We recognise that this is a fallible document and thus there will always be the need for periodic review and subsequent necessary changes as the light of Scripture and missions experience fine tune our viewpoints. Nevertheless, it shall serve as a binding document as administered by the elders of BBC.
A “missionary” is a disciple of Jesus Christ who has been called by God and sent out by the 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 “sent missionary” is a missionary whom BBC has sent under the leadership of the elders, commissioned to represent BBC as missionaries.
“Support” speaks of financial support.
“Furlough” is a period of time, approved by the eldership, wherein the missionary takes a break from his field of service, returns to BBC, and reports on his ministry, re-establishes relationships within BBC, and is refreshed to resume ministry.
“Retirement” is when the missionary ceases to fulfil the ministry that he was sent to accomplish.
A “term” refers to the period of service in which the missionary is serving on the field in his capacity as a missionary. The length of the term will vary but it is expected that the missionary will serve an uninterrupted term of at least three years before taking a furlough.
A “minister” is one who does not meet the definition of “missionary” but who receives missions support for his or her ministry.
The Sending of Missionaries
BBC will only commission 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 the above);
- competence (the proven ability to effectively minister the gospel of Jesus Christ as evidenced by the making of disciples in his home and within BBC); and
- communion (the relationship of the missionary with the local church must be above reproach and there will 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, thus, sent missionary will minister under the authority of BBC.
With regards to this it is essential that the missionary reflects the doctrine of the church in his ministry. When it comes to major doctrinal issues there must be loyalty to the position of the church as is reflected in the public ministry of the word. It is however recognised that there are various issues that fall under the heading of “things disputed” and charity must prevail in these issues of conscience.
The missionary is being sent by the church to reproduce the biblical ministry of BBC and thus it is essential that the missionary be in close contact with the church. But it is also equally incumbent upon the elders to keep close with the missionary.
Missionaries sent by BBC are deemed to be fully trustworthy and thus much freedom is given to the missionary as to how he engages in his ministry. After all, he will know the culture better than we. And yet within this freedom it is assumed that there will faithfulness to the doctrine and policies of BBC.
Missionaries should only enter into partnership with other ministries on the field with prior discussion with the elders. This may protect the ministry from some subtle and yet grave dangers.
Missionaries sent by BBC are required to keep their own financial records with regard to support received from both individuals and local churches. The church undertakes to send monthly statements from the missionary’s bank accounts to him. The missionary is responsible for receipting those who from whom he receives support.
Missionaries will not be sent to the field of service until all debt incurred by them has been satisfied unless by exceptional agreement of the elders to the contrary.
Missionaries, in conjunction with the eldership, will establish the monthly support level for the missionary, his family and ministry. The eldership may refuse to release the missionary to his field unless sufficient funds have been raised. In the event of the missionary losing considerable support while on the field the eldership may call him home for the purpose of raising sufficient funds.
Missionaries receiving designated funds for specific projects, ministries, etc. will be required to limit those funds for such designated expenses.
As members of BBC, it is expected that the missionary will give his tithe to BBC. The purpose behind this policy is for the sake of safeguarding the indigenous ministry from the danger of becoming dependent upon the financial support of the missionary. This policy will be carried under the discretion of the eldership.
With regards to the faith promise commitment, it is advisable that the missionary make this gift into his immediate ministry needs.
Missionaries are not to actively raise funds from individuals who are members of BBC. In such case wherein a member desires to individually support the missionary this should never be at the expense of diverting funds from other commitments at BBC. In such cases the eldership needs to be informed of this.
Missionaries are expected to fulfil all financial obligations in the field of their ministry and are not permitted to be in debt.
The Support of Missionaries/Ministers
Sent missionaries: BBC will endeavour to sacrificially support (financially) its member missionaries. The giving status of the church will determine the actual amount. It is the stated goal that BBC will provide the bulk of the financial needs of its missionaries. Currently (2011) BBC is covering 85 to 90% of the financial support of our church sent missionaries.
Our missionaries will be supported by the sacrificial giving of our membership through our faith promise / missions giving.
The general fund may be used if there are available funds and if the eldership deems this to be a wise, prudent and necessary use of such funds.
Non-member missionaries: The eldership will interview those designated as missionaries from other churches of like faith.
Those missionaries must be sent from and under the authority of their local church.
Those missionaries must be in agreement with the doctrine of BBC concerning the Great Commission, as well as soteriologically and ecclesiastically.
Though BBC’s priority is the sending and supporting of her own, she is willing to help those, when possible, from other local churches when funds are available and when the leadership senses the Lord’s leadership to do so.
BBC will primarily focus on supporting missionaries who will be making disciples in areas where there is no other biblical local church doing so.
Ministers: Those involved in ministry that seek financial support but whom do not meet the definition of “missionary” may be considered for financial support provided the following criteria are met.
The minister must be a member in good standing of a biblical local church of like faith in accordance with BBC.
The ministry must be under the authority of, and thus accountable to a local church. BBC recognises the local church as God’s instrument for the furtherance of his kingdom, not parachurch organisations. Hence those in the employ of parachurch organisations, that is, those ministries, which are not directly accountable to a local church will not normally be considered for regular support.
Selecting a Field of Service by Those Sent Out from BBC
With regard to sent missionaries, the church, under the guidance of the elders, will select a field of service based on at least four criteria: survey of need; survey of required support; survey of feasibility; and government restrictions, etc.
The eldership of BBC will review all requests for furlough and will make necessary recommendations concerning the viability of such leave.
The eldership also reserves the right to require a missionary to take furlough when they deem it to be necessary.
All missionaries on furlough must submit their plan and schedule for the eldership’s approval. This is to safeguard both the missionary and the church.
BBC requires its missionaries to send a prayer letter from the field bi-monthly to report to its supporting churches as well as to give recognition that funds have been received. BBC will render assistance when needed and if able, but the responsibility rests on the missionary.
BBC-sent missionaries are required to identify BBC as their sending church on all prayer cards and newsletter stationary.
BBC requires all non-member missionaries to send a prayer letter to BBC bi-monthly. Failure to do so may result in the withholding of funds until correspondence is resumed.
Assessment of Ministry
Missionaries sent from BBC will be assessed as to their effectiveness in ministry over the period of their ministry. Occasional visits will be 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 will also be assessed periodically as to whether such ministries are in line with the biblical objectives of BBC. It is our desire to strengthen such ministries as is needed and asked for.
As a missionary is considered to be an employee of BBC, his retirement falls under the concern of the church. Yet the responsibility for one’s years of retirement falls exclusively to the missionary.
Though one never retires from service to the Lord, practical considerations sometimes require that a missionary retire from his sphere of service. Thus, the eldership of BBC will help in the assessing of when such retirement is advisable.
Once retirement commences, BBC’s financial obligation ceases.
No missionary from BBC will be sent to the field without his monthly commitment to contributing to a pension fund. In this way the missionary will have a pension for his retirement.
Normal retirement age is 65 but the elders will use their discretion to make exceptions when necessary.
All BBC-sent missionaries are required to have a medical aid, either in South Africa or in the country in which they are ministering.
Failure to comply with this will in no way bind BBC to cover incurred medical expenses. Unless otherwise decided, no BBC missionary may seek to raise funds for medical expenses from other supporting churches.
The eldership of BBC is entrusted with the stewardship of the gospel and also with that of the church’s finances, direction and ministry. Thus, if a BBC-sent missionary is deemed to be heretical (doctrinally perverse or significantly doctrinally contrary to BBC) or unqualified to represent BBC due to character and/or conduct failure, the eldership has the responsibility and right to call the missionary home from the field to (1) restore the missionary and/or (2) to remove the missionary permanently from his sphere of service. In the event of either of the above, those supporting the disciplined missionary would be immediately informed buy the eldership.
Such action will entail eventual cutting off of all financial obligation within an agreed period of time.
All BBC-sent missionaries that change their membership to another local church will, in so doing, render null and void all of BBC’s administrative and financial obligations.
Statement of Agreement with the Missions Policy of Brackenhurst Baptist Church
I hereby declare that I have read the above document and that I am in agreement with its terms and stipulations and that I am committed to abiding by it.
Name of local church to which ministry is accountable:
Name of pastor:
Signature of pastor: