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  #11  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Butler View Post
With regard to the OP question about local church-supported missionaries, I'll take either side and give you a good argument.

I wold point out that ultimately the SBC Missions model is local-church oriented. Here's how. The local church elects messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention. Those messengers elect the Committee on Nominations (from local churches), which screens and nominates members of various boards and commissions. The convention messengers (from local churches) elect the members of both the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. Those boards elect their leaders and subsequently will vote on new missionary appointments.

So, the power flows from local churches upward to the convention.

I have twice served on the SBC Committee on Nominations, so I'm quite familiar with the process.

My own church has supported mission projects other than through the Cooperative program, but never have siphoned off CP money to do it.
I was thinking about this very thing before I went to bed last night. It ultimately goes back to the local church.
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:20 AM
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I do not think numbers should be the issue. The Southern Baptists often take pride in numbers as the litmus and excuse for a lot of what they do. To me, the focus on numbers is one reason I am for jettisoning their system.

The reason I like supporting individual missionaries over giving to a board is that, in general, churches who give individually are more engaged with their missionaries than those who give to an entity like the Cooperative Program. As well, there is more local church accountability than there is with the Cooperative Program. The local church in the Southern Baptist Convention is only a part of the process... the local church who supports individual missionaries is essential to the process. The distinction between being essential and important is a major divide.

Let me note a couple of things of distinction. At the IMB commissioning service, it is the IMB who commissions the missionaries in a special denominational commissioning service. Independents (small "i", not IFB only) it is the church who commissions. When on the field, the missionaries are accountable to the denominational entity in the SBC. In independent circles they are accountable to the church. The disjointed nature between the missionary and churches is more felt in the SBC and the church ceases to be the main source of accountability, discipleship, and encouragement. Churches who were more independent often struggle through theological issues of missiology and seek council and advise from missionaries on the field. The churches become the most important part of encouragement, accountability, and discipleship. In Southern Baptist circles, I have rarely seen individual churches engage in missiological issues, accountability, and a desire to disciple their missionaries abroad.

Biblically, I believe a church sends a missionary not a denomination. Thus, a church commissions a missionary and not a denomination. The Southern Baptists, in my opinion, violate this practice by supplanting the missionary and church relationship with the denomination.

If this was all about numbers, I agree the Southern Baptists would be king. Yet, Southern Baptists seem too interested in numbers and are numbers centered. I would rather be God centered and focused on developing the individual relationship between the church and missionary. I think this relationship is essential to the further health of the missionary and church.

While some SBCers do have missionaries that they engage, the vast majority do not. Missions becomes something you give to not something you are engaged in. Giving to missions is not about giving to the CP, giving to missions involves much more than money... it is a commitment to the individual missionary. That is what most SBC churches lack.
I agree that giving to missions involves more than money. That is why I have purposely brought missionaries in to our church to speak & share. I can't answer for all the other SB churches, but I know that our association of churches is very mission minded (and that does not mean just giving money).
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  #13  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruiz
While some SBCers do have missionaries that they engage, the vast majority do not. Missions becomes something you give to not something you are engaged in.
I have noticed over the past years or so a growing number of churches whose members are directly involved in missions, for here and abroad. Many churches sponsor mission trips each year. And many of them involve young people.

In some cases, these local church mission groups will work directly with an SBC missionary on his/her field.

It puts a face on missions for them, and helps churches become even more mission-minded. And it changes the lives of those who participate. I speak from experience.

Last edited by Tom Butler; 02-09-2011 at 03:17 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ruiz View Post
The reason I like supporting individual missionaries over giving to a board is that, in general, churches who give individually are more engaged with their missionaries than those who give to an entity like the Cooperative Program. As well, there is more local church accountability than there is with the Cooperative Program. The local church in the Southern Baptist Convention is only a part of the process... the local church who supports individual missionaries is essential to the process. The distinction between being essential and important is a major divide.
I think both cooperative work AND individual identification with missionaries is possible...but yes: It takes more work; and honestly, many churches aren't Kingdom-focused enough to get there (that's an "SBC and Beyond" statement).

Just MHO.

And on the "numbers" comment...I think that the numbers thing is a transcendant issue among many churches of all stripes, not just SBC. But since the SBC is larger, you might hear it more.
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  #15  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by idonthavetimeforthis View Post
I'm not talking about churches who support boards. I am talking about the idea that no denomination or board or whatever you call it is responsible for missions but only the local church.
I've met missionaries who believed that missionaries should ONLY be supported by their local church, not a missions board. In my opinion, it makes for problems with accountability. The ones I know who are only "church supported" also lean towards cult-like behavior.

My church only supports missionaries through missions boards/organizations. We do not deal directly with their sending church or send money directly to the individuals--it goes through the board first.
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  #16  
Old 02-09-2011, 04:44 PM
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And on the "numbers" comment...I think that the numbers thing is a transcendant issue among many churches of all stripes, not just SBC. But since the SBC is larger, you might hear it more.
I was at a conference a few years ago where there was a Southern Baptist Pastor and two Presbyterian Pastors as guest speakers. The Baptist, making fun of Baptists, said, "You know the difference between Presbyterians and Baptists? When you ask a Baptist 'what are you running' they will give you their Sunday Morning attendance. When you ask a Presbyterian, they will give you how many miles and how long they run in the morning."

