Brackenhurst Baptist Church takes very seriously our Lord’s last commission, which is for the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ in every nation (Matthew 28:18-20). We are thus committed to sending and supporting obedient, gifted, proven and thus truly called disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who will make disciples of Jesus Christ elsewhere.
We believe that Jesus Christ is building His church, and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). We believe that, one day, representatives from every people group across the world throughout history will be present before the throne of God (Revelation 7:9-11). We believe that the kingdom of Jesus Christ, which started like a small stone, will one day grow into a vast mountain that will cover the entire earth (Daniel 2:36-45). We believe that, one day, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14; Isaiah 11:9). And we believe that it is the task of the church to take the gospel to every nation, in anticipation of these promises being fulfilled.
The Missionary Commission
The church is committed to commissioning its own members to represent her as missionaries. She will send men who have proven their call to be missionaries by virtue of a long and continued observance of character (in terms of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9), conduct (the proving ground of character) and competence (the proven ability to effectively minister the gospel of Jesus Christ as evidenced by the making of disciples in the home and within BBC). The relationship of the missionary with the local church must be above reproach and there must be a proven track record of submission and service to the local church.
The elders will undertake to discern the biblical qualification of a missionary candidate (see Acts 13:1-4). The qualified and commissioned missionary will minister under the authority of BBC.
Missionaries and Ministers
A distinction is drawn by the church between a “missionary” and a “minister.” Although the church supports both “missionaries” and “ministers,” the spheres of ministry allow for distinction between the two.
A “missionary” is a disciple of Jesus Christ who has been called by God and sent out by a local church to go to another culture to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. In most cases, this will be with a view to establishing a New Testament local church.
A “minister” is one who does not meet the definition of “missionary” (i.e. is not sent by a local church to another culture with a view to establishing a local church) but who is involved in outreach work in his own culture and therefore receives financial support from the missions budget of the church for his ministry.
The primary passion of the church is to send its own members to the field as missionaries, and therefore the largest part of the missions budget is dedicated to the support of BBC-sent missionaries. Occasionally, however, at the discretion of the eldership, missionaries from other churches of like faith may receive financial support from BBC. Such missionaries must:
- be sent from and under the authority of their local church;
- be in agreement with the doctrine of BBC concerning the Great Commission, as well as soteriologically and ecclesiastically; and
- be making disciples in areas where there is no other biblical local church doing so.
Ministers (see definition above) may be considered for financial support provided:
- the minister is a member in good standing of a biblical local church of like faith; and
- the minister’s ministry is under the authority of, and thus accountable to, a local church.
BBC recognises the local church, not parachurch organisations, as God’s instrument for the furtherance of His kingdom. As George Peters says,
The local congregation of believers stands in a unique relationship to Christ and that local assembly becomes the mediating and authoritative sending body of the New Testament missionary. This is a vital, biblical principle and we dare not weaken, minimize nor disregard it.1
Because of this, those in the employ of parachurch organisations—that is, ministries not directly accountable to a local church—will not be considered for regular financial support.
Assessment of Ministry
Missionaries sent from BBC are assessed as to their effectiveness in ministry over the period of their ministry. Occasional visits are made by one or more of the elders for the sake of encouragement and instruction. BBC is not interested in a “numbers game” with regard to converts but rather in effective ministry of making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Non-member missionaries and ministers are also assessed periodically as to whether their ministries are in line with the biblical objectives of BBC. It is our desire to strengthen such ministries as is needed and asked for.
The Goal of Missions
The goal of missions is to bring people from all nations to worship God. Worship is eternal, and missions is the God-appointed means of bringing men and women from every people group to worship him. It is our prayer that the nations would be glad in Christ (Palm 67:3) and, to that end, we will continue to send and support those who are passionate about the coming of Christ’s kingdom for as long as the Lord tarries His coming.
The following resources will prove helpful in a pursuit to gain a biblical philosophy of missions:
- George W. Peters, A Biblical Theology of Missions (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972)
- John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993)
- Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)
- Eric E. Wright, A Practical Theology of Missions: Dispelling the Mystery; Recovering the Passion (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2010)