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Traditional Agency

The traditional agency was birthed during the "from the West to the rest" paradigm of doing missions.  The transition to the new paradigm of "from anywhere to everywhere" is requiring that traditional agencies reexamine their role in the new environment.  

In the past:
  • The agency made it possible for the local church to do missions.  It would have been difficult to imagine a church sending a missionary without that individual being part of an agency OR or being received into a ministry team birthed and led by believers from that context.   
  • The agency carried out virtually all of the required functions "in house".  Each agency developed their capacity to:
    • recruit, train and select missionaries
    • receipt donations and manage those funds
    • provide member care both "at home" and "on the field".
    • provide ministry contexts as well as supervision and accountability.  
  • A primary "value added" that the mission brought to the church was its capacity to administer the church's missions involvement - both the management of their missionary and the selection of where that missionary would serve. 
  • The sending church is demanding a more significant role rather than the former "pay, pray, and stay away" informal agreement.    
  • Agencies are beginning to outsource the receipting of finances, training, and portions of member care simply because it can be done cheaper and often times better by others.  
  • Agencies are scrambling to develop partnerships with potential "senders" from areas of the world where they are not able to set up their own sending function.  The result is that each agency is seeking to develop their own network of partners, often times in competition with others.  
  • Many agencies are restructuring in an effort to engage more effectively with the sending church and the national led ministries in the field context.