Hamilton Central Baptist Church recognises the centrality of mission in the operation and raison dêtre (reason for being) of the church of Jesus Christ. Our commitment to world mission is drawn from the command of Jesus to:
“. . . Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15)
We interpret the definition of world mission broadly as encompassing all expressions of God’s love and compassion toward our sin-sick world, be it overseas or in New Zealand. We therefore view world mission as an integral and high profile component in the life of our church.
Global Mission Task Force
Our commitment to world mission as a church is facilitated through a specially appointed Global Mission Task Force. The convener or leader of the GMTF is appointed by the elders of the church; other members are recruited and nominated by the convener, and ratified by the elders.
Missionaries waiting to move out to the field, and those on home assignment, are also invited to attend GMTF meetings at the discretion of the convener to familiarise themselves with the church’s world mission policy and operation.
The scope of the Global Mission Task Force responsibilities includes mission enterprise beyond the immediate parochial district of the church, be it foreign mission overseas or mission here in New Zealand.
Global Mission Task Force Strategy
Working in close relationship with the senior pastor:
- To inform and lead the church on all matters pertaining to the work of world mission that God has led us into.
- To bring before the church the challenge of world mission with a view to recruiting and commissioning people for missionary service.
- To establish a high level of commitment from our members for world mission initiatives.
- To assist in empowering local/national churches (overseas) in their ministry to unreached people groups in their own country.
Specific Responsibilities of the Global Mission Task Force
- Publish (monthly) missions leaflets/literature, updating the church family with latest information and prayer needs of church supported missionaries.
- Regular world mission “slots” in church worship services and bulletins, focusing primarily on church supported missionaries.
- Maintain attractive, effective and up-to-date world mission displays within the church buildings, with special focus on church supported missionaries.
- In consultation with the senior pastor, arrange an annual special world missions focus/event, featuring a cross section of world mission opportunities and mission agencies.
- Facilitate promotion of world mission issues (and people) amongst the church’s LifeGroups, Youth Ministry and Children’s Ministry.
- Publicise and promote the work of the NZ Baptist Missionary Society.
- Facilitate regular correspondence between church supported missionaries and their home church family.
- Coordinate, resource and facilitate short-term study trips, ministry teams and/or work parties into two-thirds world countries.
- Obtain regular (quarterly) reports from all church supported missionaries, and advise the pastoral staff and elders accordingly as to their status.
- Research and recommend to the church the annual world missions budget.
- Determine each year the level of financial support each church supported missionary receives.
- Administer and disburse finances raised for world mission through the church.
- Research and promote creative means of financial support for world mission within the church family.
- Determine and advise the pastoral staff and elders of specific pastoral needs of church supported missionaries, and appropriate action the church should take.
- Forward to church supported missionaries pastoral care resources as appropriate (bulletins, sermon recordings, newspaper clippings, annual reports, etc.)
- Facilitate accommodation and transportation of church supported missionaries during home assignment, and at the conclusion of their missionary service.
- Coordinate pastoral care and reorientation for church supported missionaries on home assignment, and at the conclusion of their missionary service.
Recruitment and Commissioning of Missionaries
As a church we recognise that there are two parts to the “missionary call” equation:
- The individual/couple sense the “call” of the Lord to a particular field of service (i.e. country, missionary society, job opportunity, etc).
- The church family also hears the “call” of the Lord to set apart the individual/couple to a particular field of service.
In practical terms this involves a process whereby the missionary “call” is checked, tested and affirmed, or maybe even initiated by, the church family. Those whom the church affirms as “called” of the Lord to missionary service are then set apart or commissioned as missionaries of the church, and are supported pastorally, financially and prayerfully.
Normal Criteria for Acceptance as a Church Supported Missionary
The process outlined below has two objectives. Firstly, testing and checking the “call” of a prospective missionary. Secondly, achieving goal ownership by the whole church family in terms of support for missionaries.
The prospective missionary will:
- Have been in active membership of the church for at least two years, or at the discretion of Global Mission Task Force.
- Be suitable for the type of work/ministry envisaged.
- Have undertaken the required training set by the respective Mission Society with whom they wish to work.
