Interested in Becoming a Part of the Missionary Church?
In the broadest sense, the Missionary Church is almost two million people in more than 20,000 congregations in more than 100 countries. There are more than 500 congregations in the United States.
The Missionary Church came into existence as a result of the spiritual revivals that swept across North America in the late 19th century. The evangelistic fervor of the revivals continued through an aggressive program of missionary activity. The worldwide vision of the Missionary Church has made an impact on world evangelism far out of proportion to its size.
In short, the Missionary Church is an evangelical denomination committed to church planting and world missions. With the national office located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Missionary Church joins with its local, district and regional ministries, World Partners, the Missionary Church Investment Foundation, Bethel College (Mishawaka, IN), and the Church Multiplication Training Center to communicate the message of Christ with aggressive strategy.
The Missionary Church strives to be focused more on the fulfillment of the Great Commission than on being a denominational organization.
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.
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.
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.
Your pastor and his wife are a part of a support team
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
Participation in the financial ministry needs of the district/regional 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Procedure for Chartering a Missionary Church in the United States.(Those interested in partnership from other countries should contact Tami Swymeler.)
Ministers are men and women called of God to serve the church in an official leadership capacity who normally have special education for such a ministry, whose leadership roles are certified through licensure or ordination, and who receive financial remuneration for their services. This includes ministers such as pastors, evangelists, Christian education or youth ministers, chaplains, or persons directly involved in the theological training of people for ministry.
Ministers shall meet the following biblical qualifications:
1. spiritual maturity and Christian character as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit as given in Galatians 5:22-23 and by the qualities required for Christian leaders in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9;
2. gifts of leadership confirmed by the church of which they are members (Ephesians 4:11-14); and
3. a servant spirit which enables them to submit to the authority of God as they lovingly exercise that authority in ministering to the people of God (John 13:1-17; 1 Cor.4:1-2; Phil.2:1-11).
Ministers shall meet the following educational qualifications:
1. a high school diploma or its equivalent; and
2. additional education as set forth in the description of licensed and ordained ministers. (Note: Special consideration may be given after consultation with the candidate, the district superintendent, and the president or his representative and approval of the district executive board.)
Ministers shall meet the following denominational qualifications:
1. participation in and completion of a prescribed program of study in the history and polity of the Missionary Church;
2. a commitment to hold and to teach the denominational “Articles of Faith and Practice”;
3. a commitment to support the programs of the Missionary Church;
4. a commitment to communicate by word and example a Christian worldview and lifestyle as reflected in the Missionary Church Constitution and Manual;
5. membership in a local Missionary Church unless otherwise approved by the district executive board due to extenuating circumstances; and
6. all credentialed ministers are required to attend district conference annually unless there are extenuating circumstances which are reported to and approved by the district superintendent prior to conference.
It is the policy of the Missionary Church not to license or ordain a person who has been divorced, divorced and remarried, or married to a person who has been divorced. In cases where there are extenuating circumstances, application may be made to the district executive board and upon a 75% vote of that body, a recommendation may be sent to the General Board which shall appoint a special commission to thoroughly investigate the case and give approval or disapproval.
Categories & Procedures for Credentials
(a) Establish membership in a local Missionary Church;
(b) Counsel with their pastor and district superintendent as to the nature and condition of their call from God to the ministry;
(c) Receive an official recommendation from the board of their local church; and
(d) Submit a completed Application for Ministerial License Part I to the district superintendent for consideration by their district executive board.
Applicants for the ministry living in an area where there is no Missionary Church shall comply with steps (b) and (d) immediately above.
Applicants for the ministry residing outside district conference boundaries may make application to the president with licensing or ordination subject to the approval of the Executive Committee of the General Board.
Licensed ministers are those whose ministerial calling and gifts have been formally recognized by a district conference, through the granting of a ministerial license, authorizing them for and appointing them to actual service in the ministry, subject to supervision and evaluation, as a step toward ordination.
(a) Applicants must have completed a minimum course of study consisting of at least one course in each of the following: Old Testament, New Testament, biblical or systematic theology, practical ministry theology, biblical interpretation, homiletics or communication, leadership and History and Polity of the Missionary Church; and
(b) The applicant shall be reviewed and recommended by the district executive board.
Ordained ministers are ministers whose calling, gifts, and usefulness have been demonstrated and enhanced by proper training and experience, and who have been separated to the service of Christ by the district conference and by the solemn act of ordination and thus have been fully invested with all the functions of the Christian ministry.
For use in the United States only. Those from other countries should contact Tami Swymeler.
Please use highlighted forms if possible.
Solicitud para Licencia Ministerial – WORD
Para el Cónyuge del/la Solicitante de Credenciales – RTF
Solicitud para Licencia Ministerial – PDF
Para el Cónyuge del/la Solicitante de Credenciales – PDF
Application Des diplômes française – WORD
* Please complete application and return as an attachment to the Missionary Church district office of your geographic area.
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History & Polity
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