we view it as only part of the pre-field ministry, we still like the word, “deputation.” It encapsulates our theological perspective on missionaries’ relationships with local churches.
Rob Heijermans, Biblical Ministries Worldwide
Picture: By dbking (originally posted to Flickr as IMG_3253) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons