Question about Mission Agencies for missionaries:

"Why do sending agencies require missionaries to be members or active in a local church?"

"The agency needs to know you have a track record."

Answer from Justin, who served in both France and Morocco with Pioneers, and is now recruiting and training new missionaries as well as helping local churches develop their own mission strategies.

Mission agencies don't know you from Adam. So they look to your church. Your church should know whether you are a godly person, whether you are trustworthy, and how you have engaged in ministry. The agency will rely on the testimony of your church to know whether they should send you to represent Christ.

Your church is also likely going to be the major financial support for you if you do become a missionary. It's hard to raise support without a sending church. Similarly, it's hard to get organized prayer behind you and bombarding the dark places of this world without a sending church supporting you, holding the ropes emotionally, financially, and spiritually for you.

Many mission agencies are passionate about church planting. If you're not a part of a church, you're probably not going to be a good church planter.

"The Body of Christ can accomplish so much more."

Answer from Alan in North Carolina, who has served in missions for 24 years—18 with Pioneers and six with TWR International.

Being a part of a local church (regular attendee, member, or just a regular part of a small group) means that you are an active part of the Body of Christ and as a member of the Body of Christ you can serve each other in complementary ways and can accomplish much more as a complete body than as just a part of the body.

I served in junior high and high school church ministry for a few years before going to the mission field, and those church members, the kids' parents, and the church leadership grew to trust me and believe in God’s calling on my life. Many of them have been faithful prayer and financial supporters for over twenty years!

“Not forsaking the fellowship of other believers” is not only important for every believer but even more important for someone who senses God calling them to serve him in missions.

"Submission to authority is important for all of us."

Answer from Thomas who has served for 18 years with Reformed Church in America in Niger and Haiti.

One of the spiritual realities of the Kingdom is the necessity to respect authority. Heaven is hierarchical with archangels and angels who have specific responsibilities. Jesus himself said in John 5: 19 "...Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." If Jesus denied his own will to follow the Father’s, we must do the same. God has placed authority structures over us for our benefit (See Romans 13).

Lucifer was essentially a rebel who refused to respect Kingdom authority. 1 Sam. 15:23 states, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." Since we are called to be members of the body and to fellowship with other believers that we submit to and hold ourselves accountable to, not doing so is a form of rebellion and disobedience to God’s Word.

Quite frankly, church membership is a sign of spiritual maturity.

One way to read many Bible stories of the great people of faith is to understand them as documentation of how God took proud and independent people and re-formed them into humble servants who learned how to be submissive to God’s good plans. Ask God to lead you to a mission-minded church that will prepare you for the humble submission that cross-cultural ministry requires.

Were these answers helpful? Pass it along:

Subscribe to the AskaMissionary Newsletter

More information and a sample issue can be found on our newsletter page.