How Does Supporting a Missionary Outside Our Church Fit Within Our Mission’s Guidelines? Part 2
That’s a question the elders have been giving thought to this year. . .
Welcome back to the missions blog series!
So far as a church, we’ve only ever known supporting those from within our body for missions. So why are we willing to look outside our body at this time (i.e. Massimo Mollica – see the first blog post for context)?
The answer is relatively simple: Our mission’s guidelines (spelled out in the first post) don’t restrict us to training and supporting only “homegrown” missionaries. Missionaries outside our church who hold a strong commitment to our 4 interdependent guidelines may be a wonderful complement to our missionary family at GBC.
A little history and some detail might help. Since adopting our current missions philosophy (the 4 guidelines), we have been very intentional in investing in those in our body who have expressed strong desire and gifting for serving on the mission field and/or church planting. Nothing is going to change on this! We currently have 2 missionaries on the field from GBC – J (and JY), and M.
We also have another “wave” of potentials rising up! We have moved these GBC men and women toward shepherding leadership roles in smallgroups at GBC (according to their biblical roles as men and women). This allows the elders to watch the kind of shepherding care they apply to the body with the word of God. In particular, the men in this group have made their way through BUILD and H3 (leadership development) and have regular meetings with elders to discuss a variety of topics that help them flesh out their ministry views. Some have participated in missions training offered by a missionary on the field. Short term trips to the potential mission field have even taken place to benefit a future GBC team.
The elders have also budgeted more missions dollars each year than our current missionaries need, in anticipation of broadening our missions support. That means that any support we give to a missionary outside of GBC will not take missions dollars away that we want to invest in our own GBC missionaries.
The bottom line is that the elders are excited to see our church missionary family grow! We believe the GBC family will both be a blessing for a missionary like Massimo and his family as well as benefit from the missions work in Italy that Massimo will be engaging in.
If you have any questions, an elder would love to talk with you. Contact any one of us!
What’s up next in the missions series? Getting to know Massimo and his family! Massimo has been answering questions that I’ve posed to him to help you all get to know him better. Watch for them in the coming days.