Everyone laughed... and I thought it was very true. When I was a Southern Baptist, I never reported our numbers. I thought it was a digressionary report.
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2011, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by idonthavetimeforthis View Post
I agree that giving to missions involves more than money. That is why I have purposely brought missionaries in to our church to speak & share. I can't answer for all the other SB churches, but I know that our association of churches is very mission minded (and that does not mean just giving money).
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Originally Posted by Tom Butler View Post
I have noticed over the past years or so a growing number of churches whose members are directly involved in missions, for here and abroad. Many churches sponsor mission trips each year. And many of them involve young people.

In some cases, these local church mission groups will work directly with an SBC missionary on his/her field.

It puts a face on missions for them, and helps churches become even more mission-minded. And it changes the lives of those who participate. I speak from experience.
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Originally Posted by rbell View Post
I think both cooperative work AND individual identification with missionaries is possible...but yes: It takes more work; and honestly, many churches aren't Kingdom-focused enough to get there (that's an "SBC and Beyond" statement).

Just MHO.

And on the "numbers" comment...I think that the numbers thing is a transcendant issue among many churches of all stripes, not just SBC. But since the SBC is larger, you might hear it more.
I did want to add a couple of things. Church involvement is not merely going on a trip nor is it merely having a missionary speak. Those are good, but not all that a church should do. There are three blessings I think most Southern Baptists miss out on.

1. The blessing of being a partner in ministry. I often get reports of my missionaries from the field and their needs. We have often been blessed with fulfilling these needs. This is more than hearing of needs of a major "crisis" that you get from the IMB, but real needs of real individuals. As an example, one missionary was going to train 8 men to be Pastors. Friends of mine were able to buy these men solid books for their training. These men went through 2 years of training with solid theology books that many of us contributed to. To me, this is one example of how I was more blessed than the missionary. When i was a Pastor, I did not get very many of these notices because often such had to be approved by the IMB through budgetary means. I think our churches, as a result, lose out on a blessing.

2. The blessing of shepherding these missionaries. To some of our missionaries we have been more than a supporting church, but shepherds of their souls. We Pastor them and care for them as one of our own. We think of their soul and feel personally responsible for their spiritual growth. Most Southern Baptist Missionaries I have spoken to do not have churches that seek to shepherd them. Yet, one of the greatest blessings I have experienced was shepherding missionaries in good and bad times.

3. The blessing of theological and missiological struggles. Recently, a missionary came into the United States and discussed with a certain church's Elders some of his changing missiology. These discussions was mutually beneficial. The Elders and him were blessed as they opened the Bible to see if this was more Biblical and how to think through this issue better. I was extremely blessed to be a small part of that conversation as it felt like an Acts 15 issue.

4. The blessing of mutual need. I personally believe that churches need to know an individual missionary as much as the missionary needs to know a church. This is more than a casual knowledge, but both needing the other as their life support. I think the CP lacks this blessing.

Having been a SBC pastor, I wanted to get my church more intimate in missions. What I found was that we did better by gathering up individual missionaries than going through the SBC. With the SBC, there are a variety of missionaries with a variety of mission and theological approaches. I would rather support those who are most like what we see as a Church to be beneficial.

Oh, and I married a missionary... so I do have a prejudice on missiology
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  #18  
Old 02-09-2011, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by abcgrad94 View Post
I've met missionaries who believed that missionaries should ONLY be supported by their local church, not a missions board. In my opinion, it makes for problems with accountability. The ones I know who are only "church supported" also lean towards cult-like behavior.

My church only supports missionaries through missions boards/organizations. We do not deal directly with their sending church or send money directly to the individuals--it goes through the board first.
This is wise. Accountability can be a major problem for missionaries who don't go out through a board. I can give both success stories and horror stories about such missionaries. So it's not always a problem, but can be if the home church is not paying attention.

A horror story: one missionary came to our island out from a church, using a certain money-handling institution to handle their finances. This organization asks no questions of missionaries and demands no accountability, ethical, moral or doctrinal. As it turned out, the man had a heart condition which insured he would never have been accepted by a board. His kids were totally out of control (one boy kicked out of a hospital which was treating him for a broken bone). On top of that, he had an affair. Our missionary literally had to ship all his stuff home for him and make arrangements for repatriation after the heart condition landed the man in the hospital again.
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  #19  
Old 02-09-2011, 08:46 PM
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Since my frame of reference is the SBC, let me ask a question or two of those whose churches either support missionaries or, if you're a missionary, are supported by a local church.

Is the local church the only support for the missionary? Or, is a missionary's support from several local congregations?

I raise the question because our church is too small to be the sole support of a missionary. And SBC or Independent, I would guess that a lot of churches are just like mine.

So, in one form or another, missionary support usually involves a pooling of resources by two or more churches. Which would describe the SBC Cooperative program. And would describe independent churches as well, with few exceptions I would think.

Am I right or wrong?
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  #20  
Old 02-09-2011, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Butler View Post
Since my frame of reference is the SBC, let me ask a question or two of those whose churches either support missionaries or, if you're a missionary, are supported by a local church.

Is the local church the only support for the missionary? Or, is a missionary's support from several local congregations?

I raise the question because our church is too small to be the sole support of a missionary. And SBC or Independent, I would guess that a lot of churches are just like mine.

So, in one form or another, missionary support usually involves a pooling of resources by two or more churches. Which would describe the SBC Cooperative program. And would describe independent churches as well, with few exceptions I would think.

Am I right or wrong?
We help other churches, with whom we respect and are like-minded with, support their missionaries as well as they help our own.
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