XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below is the Missions Policy from Northwest Bible Church of Dallas, Texas.
Purpose and Strategy
1. Missions Commitment
Northwest Bible Church is committed to the worship of God, the equipping of the saints for effective life and service, and evangelizing the lost. God desires the local church to be the primary means for sending people to proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ to wherever people inhabit the earth. In its desire to obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and further the work of the Gospel, Northwest Bible Church sets forth the following Missions Policy as a guide in our missions program.
2. Biblical Basis
The Scriptural purpose of Missions includes: worshipping God; fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47 John 20:21, Acts 1:8, and Gen. 12:1-3); through God, saving men and bringing them to the knowledge of God; (John 3:16 and Rom. 10:13-15); sending those chosen by God and confirmed by the church to go into mission service throughout the world (Acts 13:2).
3. Purpose of this Policy
The purpose of this policy is: To give a clear sense of direction and strategy for the missions outreach of NBC; to make important decisions on an objective basis; to maximize efforts to invest each mission dollar as we feel would please our Lord; to instruct new committee members, allowing them to familiarize themselves with policy issues; to maintain consistency as the committee membership changes; to work in harmony with the key leaders of the church, keeping them abreast of missions policy and strategy; to provide a printed policy for members, friends, missionaries, and missionary candidates; and to assist in church-wide education and promotion of missions.
4. Priorities and Strategy
The first priority of NBC Missions is to support missionaries and Christian outreach organizations to train Christians to reach their own countries or communities with the Gospel. Generally, this will be done in the home country of the Christian. The desire for the people of Northwest Bible Church is to use their gifts and training to equip future leaders. This strategy applies to International and Domestic Missions and includes outreach activities to the local community.
The second priority is to have the people of Northwest evangelizing the lost and planting churches that will reproduce. Where there is a dire lack of trained national leadership, then the people of Northwest should evangelize and disciple others.
The third priority is to support Biblical translation, associated linguistic training, and administration functions for missions outreach. This involves a broad area of support for those areas. Effective ministry needs adequate support. The strategy is prioritized, yet balanced.
Strategic Initiatives may be established within the priority framework outlined above this paragraph. Strategic Initiatives are defined and set forth in the Strategic Initiative section of this policy.
5. NBC Missions Organization
The organization of NBC Missions is as follows:
NBC Elder Board
The Missions Committee reports directly to the NBC Elder Board, Ministry Teams are developed as outlined elsewhere in this policy.
6. Flexibility of Policy
Exceptions to the missions policy can be made at any time, but must be approved by the Missions Committee and Elder Board.
7. Definitions and Explanation of Some Terms Utilized in this Policy
Terms utilized in this policy that occur frequently are defined as follows:
- NBC—Northwest Bible Church.
- International Outreach at Northwest Bible Church is the sending out and supporting of well- equipped leaders, teachers and disciple-makers who cross barriers of distance, culture and language in order to establish and strengthen the church. Missionaries, agencies, and other Christian organizations may be based in Dallas or elsewhere, but the scope of their ministry is worldwide. International Outreach involves sending people and investing finances outside NBC’s geographical sphere of influence.
- Domestic Outreach has a sphere of influence in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex or throughout the U.S. Domestic Outreach includes presenting the gospel and meeting the spiritual, social and tangible needs of people within the NBC local community. Domestic Outreach involves more time and personal effort of our people and involves reaching Dallas and the nation with the Gospel and training leaders. These activities will take place on the NBC campus and elsewhere.
- Career missionaries—Those individuals and families who have committed to missionary service as their full time vocation for as long as they are capable and called by God.
- Short-term missionaries—Those individuals and families who accept terms of missionary service usually lasting 2 to 24 months.
- Trip missionaries— Those individuals who are accepted for missionary assignments of less than two months.
- Unreached people groups—Groups of people which do not have a viable, indigenous, evangelizing, church planting movement within them.
- Support—This policy uses the term “support” in the broader sense, including prayer, friendship, education, accountability, shepherding and financial considerations.
- Strategic Initiatives—Individual missionaries, missions organizations, Bible schools, colleges, and other Christian Organizations may be designated as Strategic Initiatives. Strategic Initiatives involve a commitment from the NBC Missions Committee of personnel, prayer, monetary support and other resources to ensure, as much as possible, complete effort for the initiative undertaken.
- Missions Committee Procedures—Those procedures established by the Missions Committee from time to time to implement the intent of this missions policy.
The missions and outreach ministries are led by the Missions Committee. The Missions Committee will be involved in the hands-on outreach effort, both domestically and internationally. The Missions Committee will report to the Elder Board. Ministry teams will be assigned to carry out the hands-on ministry of NBC Missions. Ministry teams will be assigned by the Missions Committee. Each member will be asked to commit to serve for one year. They may continue serving beyond the one-year period with mutual agreement from the Committee and the person serving.
2. Missions Committee
Overall Missions Committee Responsibilities
The Missions Committee will have the following responsibilities:
- Stimulate the intercessory prayer of the congregation for:
- World evangelization.
- The needs of our missionaries.
- Reaching into the local community.
- Develop and coordinate an educational and communication program geared to the NBC body to feature NBC supported missionaries.
- Research mission opportunities and educate the congregation in the need for mission opportunities.
- Stimulate and recruit volunteers for service; care for church missionaries, such as by sending email letters, the Focus, or compact disks of church services; plan and conduct the annual WorldPassion Missions Conference.
- Develop, manage, evaluate and reevaluate the missions program.
- Supervise the fund-raising for missions.
- Recommend support of missionary candidates, subject to Elder approval.
- Recommend Missions Strategic Initiatives, subject to Elder approval.
- Interpret the church doctrinal statement to missionaries and agencies.
- Oversee supported missionaries for accountability.
- Interview candidates for International and Domestic Outreach.
- Make recommendations to the Elder Board concerning commissioning or support of candidates.
- Provide counsel for church missionaries regarding their relationship with the church.
- Work with the mission agencies regarding their role in the missionary’s ministry.
Selection of Members
Candidates for members for the Missions Committee shall be identified by current members of the Missions Committee. Prospective Committee members shall be members of NBC. They shall be evaluated as to:
- Spiritual maturity.
- Length of time attending NBC.
- Extraordinary interest and commitment to missions.
- Demonstrated ability to make decisive and well informed decisions regarding the policies of the NBC Missions Committee.
- Availability for Committee, team, and special-called meetings.
- These names shall be compiled into a list, recommended by the Missions Committee, and submitted to the Elder Board for approval.
Following approval by the Elder Board, the Missions Committee Chairman shall contact candidate members to determine their willingness to serve on the Committee. In these interviews, the Chairman shall present job descriptions as suggested areas of service for the candidate. The candidate may indicate their preference for their particular area of service on the committee, but final assignments for service will originate with the Chairman. The new slate of committee members should be identified and in place as soon as possible after the commencement of the new fiscal year.
Size of the Committee
The Missions Committee shall consist of not more than eight members including the Chairman of the Committee. The Missions Committee shall include the Outreach minister, the Minister of International Outreach, and as many as six additional members of the church at large. The Outreach Minister and the Minister of International Outreach may be voting members of the Committee. Other staff members or full time Missionaries may not be voting members of the Committee. Sixty percent of the members shall constitute a quorum.
Term of Office
The term of office for the Missions Committee, with approximately one-third of the members rotating off each year, excepting the chairman. The Chairman of the Missions Committee shall be an Elder or Deacon appointed by the Elder Board. The chairman will serve in this role for one year or as determined by the Elder Board.
Responsibility of Individual Missions Committee Members
Committee members shall:
- Attend all committee meetings.
- Commit to three years of service, unless otherwise stated.
- Serve as a prayer partner and correspondent for several missionaries.
- Support missions functions by attendance and missions involvement, such as a one or two week trip or a local ministry.
- Further their education through agency banquets, mission trips and reading.
- Encourage and communicate missions to the body.
Frequency of Meetings
The Missions Committee shall endeavor to meet once per month, with the time set by the Chairman. Additional meetings will be called as needed.
Officers and Appointment
The Chairman may be recommended by the Outreach Minister, Executive Pastor, and/or the previous Missions Committee Chairman. He must be appointed by the Elder Board. The Treasurer and the Recording Secretary are to be appointed by the Chairman.
Communications and Challenge
1. Missions Education
The Missions Committee shall promote missions education in the congregation through the designated teams. This is to be done by liaison with the other departments at NBC, such as the Children’s Department, Equipping Ministries, etc., through items such as the Focus, the church’s website, the pulpit, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School classes, community groups, small groups, etc. This education shall include the identification of NBC’s missionaries, where they are ministering, NBC’s overall missions strategy, and provide opportunities for personal and corporate involvement in missions outreach.
2. Challenge to Involvement
It is the responsibility of the Missions Committee to challenge members to participate in missionary service through encouragement and counsel. It will make available information on mission boards and opportunities for short-term missions trips and local mission projects approved by the Missions Committee. It will encourage visiting various areas and missionaries that are supported by NBC.
3. Visiting Missionaries on the Field
It is important for representatives of the church to visit our missionaries. Encouragement shall be given to members of the Committee, pastoral staff, Elder Board and other interested people of NBC to visit our missionaries. In keeping with this goal, it is our plan to have a pastoral visit to the home and ministry of each of our missionaries on a regular basis. The goal of this visitation is to visit each missionary once every four years.
