Resources for Sending Pastors
How you can serve as a Facilitating Pastor/Church for a Missionary
The Foursquare Church is a missionary sending organization. As we seek clarity for the future, we must not move away from our DNA.
The cornerstone of Angelus Temple reads: “Dedicated unto the cause of inter-denominational and worldwide evangelism.” Whether it is across the seas or across the street, we must not deviate from our call to evangelism.
Through the years, we have truly learned that we do it better together. Helen Keller said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” That is very true.
Yet, you may ask, why send my missionaries in partnership with Foursquare Missions International (FMI) rather than just sending them under the guidance of my local church? FMI has a wealth of history and long-term relationships with national leaders around the world. Probably the greatest thing that FMI can provide is a bridge to the countries where people desire to serve. Our desire is for our Foursquare missionaries to arrive on the field having already built a relationship with the national church leaders, having a job description that is clearly outlined and agreed upon, and having as much training as possible to make them as successful as possible. In addition, FMI has years of experience in working with visa issues, evacuation, health and family emergencies; further, FMI can provide training created for missionaries by missionaries with many years of experience.
With this in mind, thank you for considering a partnership with FMI to facilitate the sending of a missionary. As a pastor considering this partnership, often the question is asked, “Is my church responsible for the finances needed to send the missionary to the field?” The answer is no. Even a small church can serve as a facilitating church. The missionary candidate is responsible to raise funds to meet an agreed-upon budget. FMI provides support raising training that is focused on funding through personal relationships, not through church giving. The missionary candidate will also be provided with a support raising coach to encourage him or her in the process of raising support and to hold him or her accountable throughout the process. While you and your church are not responsible for the missionary’s finances, you will be asked to participate in decisions regarding the finances of your missionary.
Another frequently asked question is “Are all missionaries going to need to raise their support or will fully funded missionaries still be sent out?” All area missionaries that serve in supervisory roles are fully funded. As the FMI Global Missions Fund increases, it is our hope that we will once again be able to fully fund missionaries going to open new countries.Missionaries going to fields to serve more traditional missions’ ministry as well as those going to fields to serve in supportive roles to an existing national church will for the most part raise their own support.
The Senior Pastor’s Role
What then is expected of a pastor serving in the role of sending a missionary under FMI? You should plan to get the missionary ready for the field as you do the following:
- Intentionally disciple, raise up and develop leaders who have proven themselves in ministry and who are recognized within the congregation as ministers with a call to missions.
- Help screen potential candidates and address any issues that might need to be resolved and identify areas of their lives or ministries that need to be strengthened prior to deployment.
- Encourage and assist the missionary candidate in fulfilling pre-requisites looked for by FMI in a missionary candidate. These include being sure they:
a. Take the Perspectives course: All applicants will be required to complete the Perspectives course as a foundation for missions training. Perspectives is offered at over 200 locations nationwide or online at www.perspectives.org. The course is offered in several different time structures including a 15 week course and intensives. For further information, check the website listed above.
The Perspectives course is offered in most locations at three levels: Key Reading level, Certificate level and for college credit. While FMI will accept the completion of the Key Reading level, we would highly recommend the Certificate or college credit level.
The cost of the Perspectives course varies from location to location and cost also depends on the level of study taken. The costs usually run about $190 – $500 per person. Some locations offer discounts for early bird enrollment or for a second person in the same family.
b. Get Multi-Cultural experience: Those desiring to go abroad to minister should have experience in the local community where they live. Most U.S. communities provide opportunities to work with other cultures. Being involved in cross-cultural ministry at home can provide a wealth of experience for the mission field.
c. Get Team Experience: It is important for applicants to have a passport and to have made at least two mission trips outside of the US. FMI will be asking for positive feedback from the team leader as a part of the application process. Trips of this type can be accomplished by sending a team from your church or by signing up to go with an already established team. Either of these options can be accomplished by using our Contact Us Form and selecting “Go Short Term” to let us know what you are interested in and to coordinate next steps with FMI staff.
d. Start language learning: If a person has a strong desire or call to go to a particular country or language group, Foursquare Missions recommends that language learning begin immediately. Language learning can be very time consuming. When missionaries already know the language prior to going to the field, it allows them to understand the culture (learned through language study) and to be able to begin to minister effectively immediately.
e. Biblical/Theological understanding: Regardless of the job description, a missionary may be asked to speak and to lead Bible studies. It is imperative that even those going in support roles as administrative assistants or building contractors have completed at least a basic discipleship course, Bible institute or a Bible college education as well as church planting experience in the U.S. is required for those desiring to plant churches (some exceptions may apply).
The Church Leadership Team’s Role
What are some of the things that you as a senior pastor need to understand and consider doing personally as you step into this role? It is very important that you and the members of your leadership team do the following:
- Have a long-term commitment to your position as the senior pastor. In other words, you should plan to serve as the senior pastor for at least the first full term of your missionary. We understand that God redirects our lives and sometimes surprises us with change. However, a facilitating church pastor should not be looking for a change of ministry. When a pastoral change occurs, often the church’s support for its missionary is decreased or eliminated.
- Understand the biblical principles behind sending missionaries and teach them to your congregation. You may also want to take the Perspectives course.
- Provide pastoral care for the missionary throughout the deployment process, during the missionary term and upon the return home.
- Provide prayer support. Schedule special prayer events; make prayer tools available to ensure that prayer for missions and your missionary is included with other prayer initiatives as well as regular corporate prayer. Intercede for and lead your congregation in intercessory prayer for your missionary.
- Make sure that the missionary has a proper relationship with FMI and is meeting the requirements set forth for deployment; build relationships with the FMI team that will assist you and your missionary.
- Assist in and approve the development of a ministry proposal, budget and goals.
- Develop communication processes for sharing with the congregation once your missionary is on the field such as monthly updates, Skype calls and printed copies of email communications.
- Assist the missionary in preparations for leaving. This may include purchasing needed items for ministry, taking care of personal issues such as schooling for children or oversight of rental properties the missionary may own.
- Provide a send–off, including a time of prayer over the missionary.
- Visit the missionary on the field and help in evaluating progress toward meeting goals as well as spiritual and physical needs.
- Assist FMI in the evaluation of and solving of issues that might arise on the field, such as noncompliance with FMI policies or failure to meet goals.
- Keep in touch regularly with the missionary. This may include but is not limited to the following:
Sending Christmas gifts.
Sending cards/emails of encouragement on a regular basis.
Communicating through Skype calls.
The Congregation’s Role
Your role in leading your church in a missionary-sending partnership with FMI is critical. Ideally, you should lead the congregation to embrace the concept of sending and supporting a missionary. The commitment to serve as a facilitating church must be agreed upon by your church council members, who will read and sign the facilitating church agreement. This is vital both for the collective support of your decision and so that members of the council are aware of the commitment that has been made. Then, if a change of pastor does take place, the council will still be aware and able to help a new pastor understand the partnership with FMI and the missionary.
You must foster the relationship between your congregation and the missionary with which you are in partnership. If the missionary is not a part of your congregation, he of she should spend time in your church and meet the people so that relationships can be built. This relationship needs to continue to be built while the missionary is on the field. This may be done by but is not limited to the following:
- Using Skype to bring the missionary into your sanctuary on a regular basis.
- Taking a team from your church to work with the missionary on a short-term basis.
- Leading your congregation in times of prayer and fasting for the missionary.
- Bringing the financial needs of the missionary before the congregation.
Sharing the Responsibility
Many pastors ask the following question: “Do I need to be responsible for doing all of these things myself?” The answer is no. This is a great opportunity to appoint a missions leader or committee within your church. A leader or committee should comprise people who have a passion for missions and who have good communication and organizational skills.
FMI recognizes that the local church is a key to sending a missionary. The local church brings vital preparation, pastoral care and on-going involvement to the table. As you give designated funds to your missionary and as you contribute to the FMI global fund, your missionary will be provided for very well. Through monies provided through the Global Fund your missionary will be under the guidance of a seasoned missionary in their area, provided with gifts, retreats, resource materials and ongoing training that often goes beyond what the local church can provide.
Together we do it better. Thank you for partnering with FMI!