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Local Church

The local church finds itself in an exciting new reality which also brings with it many challenges.  The majority of missions activity today takes place outside of the traditional agency. While a lot of this is short term in nature, there is an increasing number of local churches directly involved in a long term commitment in cross-cultural ministries, some even sending out their own missionaries.  
  • Until recently a local church was only able to participate in missions by partnering with a mission agency.  The agency helped the church to be able to send their missionary.  
    • It was virtually impossible for a church to do missions without the agency.  
    • the agency provided essential services:
      • screening, selection and training
      • receipting donations, transfer of funds
      • member care both at home and in the field,
      • oversight and accountability in ministry location,
      • obtaining of visas and legal documentation, etc.   
  • Churches today recognize that they can be more directly engaged in global missions rather than having to only work through the traditional agency.  While most churches still want to partner with mission agencies they are also able to and often want to become directly involved in the ministry. 
    • Churches are now partnering with traditional agencies, majority world agencies, and ministries run by host country believers.
    • Those churches that send out their missionaries directly tend to outsource some or all of the admin functions of receipting and managing finance, member care, and training functions, etc. 
    • The trend is for churches to explore ways to become more directly involved rather than to simply send their personnel and finances to the agencies.  This does not mean they don't want to work with the agency but rather are looking for new ways to partner with the agency. A growing number of agencies are initiating programs that allow for long term agency/local church partnerships focused on specific issues or challenges.