Missions Support Guidelines
Grace Church places a high priority on world missions. It is our desire as a church family to help missionaries spread the gospel in Central Iowa, the State of Iowa, the United States, and on foreign fields throughout the world. At the same time, however, it is our desire to be strategic with our missions dollar and to place our resources in areas we believe will have the greatest impact.
DEFINITION OF A MISSIONARY
For the purposes of our Missions Ministry, we define a missionary as a man or woman who, sensing the specific call of the Lord on their life, surrenders to the ministry in a foreign field or within the United States to another culture.
PRIORITY ONE: Local Church Planting
It is also our belief that the local church is the key instrument in building up the body of believers and in energizing them towards evangelism. We believe the New Testament clearly defines the role of the local church in this effort and more importantly, the role of the pastor in equipping the saints for service and doing the work of an evangelist. It is our desire, therefore, to support missionaries who are directly involved with the ministry of church planting and serving as either the pastor of a local church plant or a support staff person to this pastor. This will be the first criteria new missionary prospects must pass before being considered for regular monthly support from Grace Church.
PRIORITY TWO: Peru
As a church we stand in a unique situation with Pastor Phil Winfield as our pastor. Pastor Phil is a missionary to Peru, and the Lord has used him greatly to build a network of churches and Peruvian Nationals. We are committed to this work in Peru and it is our desire to place top priority on continually building the ministry in Peru. This will be reflected in our missions budget.
PRIORITY THREE: Missionaries from Grace
We also recognize that some from within our own body have surrendered to missions and are today serving on both foreign fields and at home. It is our desire to continue to support these existing ministries and to encourage future missionaries from our church. It is the desire of our pastor and our elders to assist couples however possible in reaching the field. Part of this process will involve a careful examination of the life and ministry of a prospective couple and the specific call to missions. It is our desire to send men and women who will be effective for the cause of Christ and who are confident in their abilities to minister and of their call to missions. When our elders are in complete agreement on a man or woman’s call to missions and of their spiritual qualifications, we will encourage that person to seek the necessary professional training (through GEMS) and to begin the process of application to a missions board.
LEVELS OF SUPPORT
How much we support individuals or ministry organizations depends on many criteria:
- What is the specific ministry of the individual or organization? If it directly involves the planting of a local church, this will receive our highest level of support.
- What are the specific skills or gifts of the individual in question? We realize that not everyone on the field can be a D. L. Moody or Billy Graham. However, there are men serving on the field today who are extremely capable and are impacting entire nations for Christ. It is our desire to support these individuals with the highest level of support our budget will allow.
- What are the specific needs of the individual? Not every missionary leaves the U.S. with the same needs. Some countries by their very nature are more costly to live in and do ministry than others, this must be considered.
Our missions support is divided into the following categories:
Missions / Ministry Organizations
Level of Support for Missionaries:
- Grace Missionaries. If a missionary couple meets the qualifications defined above and is accepted as a missionary candidate by our elders, Grace Church commits to support this missionary couple at an amount not to exceed $6,000 per year. This support will be added in proportion to the amount of support they are raising through deputation. Grace Church will also commit to a one-time gift of $5,000 towards a missionary families outfit and passage when all support has been raised and the missionary family is ready to depart for the foreign field.
- Non-Grace Missionaries. Missionary couples who come to Grace Church seeking support must meet the qualifications defined above and accepted as a missionary candidate by our missions team. Grace Church commits to support this missionary couple at an amount not to exceed $2,400 per year.
- Highly Effective Missionaries. In an effort to be strategic with our missions dollar, Grace Church is looking for missionaries who are highly effective in their efforts to impact a nation for Christ. The fruits of this ministry include the planting of several church, a strong emphasis on evangelism and discipleship and the equipping and training of national pastors through the establishment of training centers, Bible colleges and seminaries. Grace Church desires to support these men without limitations as the Lord leads. Grace also desires to develop long-term relationships with these men through the sending of missions teams and funding for specific missions projects.
Level of Support for Missions / Ministry Organizations
In an effort to have an influence within our community, Grace Church will support a limited number of parachurch organizations whose missions is not church planting. The maximum level of support for these organizations is $1,200 per year.
Level of Support for Missions Trips
Grace Church places a high priority on short-term missions opportunities and we encourage our church family to participate in the church-sponsored missions trips. Our missions team will make every effort to offer a variety of trips to both foreign and home locations and to provide a variety of trips with varying costs. We also encourage our church family to consider the experience of raising the funds for a trip a faith-building matter. There are, however, from time-to-time individuals who desire to go on a trip but are unable to raise the total amount needed. Grace Church will provide limited funds to assist those in need. The level of support will not exceed 25 percent of the total cost of the trip.
Level of Support for Missions Projects
We encourage missionaries to support requests for special projects within their field of ministry. Priority will be given to projects that are focused on church planting, evangelistic campaigns, or the establishment of training centers for national pastors.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide general direction in future funding through our missions budget. We recognize, however, that the Holy Spirit may present us with opportunities that fall outside of these guidelines or in some way contradict a guideline. The elders reserve the right, at the direction and encouragement of the pastor, to provide funding to individuals or organizations that the elders deem worthy of an exception.