Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

Play By The Rules
By David Mays

At one recent missions meeting someone observed, “Have you noticed how we seem to be making some of the same kinds of decisions over and over?” “Yes,” responded another, “and it seems to take just as long every time.”

Tim spoke up. “A number of churches have a missions policy. I won der if we could draw up principles for making such decisions. Then when the same issue comes up again, we could refer to the rules rather than thinking each one through from the beginning.”

“I can see some other advantages,” said the chairman, “Having some policies would help us make some unpopular decisions about how to spend missions money. There are times when we are reluctant to make the right decision because we know how people will feel. If we have a policy, we can let the policy decide.”

“Besides that,” someone continued, “we can write down those qualities and expectations we desire for missions team members. We could also include some of the procedures we have been following for getting the work done. Then there would be an ongoing plan for those who follow us.”

As they talked, the group noted several reasons for having a missions policy.
“It seems to me,” said the chairman, “that we need someone to research and draft the policy. Tim, I think you’ re just the person.”

Tim agreed. He first talked to the lnitiative36O regional consultant who recommended the Initiative36O Church Missions Policy Handbook, told him of some churches that had good policies and offered a few words of advice.

Tim obtained the Policy Handbook and requested policies from the churches. Then he contacted the leading churches in their denomination and asked for their missions policies. After a few weeks, Tim was ready to begin.

He very much appreciated the suggestions of the lnitiative36O regional director shown on the following pages.

Benefits of a Missions Policy

– Provides a basis for strategy and direction

– Outlines the scope of missions in your church

– Builds confidence and cohesion in the missions ministry

– Defines responsibilities for the church and missionaries

– Gives a structure for long range planning

– Provides for thoughtful evaluation of critical issues

– Tells church leaders, the congregation, and current and prospective missionaries what to expect

– Provides continuity as the missions leadership changes

– Keeps their responsibilities before the missions team

– Simplifies the process for evaluating financial requests and helps administer missions funds in an open, fair manner

– Avoids making support decisions based on charisma and personal whim

– Helps prevent inconsistency and misunderstanding in making support decisions that may be unpopular

– Saves time in making the same kinds of decisions

Tips for Developing a Missions Policy

– Look at missions policies of other churches. Select one you like for style.

– Recruit one good writer to help. Work in drafts and don�t make your document too complicated and involved at first.

– Start with the church’s purpose, vision and values. Make the purpose and definition sections fit your church.

– Distribute drafts of each section to all interested parties for their review. Seek input from church leaders, missionaries, the denomination mission board and other sources. Get leadership approval one section at a time.

– Allow for plenty of time – the process is as important as the product.

– Emphasize developing missions leaders in your church and perhaps helping other churches in missions.

Components of a Missions Policy

– The Biblical basis and definition of missions

– Team structure, organization, roles and responsibilities

– Finances

– Priorities or strategies

– Mission trips

– Your obligation to supported missionaries and their responsibilities to you.

– Your relationship to other churches, the denomination, missions agencies, national churches and national workers

Developing Policy

Team Work sheet

Action: Person Due Done

obtain Missions Policy Handbook _______________________________
obtain sample policies _______________________________
assign person to draft _______________________________

Purpose Section:

drafted _______________________________
reviewed by team _______________________________
revised _______________________________
submitted to church leaders _______________________________
approved and finalized _______________________________
printed and distributed _______________________________

Organization Section:

Drafted _______________________________
reviewed by team _______________________________
revised _______________________________
submitted to church leaders _______________________________
approved and finalized _______________________________
printed and distributed _______________________________

Responsibilities Section:

drafted _______________________________
reviewed by team _______________________________
revised _______________________________
submitted to church leaders _______________________________
approved and finalized _______________________________
printed and distributed _______________________________

Financial Section:

drafted _______________________________
reviewed by team _______________________________
revised _______________________________
submitted to church leaders _______________________________
approved and finalized _______________________________
printed and distributed _______________________________

Other Sections:

Drafted _______________________________
reviewed by team _______________________________
revised _______________________________
submitted to church leaders _______________________________
approved and finalized _______________________________
printed and distributed _______________________________

Church Missions Policy Handbook
A primary resource for preparing missions guidelines and procedures in your church. Technical, detailed, specific…this is the road map for your missions operation.

To order, go to www.takeitglobal.org.
or call 877-522-8718 toll free, or 303.459.5400.

Excerpted from How to Operate an Effective Missions Leadership Team By David Mays
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”

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