Independent Baptist Missions

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by Salty, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Independent Baptist Missions-Is it failing?

    The article talks about how hard it is for an independent missionary to raise support.

    Each missionary needs an average of 100 churches for full support. They need to make thousands of phone calls to
    visit - say 250 - churches. Remember all churches do not always financially support a church.

    He may spend 3-4 years on deputation to raise the amount he needs.

    When a missionary is on the field - and a church splits or disbands, how does the missionary make up that lost funding?

    With an average of 100 supporting churches, he will need to visit at least 2 churches per week on his one year visit back to the States.

    Maybe the SBC has something going with its co-op program.

    Let me mention, I have been a member of Independent Baptist and SBC churches. So I have seen the advantages and disadvantage of both.
    I am not saying one is better than the other. However is there a way we can take the best of both?

    While I was in Germany, our the BIMI pastor at our English speaking (military*) church was mission supported. Our church help support three other BIMI missionaries in Europe. In addition the churches of those three pastors gave mission support to our pastor.
    Exactly what sense did that make - other to say that we supported more missionaries. I believe that it would have been better for our church to pay our own pastor.

    Thoughts

    Salty

    * I only say military is because the church was made up of military families. The Army had no control over our church.
     
  2. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    Off hand I would say ask John of Japan and Roger.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    First of all, I am sure the writer of this essay means well, but I am very sceptical of many of the statistics this essay gives. The writer sources none of them. Where did he get these statistics? Word of mouth?

    A very recent book (2009) on the IFB movement by Paul Chappel and Clayton Reed is entitled, Church Still Works. It is based on an independent survey commissioned by the authors, which paints a very different picture from the essay in question. According to the survey, the IFB movement now has about 15,000 churches (half the number of the SBC) and over 4000 missionaries worldwide, comparable to the SBC 5200 missionaries (from the Baptist Message website, but the article's not there anymore). However, the IFB movement has only half the churches. (This is from memory. I think I left the book back in the States.) According to these figures, maybe it is the SBC that is having trouble with its missionary force! :smilewinkgrin:

    Concerning the figure about 100 churches needed for support at only $50 per church, that is not our experience, and it doesn't jive with other missionaries I have talked to. I have met missionaries who had 100 churches, but also some with only 30. Last I checked, our average was right about $100/church, and we have churches from various parts of the country and various IFB groups supporting us. So I doubt these figures in the essay, too.

    Now, I do not say there were no valid points in the essay. His solutions have merit, but they miss the main mark. What is needed most of all is church planting efforts in America to provide a greater pool of supporters, and I believe that is happening. While in the States we were in one wonderful church planting conference at Fairfax Baptist Temple. (They kindly honored us for 30 years on the field.) Bud Calvert, the former pastor, wrote an excellent book on this, God's Passion (2010) and is a wonderful influence in this area, as is his son who is now the pastor. Again, I have heard of several other church planting conferences in the States. My wife and I currently support a young couple who are in pre-field, preparing to start deputation to start churches in New England. And by the way, the book mentioned above Church Still Works, is about church-planting also.

    Just a couple more points. First of all, I don't believe that the number of IFB churches is currently decreasing. Years ago we lost 2 supporting churches to such attrition, but have not lost any more for maybe 20 years. Also as I mentioned there is a church-planting movement going on.

    Secondly, I really think the writer is mistaken to say, "It is foolish to ask missionaries to drive all over the country to attend the beauty contest that we call a mission conference." We were in several missions conferences while in on furlough, and they were all wonderful. It is at mission conference time that churches are most likely to take on new missionaries, because that is when they can get excited about missions and have funding drives. For an account of the most exciting conference (bar none) that I have ever been in, see: http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=73296&page=8
     
    #3 John of Japan, Mar 16, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2013
  4. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Thanks for your informed insight.

