1. It does not mean you have to change the name of your church. While it has been the norm for churches to include the word "Missionary" in their name, many churches in recent years have chosen a variety of names in order to relate to their community or culture. In such cases we ask only that a phrase such as "a ministry of the Missionary Church" be included somewhere on the church's letterhead and literature for the purpose of avoiding deception and insuring proper identification.
2. It does not mean that you have to change the personality of your church. The leadership of the Missionary Church has clearly demonstrated flexibility and encouragement for churches to be unique in order to reach their community for Christ. While basic doctrinal uniformity is highly valued, throughout the Missionary Church there is much variety when it comes to the socio-economic make-up of congregations, style of worship, style of music, building architecture, etc.
3. It does not mean you have an intruding bureaucracy looking over your shoulder. There is a mutual accountability within the family of the Missionary Church, but there is also a trust relationship that is carefully respected. The local church under the pastor's leadership has a monthly report responsibility to the district and an annual report to the denominational office. The local church, however, is ultimately responsible to God for its integrity, honesty and faithfulness to biblical truth.
4. It does not mean you are an independent church. The Scripture teaches inter-dependence, not independence (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). Mutual accountability is not only needed among individual believers, but also among churches. The Missionary Church is organized so that each church governs its own local ministry, while at the same time having a voluntary submission to the counsel, guidance and authority given to district and denominational leaders. The district and denominational leaders are chosen by the pastors and representatives of the local churches.
5. It does not mean a bundle of new restrictions. On the contrary, you will be given a strong commission to be free, creative and aggressive for dynamic, outreaching ministry. Instead of being restricted or controlled, local Missionary Churches are to be unleashed with permission to adapt their methods according to the need which culturally relevant ministry demands.
6. It does not mean somebody else will choose your future pastors. The primary responsibility to contact pastoral candidates and, eventually, to select a pastor, is in the hands of the local church. The district superintendent works closely with the leaders of the local church, giving them counsel in the selection process. The D.S. is responsible to provide and approve pastoral candidates. The pastoral screening process includes a ministry background check and doctrinal examination, which further assists the local church in locating a suitable pastoral candidate.