It is very important for every Baptist church to adopt (accept formally and put into effect) a written missions policy. The time and effort it takes to prayerfully compile and publish an approved missions policy will be greatly appreciated by the church body and its missionaries.
There are a number of questions that need to be addressed before drafting a church policy regarding missions and missionary personnel:
1. Who should the church support or not support as missionaries?
2. Which mission board or agency should be looked to for assistance in providing the needs of their missionaries: needs the church may not be able to provide?
3. Should the church give financial support to fewer missionaries for a larger amount or more missionaries for a smaller amount?
4. As a sending church should more support and assistance be given to members of the church who are missionaries than would be given to missionaries who are commissioned by another sending church?
5. What special things should the church endeavor to do for one of its members whom God has called to be a missionary (during deputation, while on furlough, while on the field and even after mission service) that would not be expected for another missionary?
6. What actions should be taken regarding missionaries that change from the field where they were deputized to serve and go to another field?
7. What should be done if a missionary resigns from one mission board or agency and joins another mission?
8. What policy should a church have for missionaries who have served for many years on the field but are no longer (for one reason or another) able to stay on the field?
9. When the church commissions one of its members as a missionary, is the commission for life (with the exception of a doctrinal or moral disqualification)?
10. When the church deputizes a missionary that has not been a member of the church, is the commitment for life (with the exception of a doctrinal or moral disqualification)?
To have a written missions statement of the church’s purpose and policy is requisite. With an adopted written policy in place, no emotional decisions or decisions based on personalities will be involved in determining what the church will or will not do in any of these specific situations.
God gave the Great Commission to the local church. Each church must know what the New Testament teaches and what God would have the church do regarding worldwide missions and the missionaries that it supports. While specific answers may not be found in the Bible for some of the present day challenges, there are principles that help to address all the important and vital aspects of the ministry of worldwide missions.