1. It means becoming a part of a team. The Missionary Church is more like a team than an institution -- more like a family than an organization. A team works together for a common goal. The members of a team both give to and receive from the benefits of their commitment to the team. Historically, the people of the Missionary Church have been cooperative in nature demonstrating good unity in the faith.
2. It means a commitment to live by the driving motivation of a progressive mission statement. Many local churches have adopted their own mission statements to articulate their local ministry goals, but the following statement is a summary of concepts that guide the overall ministry of the U.S. church:
The Missionary Church, in obedience to Jesus Christ her Lord,
is committed to being holy people of God in the world
and to building His Church by worldwide evangelism, discipleship and
multiplication of growing churches, all to the glory of God.
3. It means a commitment to becoming a global-minded church. Actively pursuing a vision that includes spreading the gospel throughout the whole world is a distinctive of the Missionary Church. Over 100 missionaries serve in more than 20 countries.
The world also includes across the street, around the state and throughout the U.S. More than 200 churches have been planted since 1990. Multiplication will increase as local churches catch the vision to become parent churches.
4. It means your pastor and his wife are a part of a support team made up of other pastors, pastors' wives and experienced church leaders.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)
Accountability. The pastors of the Missionary Church are responsible to their district superintendent and the president of the denomination. They are accountable for their own personal integrity and effectiveness in ministry. This authority is not "lorded over" the pastor but is provided as an aid to the enhancement of his ministry.
Team spirit and support. "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent." (John Donne, 16th cent. English poet and clergyman)
We work hard to cultivate a team spirit among the pastors, where competition is minimized and mutual care for one another is priority. Many of the pastors are linked together in ministry partner relationships for prayer and encouragement. We are living in an age when the art of developing healthy relationships is often rare. A cultural war of values is also taking place which militates against living a holy life. Building healthy inter-dependence is extremely important. "...in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Romans 12:5).
Continuing education. Through a variety of conferences and continuing education programs, Missionary Church pastors are regularly exposed to up-to-date instruction for help in their preaching and leadership. This kind of education also includes interaction with other pastors as they encourage one another and share their praise reports of what God is doing.
5. It means help in the pastoral search process. A pastoral change is a very strategic time in the life of a church. While the primary responsibility for the selection process lies with the local church, each district church has the district superintendent at its side helping it to find approved candidates, conduct interviews and eventually to make a selection.
6. It means merging into the anchor of a rich theological heritage. For some their history is a ball and chain that stifles progress and adaptability. The Missionary Church is using its history as a launching pad for aggressive outreach. While our message from the Bible is unchangeable, our methods of communication must change to reach the culture for Christ.
The heritage of the Missionary Church is best understood if one is aware that the early leaders had a commitment to the position that the Scriptures were to be the source of doctrine and life. In addition to this commitment to be a biblical church, the theological perspective of the Missionary Church recognizes the contribution of John Wesley's emphasis on "the warmed heart;" A. B. Simpson's fourfold emphasis on Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King; the Anabaptist concepts of community and brotherhood; and the evangelical emphases of the lost estate of mankind and redemption through Jesus Christ.
The Missionary Church is a unique blend of the thought and life of a people who have sought to build their church according to the Scriptures with an appreciation for their historical roots.
7. It means access to a variety of supportive services for the local church. Both at the denominational and district level, there are a number of benefits available to the whole team of churches.
- Church Planting Support. Great care is taken to provide assistance in the first 2-3 years of the new church's life. All planters are provided an education in the church planter's bootcamp, sponsored by the Church Multiplication Training Center. Ongoing support comes through participation in the New Church Incubator (NCI), a supportive environment for planter and wife that includes coaching and interaction with other planters.
- Youth Ministry. The youth ministry of the entire denomination and district is built around the mission of establishing in every local church a youth ministry that is winning the curious, building the convinced and equipping the committed. Through Bible quizzing, a variety of camping and youth conference events and several kinds of youth mission team experiences (domestic and foreign), the Missionary Church is aggressive at targeting its youth with strong, up-to-date programs that help build disciples for Christ.
- Financial Services. The Missionary Church Investment Foundation, Inc. (MCIF) provides opportunities for investment and financing with competitive and reasonable rates of interest.
- Christian Education. A number of different training events and services are available for lay volunteers and pastors
- Growing a Healthy Church Seminar. The GHC series of seminars (4 levels) is the standard education of ongoing training for pastors and lay leaders. This training helps church leaders to evaluate their work and leads them to make adjustments and changes in order to come closer to the ideal of a "Great Commission" church. GHC is developed and managed by Sonlife Ministries, Wheaton, IL.
- Sonlife Strategy Seminar. Sonlife seminars are the counterpart to Growing a Healthy Church for youth ministry. There are various levels of training for volunteers and full-time youth workers.
8. It means participation in the financial ministry needs of the district and national church. God has blessed the districts and the denomination with generous cooperation when it comes to the finances necessary to fund worldwide outreach and ministry. This pooling of resources is each team member's voluntary involvement in the team's efforts to fulfill the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:19: "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
The District Ministries. Each year the District Executive Boards and the District Conferences (comprised of each licensed minister and a lay delegate(s) from each church) adopt a budget which includes the total operation of the districts' ministries. Each church is asked to give its share of that budget.
US Ministries. Each Missionary Church is also asked to give 2% of its receipts to the U.S. ministries. That includes the support for the staff assigned to lead the denomination and manage the pastoral credentials, health and disability insurance programs and pension. A variety of other ministries are supported by this giving which includes U.S. church planting, national youth ministry, Christian education, estate planning, stewardship training and a variety of other administrative responsibilities.
The 10% Goal. Though not formally required, the district and denomination encourage each church to tithe its income, thereby setting a good example for its parishioners to follow. This may or may not include the responsibilities mentioned above. World missions giving needs to be a priority for every church. Many churches give far beyond 10% in support of a variety of missionary efforts that include Missionary and non-Missionary Church missionaries, district church planting, Bethel College, etc.
The above stewardship goals provide every church the opportunity to carry out the New Testament mandates for outreach and evangelism as presented in the mission statement of the Missionary Church.