Before Reading the Criteria
The church sets aside a portion of its resources to be invested in mission. Based on what we believe about mission and ministry, outlined in our Mission Philosophy, we’ve determined to use this fund specifically to finance the long-term sending of individuals and organizations to serve vocationally in communities both local and abroad.
There are many forms of travel and service that simply do not fit this explanation. Some of that could include what we deem insensitive or unwise approaches to ministry, such as traveling to foreign villages to hand out American toys to strangers’ children. In this case, our hope would be to persuade and equip the participant to serve otherwise, in a more respectful and empowering manner. However, some projects may actually be rooted in a wise and careful approach to ministry, but still not fall into the parameters of the mission fund. There are indeed some good approaches to short-term ministry, for instance, that we may encourage. However, we will not invest in it.
There’s bad ministry we want to address and rethink and there’s good ministry we want to affirm, and then there’s good ministry we define as mission. It looks like entering into a place for a long time to live and listen and serve. It isn’t necessarily better in the sense that it’s what everyone should be doing, but it is, in a word, our priority. This means that you may be doing amazing ministry in your life that we want to celebrate but not finance, so that we can put more of our money into incarnational mission.
In our culture, the natural response to any disqualification is to feel offended and alienated like a second-class citizen. Please bear with us in grace because our intentions are exactly the opposite. Every one of us is far more valuable, far more loved and known and cared for, than to receive our affirmation from a funding decision. Together, let us be a church that sharpens one another in love and truth, actually spurring one another toward great ministry, whether the church gives money to it or not. This fund is not your stamp of approval. And let us be a church that is so devoted to God’s purposes that we can look around and say, for example, “If God has her in a better position to reach people than me, then more for her and less for me.” Our bottom line isn’t promoting our own individual part in the kingdom, but rather the kingdom as a whole. Therefore, let’s learn to selflessly celebrate and promote one another’s ministries while remaining fiercely devoted to serving well in whatever situation God has us.
1. The primary purpose of the ministry must be the benefit of those being served, not those serving.
2. The community being served must have requested the ministry.
3. The reason for all short-term trips or projects must be a greater, individual, long-term commitment to ongoing ministry, meaning the trip isn’t the end in itself, but rather a small part of the overall partnership. This means an existing commitment demands the trip, rather than simply allowing an opportunity for the real goal of participation.
4. Participants must exhibit the maturity and ability to support the long-term Spiritual growth of those they desire to serve.
5. The ministry must align with our Mission Philosophy and values.