    Bro.John....I appreciate your informed comments on this subject. Having started out in my Christian life from an IFB background ( I guess I am still one at heart)I was blessed and impressed from an early (spiritual) age with their missionary zeal and I see nothing that changes that today. As you may remember, I am currently a member of an SBC church. That church is a regular contributor to the Co-operative Program. I have been attending this church since 2004 when I met my current wife and got back into fellowship with the Lord (not necessarily in THAT order). In the nearly 9 years I have been there there has only been ONE serving IMB missionary that has come and told of their work....and that was a man and his wife that went out on the field some years ago from THIS church. Other than that there is rarely any mention made of the work of any foreign missionary work at all...EVER. The only other missionary contact that I ever hear HERE is the occasional (and commendable) missions report of the group of young people that go on a year home-mission trip to a rural area of Kentucky. We also had a young lady in our church who took a 2 week mission trip to Kenya with a non-SBC group. She came home and gave a moving report on her experiences there....BUT...if I want to get connected to the work of foreign missionaries (IN PERSON) in the Greenville SC area (or anywhere else) I have to go seek out the yearly (and zealous) missionary conferences at some of the area IFB churches. As a current member of an SBC church, it is disappointing to me that our local SBC-affiliated churches seem to be largely "dis-connected" from the work of the missionarys they "support" after they drop their money in the offering plate. I know there may be exceptions to this but I don't know.
    Now....with all that said let me say that one of the greatest blessings of my Christian life is to hear of the work of foreign missionarys.
    Some might say...."well...why don't I leave that church and go join one that supports what I think....well...at least for the moment I see more reasons to stay here than to go" (that could change)and(I don't care to be a church-hopper). Besides...nobody has a gun to my head telling me how to GIVE of the money God provides me.I don't live under any "tithing" law so I can enjoy the liberty of giving as the Lord directs me. God knows...and He has blessed me with opportunities to share some of that with some worthy people and purposes. John...I love missionary stories/biographies and I appreciate you and that of your work that you have taken the time to share with us here on the BaptistBoard. Your insights are greatly appreciated.

    Bro.Greg:saint:
     
  5. Salty

    Salty
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    So I may not hijack my own thred, I have answered Greg on a new thread
     
  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Trying to be a blessinghere. :wavey:
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I want to say some more about the essay author's statement, "It is foolish to ask missionaries to drive all over the country to attend the beauty contest that we call a mission conference."

    First of all, this is unfair to pastors and churches which have missions conferences. This statement appears to criticize the motives of pastors who choose to have missions conferences. I'm sure that's not what the author intended, but that's what the nuance is.

    Secondly, I've been in dozens of missionary conferences, and never once felt like I was in a "beauty conference." Yes, I've been disappointed when I was in one and did not get support, but that illustrates just why missionary conferences are important and effective: they provide the best opportunity both for a missionary to get support and for a church to take on new missionaries.

    I'll illustrate these points by mentioning the five conferences we were in during our furlough ending in August last year.

    First of all, we were in our BWM Annual Meeting. The host church was tremendous, giving gifts to each of the missionaries and taking us on a tour of Chicago with the main emphasis being a tour of the Pacific Garden Mission.

    Next, we were in a church planting/missions conference in VA where we were honored for 30 years on the field along with a 40 year veteran--humbling! The whole conference was designed to honor and support church planting both on the foreign fields and in the US.

    Thirdly, we were in the Global Impact Celebration in TX, linked to above. This was without a doubt the most exciting and blessed missionary conference I've ever been to! The entire conference was designed to bless the missionaries, raise support for missionaries and missions projects (tens of thousands were raised for special projects), and fire up the church people for world evangelism. It succeeded on all counts.

    Next, we were in a conference in Mass. in a church we'd never been to before. It's not that big of a church, but they did their best, with more pre-conference communication than I've ever had before. We had dinner at the pastor's home with just them and us missionaries. (Had a great time with the pastor's son on his go-cart!) After dinner when the rookie was out of the room the pastor asked us three veterans who he should take on. All three of us said to support the deputation missionary, though we are only at 93% and the couple in Brazil are only at 86%. No beauty contest there.

    Finally, we were in a fairly usual conference in a MI supporting church: you know, international dinner, missionary slides (PowerPoint nowadays), messages on missions. The main speaker was the current BIMI director, who I was very impressed with. He did a bang-up job preaching faith promise. And that was the point of the conference: to raise missions awareness and increase missions support.

    See any beauty contests in there? I certainly did not. Every conference was an effort to increase awareness of world missions and support for the task.
     
    #7 John of Japan, Mar 18, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2013
  8. BroTom64

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    Some SBC stats

    Blessing upon all serving the Lord anywhere and especially those overseas.

    Here are FAQ links to the SBC's International and North American Mission Boards:
    http://www.imb.org/main/page.asp?StoryID=4452&LanguageID=1709

    http://www.namb.net/Fast-Facts.aspx

    The SBC support 4,894 International Missionaries and 7796 Missionaries in North America. Both the IMB and the NAMB act as sending agencies for short-term missionaries. I was able to go to Nigeria in 1994, a trip that help confirm the Lord's call on my life. The NAMB was a missions partner to over 200,000 short term missionaries in 2011. I don't have the # for the IMB.
    A recent focus change in both agencies is toward Church Planting and training indigenous leaders.