- Discuss their sense of call (in the first instance) with a member of the Pastoral Task Force, who will refer it on to the Global Mission Task Force.
- Be interviewed by the Global Mission Task Force, who will make a recommendation to the Elders (who will also arrange a meeting with the prospective missionary).
- Then, formally be commissioned and “set apart” by the church at appropriate worship service prior to their departure.
Some people wishing to “go out” from our church into missionary work may not wish to go through the process outlined above. This they are free to do, and as a church we bless their obedience to what they sense is God’s leading. However, those whom we support and accredit as missionaries of our church are only those who have allowed their sense of call to be tested and affirmed in the above manner.
Training for World Mission
As a church we place a high emphasis on training for ministry, especially for those with a sense of call to long term service in the field of world mission. We encourage prospective missionaries to engage in longer term training (12 months or more) to allow God greater opportunity to prepare them theologically and spiritually for the work He is calling them to. Those church members undergoing training at recognised Bible colleges (or the like) for courses 12 months or more are:
- Encouraged to meet with the Global Mission Task Force prior to lodging their formal application.
- Offered pastoral care support during training.
- Given limited financial support through the World Mission budget.
Those undergoing training courses of less than 12 months duration are usually not given financial support from the church. At the completion of their course of training, those wishing to be “sent out” as missionaries from the church must be willing to submit their sense of “call” in the normal manner for other church supported missionaries.
This process may be commenced prior to the completion of a course of study, but it is envisaged that the prospective missionary will return to the church for a set period of time (determined in consultation with the Global Mission Task Force) in order to have their call to the mission field affirmed and publicised within the church family. (Those who undertake a course of training and then embark on missionary service immediately following the conclusion of their course can not automatically expect to be supported or accredited as missionaries of the church.)
Relationship Between the Church and Missionary Agencies
As a church we believe the local church is the primary agency/organism, established by God, for the extension of his Kingdom here on earth. However, we also believe in full co-operation with para-church organisations and missionary agencies (also brought into existence by God) for the work of proclaiming the Gospel.
We believe (theologically) that the local church, not the Missionary Society, is the “sending” body when a missionary serves overseas. We therefore encourage and foster a close working relationship between the church and respective missionary agencies in:
- Processing initial applications to a particular Missionary Society (i.e. jointly from the church and the individual candidate).
- Selection procedures and meeting with candidates by the Missionary Society.
- Matters of pastoral care of missionaries on the field.
- Financial support of missionaries on the field.
Financial Disbursement of Funds
Funds raised in the church for the work of world mission are disbursed according to the various needs of those missionaries and special projects that we support. Funds are raised through undesignated giving to the Global Mission Fund and also through a percentage (tithe or other agreed percentage) of general fund offerings to the church. (NB: Designated gifts for specific people/causes/projects are forwarded on top of funds allocated from the Global Mission Fund).
Once a year the Global Mission Task Force calculates the target world mission budget for the church for the ensuing year – based on budgeted (percentage) income from the church’s General Fund and a calculated expectation of specific undesignated funds to the Global Mission Fund.
The Global Mission Task Force also calculates an amount of annual/monthly support for each person(s) or project the church has committed to support. The exact amount of support may vary from year to year (up or down) according to available funds and the number of persons/projects supported. As a general rule allocation of missions funds is determined pro-rata along the following lines (guideline only):
- Church member missionary (single)
- Church member missionaries (married couple)
- Children of church member missionary
- Non-church member missionary
- Church member in training (after 6 months)
- Specific mission project to which the church has committed itself
- Administration fund (capped at an agreed maximum level)
- Special projects fund (capped at an agreed maximum level)
- Emergency travel fund (capped at an agreed maximum level)
- Christmas gifts for missionaries
- Global mission fund reserves
Allocation of funds for people and projects are submitted (annually) for approval by the elders. Where mission giving exceeds, or does not meet, budgeted income distribution of funds is allocated pro-rata, or may be topped up from accumulated reserves. Funds held in special accumulation accounts (e.g. Emergency travel, special projects, reserves, etc.) are regularly disclosed to the elders and to the church AGM.