Baptists > Ministries > Missions
   "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the
world, and preach the gospel to every creature." 
                                                      ~ Mark 16:15 
   The "Great Commission" to go out and preach the Gospel to "every creature" is taken very seriously by the Baptists.  To these Bible believing Christians, missions is considered to be the heartbeat of every church.  In fact, the Baptists will tell you that no church can expect God's blessings upon it unless it is placing due emphasis on foreign missions.  This is accomplished by both financial and prayer support.
   However, true to form, the Baptists do not always use the same approach in fulfilling of the Great Commission.  However, two basic methods are used to accomplish the same goal...

   Church Chosen Missionaries: Congregations which choose this method of missions outreach do so by having missionaries from approved boards and colleges come to the church for the purpose of presenting their work.  If the church is so inclined, they vote to add those missionaries whom they feel led of God to their local church missions program.  Missionaries raise enough support to finance a three to four year stay on a respective mission field.  While there, they send monthly letters to their supporting churches to provide updates as to the progress of the work while returning at the end of each term to personally report to each supporting church.
   Many of those Baptist churches who prefer to choose their own missionaries use the Faith Promise method of support.   Church members are challenged once a year to commit a specific amount over and above the tithe to missions giving.  The concept is that, by faith, they allow God's Spirit to speak to them and then promise to give that amount to missions over the next twelve months.  It can be given weekly, monthly, or in a lump sum, however, their experience has shown that those who give their pledges from pay check to pay check usually results in stronger and more consistent missions giving.  The annual Faith Promise Missions Conference is a highlight of the church year featuring several of the church supported missionaries for anywhere from a weekend to a full week of missions emphasis.

   Group Chosen Missionaries: There are those Baptists who prefer to support missionaries who are approved by an association, a convention, or a fellowship of churches of "like faith."  The missionaries are approved by a board which is elected by the churches to perform the function of sorting through various missionary candidates for the purpose of choosing those who qualify based on the standards of the group.  Once approved, the missionaries begin receiving the financial support that is needed so that they are able to go to their respective fields of service and fulfill their ministries.  This support is derived from churches who designate a percentage of their overall receipts to the cause of missions.
   Those churches which prefer this method co-operate together to provide the monies needed to support this approach to missions.  Although the churches are not able to point to specific missionaries, nor do they receive letters or end-of-term visits from them, those who prefer this method feel that it's strength is in allowing the missionary to save precious time by not having to return every three or four years to report to their supporting churches.  By transferring the responsibility to maintain and track the work to the group missions board, missionaries are able to stay on their fields indefinitely as long as they are able to demonstrate to the board that their work continues to progress.

   Both of these approaches are quite different in their methodology while proving over many years of experience that they are effective as well.  Regardless of those who have argued the supposed superiority of one method over the other, the real difference is that of those who prefer more intimate contact with those missionaries whom they support as contrasted to those who prefer to allow them the freedom to stay on the field without needing to return every four years to report.  Also, while those who prefer the church chosen approach favor the concept of being closer to the work of those missionaries whom they have specifically determined to support, those who prefer the group chosen approach argue that they avoid over supporting or under supporting missionaries by giving the group missions board the ability to determine what is really needed by each missionary.
   The bottom line is that both methods work.  Baptists are the largest supporters of missions work in the world.  Virtually every nation that allows missionaries serves as a location for active Baptist missionary involvement.  Many millions of dollars are contributed each year to this cause by believers who are impressed with the desire to see the gospel preached to every creature and they are succeeding.

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