    I personally believe "faith" missionaries generally do more with less. SBC missionaries are seem to be able to stay on the field for longer stretches. I praise the Lord for both efforts to reach, win and disciple the lost.

    Tom
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Hi Bro. Tom.

    Thanks for the info and the more accurate figures. I should have said that the SBC has 5200 foreign missionaries (now 4894 as you point out). I'm not sure what the SBC home missionaries do with that many. I'm pretty sure they are not all church planting. Aren't many of them "county missionaries"? Someone enlighten me.

    Other than foreign missionaries, IFB churches support many home missionaries, which include church planters, Jewish missions, various projects (including feeding the poor), city missions (feeding the poor and homeless, caring for addicts, etc.), addiction ministries, jail ministries, printing ministries, etc.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty
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    Up until a year ago, our Director of Missions was considered a NAMB missionary. However, he is now off their payroll. He is now a "empolyee" of our association at part time pay - so now he is down to about only about 50 hours a week or so. Also some positions at our State convention was also elimanted. NAMB wants to concertrate on actual church planting. In fact, NAMB also laid off several positions over the past few years, and directed that money to church planting
     
  11. BroTom64

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    More Sbc Info.

    Hi John,

    This is from the Link above I adding them together for the Home Mission total of 7796.
    Appointed, Approved, and Endorsed Missions Personnel by major group category as of December 31, 2011. Non-appointed spouses are not reflected in the list.
    3,650 Chaplains
    214 Collegiate/University
    262 Evangelism/Love Loud
    495 Legacy Mission Service Corps
    1,429 Mobilization/Church Planting
    1,530 Sojourner/Summer/Semester (I think Sojourner is a two year program)
    216 State Convention Staff

    Tom
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Some good steps, I'd say. I just finished a history: Southern Baptist Missions in Japan by Calvin Parker. In 1987 it was decided in Japan that "All missionaries, regardless of their primary assignment, 'be engaged in evangelistic witnessing and be involved in outreach efforts for church planting'" (p. 214). In 1988 it was decided that 70% must be involved in full time church planting (p. 208). These were good decisions, IMO.

    This points up a difference with independent Baptists, who have almost all foreign missionaries involved directly in church planting, since we usually don't have administration positions on the field, and usually shun insitutionalism.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Interesting. Thank you for the information.
     
  14. Raj

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    Dear bro. JoJ thanks for your testimony of how God is using His people to bless the work of the Gospel worldwide.

    May we continue to labor, knowing that our labors are not in vain.
     
  15. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thank you for the encouragement. I trust that the Lord will use you greatly as you are starting your church there.
     
  16. reverist

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    Something our church is working to do is to take a group of six churches of like faith and practice with respect to a missionary. One church acts as a sending church, and supports the missionary at 50%. The other five churches support at 10% each. When the missionary comes back on furlough, he only stays six months, spending one month at each church (during which time he is provided for with respect to londging and whatnot). During that month, he is very visible to the congregation--not necessarily to be worked to death, but to be seen by the congregation, thus boosting the sense of importance. The missionary can then go back to the field after only six months, and far more recharged than the current model. I like it a lot.
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    That's an excellent plan. :thumbs:
     
  18. Wherever You Go

    Wherever You Go
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    My wife's parents are independent Baptist missionaries, in France. Our church supports a number of missionaries, including a high percentage of foreign missionaries.

    I don't know if my wife and I will ever be directly involved in foreign missions, other than short trips, but I am quite burdened for the Pacific islands. I visited friends who are missionaries in Micronesia last year.
     
  19. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen! I daresay, looking at your profile, that you are familiar with missionaries from BWM, my board.

    Even a short missions trip can change the believer's life.
     
  20. Wherever You Go

    Wherever You Go
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    Yes, John, we have several BWM missionaries at our church. It is one of our better represented boards. :smilewinkgrin: We also have two or three missionaries to Japan. The two I am sure of right off hand, are the Meltons and the Izus. The reason I am unsure of a third, there is or was another one, Oshiro, I think. Our church at one time had a Japanese ministry here locally, but I think the people running it went to the mission field, if I remember correctly. Anyway, for whatever reason, it isn't being held any more. Our area isn't exactly over-run with ethnic Japanese people, but we have a number of Chinese and Koreans.

    My wife and I were considering being missionaries before and after we got married, but the Lord didn't give clear direction, so here we are. I know I wasn't spiritually mature enough to be a successful missionary back then anyway, and I may not be now. :tongue3: But I am trying to grow closer to my Lord.
     

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