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Making Disciples of All the Nations: A Plan for Reformed Foreign Missions

Contents

This Plan was adopted by the Committee on Foreign Missions as its own working document on September 29, 1993. As part of the adopting motion, the New Fields Subcommittee was requested to propose revisions to the Committee's policy Manual to bring the Manual into conformity with the Plan with the realization that the process may also result in proposing additional amendments to the Plan itself. Minor amendments to the Plan were adopted on February 23, 1994 and are reflected herein.

The Command

"Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you."

The Objectives

The Carrying Out of the Committee's Work

The foreign missions work of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is conducted through its Committee on Foreign Missions as a part of the Church's total Worldwide Outreach program. Bearing in mind the primacy of Divine grace in all things, we recognize that it pleases our Sovereign Lord to work through his covenant people to accomplish his purposes and that it is our duty to respond in obedience to all of his commands. Realizing that he upholds, directs, and disposes all things by his most wise and holy providence, we are committed to pursue aggressively every opportunity he presents to us to further the proclamation of the gospel to the nations, remembering that ultimately he is the one who provides the clear and focused opportunity, the necessary personnel, and the required support.

Accordingly, the Committee establishes the following to carry out its mandate:

For each field, the Committee gathers, organizes, and deploys:

As the Lord sees fit to use our labors to further the growth and maturation of the indigenous Reformed church, we fully anticipate the time when the OP foreign missions work in any particular field is completed and the resources transferred to other fields which he opens up to us.

Part One: Fully Operational Fields

Goal: Establishment of a healthy indigenous national church:

Strategy

Assessment

  • Conduct ourselves at all times as his ambassadors and servants in such a manner that those looking at us are able to see our Savior at work in us
  • Do we adorn our profession with a godly walk?
  • Are we a living testimony to his grace that is at work within us?
  • Demonstrate our love for the Shepherd's lost sheep which impels us to share the gospel at every opportunity and to spend and be spent for their sakes
  • Do we aggressively make the most of every opportunity he gives us to share the gospel?
  • Acquire proficiency in the national language and a comprehensive understanding of the indigenous religion(s) and culture(s)
  • Are we able to preach effectively in the national language?
  • Do we understand the indigenous religion(s) and culture(s)?
  • Are we effectively able to meet the arguments of the indigenous religion(s) biblically?
  • If there is not an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience, the mission shall, as its principal task, labor to establish such through:
    • the preaching of the Word
    • the gathering of believers for worship
    • personal evangelism
    • the formation of Bible studies to provide systematic instruction in the Reformed faith
    • catechetical instruction
    • the training of biblically qualified men for church office
    • the writing, republication, or translation of appropriate biblical literature
    • other scriptural means
  • Is there an indigenous Reformed church with whon we can work in good conscience?
  • If not, are our best efforts going towards the establishment of one?
  • Is the Holy Spirit converting people through our ministry?
  • If there is not an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience, but there is an indigenous evangelical church which earnestly desires OP ministers to come and work with it, the mission shall labor to reform such church from within through the means listed immediately above, bearing in mind the considerations listed below
  • Are there biblically qualified men for church office being trained?
  • Are we using only scriptural means to establish the church?
  • If there is not an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience, but there is an indigenous evangelical church which earnestly desires OP ministers to come and work with it, the mission shall labor to reform such church from within through the means listed immediately above, bearing in mind the considerations listed below
  • Are we still welcome in the indigenous evangelical church?
  • Is the church with whom we are working reforming from within?
  • If there is an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience, the mission shall labor to supply their needs as the Lord gives us the resources, bearing in mind the following considerations:
    • the primary emphasis of our work is the proclamation of the Word in all its fullness, either directly through OP missionary ministers or indirectly through the training of biblically qualified indigenous pastors
    • our supplying a particular need shall be done in a manner so as not to inhibit the indigenous church's progress towards becoming self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating
    • the presbyters of the indigenous church shall be encouraged to view our work as a part and extension of their own
  • Are we laboring to supply the needs of an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience?
  • Is the primary emphasis of our work the proclamation of the Word in all its fullness?
  • Are we training and/or encouraging biblically qualified indigenous pastors to preach the whole counsel of God?
  • Is the church growing in its understanding of the Reformed faith, in righteousness, in faithfulness, and in numbers?
  • Do our labors significantly inhibit the church's progress towards becoming self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating?
  • Are we performing tasks for which the indigenous church itself has the resources?
  • Are our labors viewed as an extension of the indigenous Reformed church?
  • If there is more than one indigenous Reformed church in a particular country with whom we could work in good conscience, the mission shall also promote reconciliation and cooperation between the several churches
  • Do we demonstrate and promote the unity of Christ's church?
  • Utilize appropriate ministries of mercy, bearing in mind the following:
    • ministries of mercy are subservient to the ministry of the Word
    • ministries of mercy should be placed under the oversight of the indigenous church as soon as is practicable
  • Are our ministries of mercy subservient to the ministry of the Word?
  • Are our ministries of mercy under the oversight of the indigenous church?
  • Because of the dangers of inhibiting the maturation of a church, exercise great caution when undertaking any of the following activities:
    • making cash grants or donations directly to the indigenous church
    • purchasing buildings for the indigenous church
    • employing indigenous pastors or evangelists in the mission
    • using an OP missionary to pastor a particular congregation in the indigenous church over an extended period of time
    • ministries of mercy which involve the establishment of a specialized institution
  • If we are engaged in any of these activities, are we sensitive to the issues involved and have we determined that the anticipated benefits outweigh the potential dangers from continuing in that activity?
  • Invite the maturing indigenous Reformed church to join with us in cooperative foreign missions work in another country
  • Have we invited and encouraged the indigenous church to join with us in cooperative foreign missions work in another country?
  • Facilitate communication between the indigenous Reformed church and the OPC's Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations
  • Does the OPC have fraternal relations with the indigenous Reformed church, and if not, are we working to facilitate that process?
  • As the indigenous Reformed church matures, place special emphasis on the training of its pastors within the borders of their own country
  • Are we emphasizing the indigenous training of pastors as the church matures?
  • If there is in the US a community of believing immigrants from a mission church, immigrants to the US, and OP congregations?
  • Are we promoting closer cooperation between the indigenous Reformed field, seek to promote closer cooperation between the indigenous Reformed church, the immigrants, and OP congregations
  • Do we have an effective mechanism in place for sending short-term missionaries and youth groups to the field to advance the work of the mission?
  • Consciously seek ways in which the services of short-term missionaries and youth groups can be employed to advance the work of the mission