4. WorldPassion Week
The Missions Committee shall sponsor, plan and conduct the annual Missions Conference, WorldPassion Week, during the month of February. The purpose of the conference is to emphasize missions to the church body, inform, update, and stimulate our church body toward greater involvement in missions through prayer, giving, and serving on the mission field. It is also a time for asking the people of the church to make a faith promise financial commitment for the next fiscal year, for purposes of establishing the missions budget.
Missionary Responsibility (Career and Short-Term)
1. Print and Visual Communication
Since it is desirable to have a close personal relationship with church missionaries and be well-informed partners, church missionaries shall be asked to respond to an annual questionnaire sent by the Missions Committee. They shall communicate with NBC by letter or email at least every other month, preferably more often. They shall provide monthly prayer requests by either prayer cards or email. Frequent prayer communication is encouraged by letter, telephone, or email, so specific prayer for our missionaries can be fostered.
Missionaries shall send photographs of their ministry to the church at regular intervals. These prints, negatives, or slides will be used in church publications and presentations. Missionaries are encouraged to send brief videos and/or compact disks of their ministries. Videos will be made available to the congregation in the church library or used in church-wide video or compact disk presentations.
2. Agency Affiliation
Career missionaries are required to establish a mission agency/board relationship in order to assure proper ministry, spiritual and administrative support, a reasonable financial base (agency policies, procedures and financial requirements) and an accountability structure. The candidate must have been accepted or be in the process of acceptance by an agency/board which is in essential agreement with the NBC Doctrinal Statement.
3. Insurance, Education and Retirement
Insurance, education of children, and retirement for missionaries are assumed to be included in the support level defined by the mission agency. A copy of the agency’s policies for these areas must be provided by the missionary to NBC.
4. Retirement Policy
NBC expects every supported missionary to be in compliance with and to participate in their agency’s retirement program. If this is not the case, or the agency does not have a retirement program, the missionary should contact the NBC Missions’ office immediately. Beginning when the missionary reaches age seventy, a retirement review will be conducted by NBC every two years. As part of this review process, NBC will contact the missionary and the missionary’s supervisor. NBC will then evaluate the current activity level of the missionary. NBC financial support may be terminated or scaled to the activity level of the missionary, as determined by NBC from the review process.
Missionaries shall be requested to be available to our congregation when on furlough in the Dallas area. The missionary should be available to share and report on mission work. In line with the speaking abilities of the missionary, various venues will be scheduled by the NBC Missions Department, such as Sunday School classes, small groups, church worship services, Missions Committee meetings, and various other fellowship and sharing opportunities.
The following guide is recommended to help determine how much time international missionaries should spend at Northwest during a year’s furlough: four weeks of furlough time for every ten percent of support given by Northwest. A missionary supported by Northwest at 50% is suggested to spend 20 weeks, 40% suggests 16 weeks, 30% suggests 12 weeks. This is suggested for a one-year furlough. A half year furlough would be half that amount, etc.
6. Missionary in Residence
Missionaries who spend six to twelve of furlough time in the Dallas/Fort Worth area may be asked to attend Missions Committee meetings to provide consultation and advice as requested by the Missions Committee. Missionaries will be expected to provide such service to the extent possible.
7. Fund Raising
Fund-raising by missionaries must be done in accordance with church policy. Neither missionaries nor NBC attendees may make financial appeals in Sunday School classes, small groups, or other corporate gatherings. The general church mailing lists, or leadership lists, may not be used for solicitations. This policy includes overt solicitations and hidden appeals.
Missionaries may make presentations of their ministries to Sunday School classes, small groups, or other corporate gatherings, if no direct solicitations for support are made. Non-financial material pertaining to the particular ministry or project may be left on a display table for individual pickup, so that any response is strictly an individual decision.
8. Doctrinal Requirements
All church missionaries must annually sign a statement indicating agreement with the church Doctrinal Statement. Any disagreement will be reviewed by the Missions Committee and presented to the Elder Board for appropriate action. Any Christian organization that is supported by the NBC Missions Budget must have a doctrinal position that is in harmony with the Doctrinal Statement of NBC.
9. Short-Term Missions Report
At the conclusion of the ministry term, the short-term missionary is expected to report, in writing, to the NBC Missions Committee the experience that he/she has had during his/her missionary work. The short-term missionary is also expected to share experiences with the NBC congregation through the Mission Conferences, Sunday School classes, small groups, community groups and other group venues.
10. Response From Mission Trip Participants
Mission trip participants may be asked to speak about their experiences in Sunday School classes, small groups, community groups or other group venues.
11. Peacemaker Requirements
All missionaries will be required to be familiar with the Peacemaker Pledge and Peacemaker requirements and be willing to submit to the Peacemaker Procedures that have been adopted by NBC.
1. Agency Affiliation Criteria
As a part of a candidate’s evaluation, consideration will be given by the Missions Committee to the mission agency or board with whom the candidate is affiliated or in the process of being affiliated. The Missions Committee will carefully evaluate the agency’s affiliation criteria as established by Missions Committee Procedures.