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • By August 1 of each year, the OP mission should submit its recommended specific goals for the field for the following year so that the appropriate field subcommittee and general secretary are able to review them (and consult with the mission if necessary) prior to their presentation to the Committee in its stated September meeting
  • Are specific goals for each field being established by mutual consultation between the local mission, the field subcommittee, and the general secretary?
  • Do these field-specific goals further the primary goal for the establishment of a healthy indigenous Reformed church?
  • Develop a schedule for an in-depth review of each field not less frequently than once every five years, during which the following shall be considered:
    • the progress which has been made towards the goals
    • the anticipated resources needed on that field for the next five years
    • the desirability of establishing a date for the projected partial or complete withdrawal of OP missionary resources from that field
  • Is such a schedule in place and being followed?
  • Have we reached the point where we can turn the work over to the indigenous church and redeploy the resources elsewhere?

Part Two: Exploratory Fields

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Identify the closest (theologically) indigenous Reformed church (if any)
  • Identify the particular needs of that indigenous Reformed church which the Lord might use the OPC to supply
  • Identify and prioritize ways of meeting those needs to penetrate the particular field with the gospel
  • Identify geographical locations within the field for commencement of OP foreign missions activity
  • Bearing in mind the possible discontinuance of the work within a relatively short time frame, engage in ministries intended to meet the needs of the indigenous church and/or reach as many people as possible
  • When selecting among exploratory field opportunities, give priority to some fields that are language- and culture-friendly
  • Within two years of entering the field, decide whether to:
    • expand the work into a fully operational field
    • discontinue or phase out the work
    • extend the exploratory work for up to (but not more than) another two years
  • Is the Holy Spirit causing people to respond to our ministry with repentance and faith?
  • Is there an indigenous Reformed church with whom we can work in good conscience?
  • Are the needs of that indigenous Reformed church ones that the Lord has given us the resources to supply?
  • Will our supplying those needs undermine the responsibility of that indigenous Reformed church to be self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating?
  • How long will it take to develop a fully operational field manned by missionaries fluent in the national language?
  • How easily will the anticipated new work incorporate the services of short-term missionaries and youth groups from our congregations?
  • Is a better use of OPC foreign missionary resources currently available?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Establish a budget line item and/or restricted reserve fund to be maintained at a level sufficient for an immediate response
  • Are there sufficient reserve funds set aside for this purpose?
  • Develop a pool of personnel and other resources available for rapid deployment
  • Establish a mechanism (with appropriate safeguards) whereby the Executive Committee, upon the recommendation of the general secretary, is authorized to respond immediately on behalf of the Committee to the unique window of opportunity by:
    • identifying the window of opportunity
    • recruiting the necessary missionary personnel (making only a short-term commitment to them)
    • applying funds from the restricted reserve set aside for this purpose
    • soliciting additional funds from ready sources to meet the need
    • entering into short-term agreements for the supply of missionary services
    • establishing specific goals for the work
  • Is there a pool of personnel and other resources available for rapid deployment?
  • Has the appropriate quick-response mechanism been put in place?
  • Are there appropriate safeguards in the exercise of the quick-response mechanism?
  • Are the opportunities unique windows where time is of the essence?
  • How well has the OPC responded to the call?
  • Were the specific goals established for the response to the unique window of opportunity met?
  • At the next stated meeting of the Committee, determine whether to continue a work begun as a unique window of opportunity as an exploratory field or discontinue the work
  • Should the work begun as a response to a unique window of opportunity be continued as an exploratory field?

Part Three: Personnel

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Aggressively promote opportunities for service in OP foreign missions
  • Actively recruit qualified personnel, particularly seasoned OP ministers whose calling has been confirmed by effective ministry
  • Are we promoting opportunities for OP foreign missions service?
  • Are we actively recruiting qualified personnel?
  • Are we getting seasoned OP ministers?
  • Involve OP pastors, sessions, and presbyteries in the OP foreign missions recruitment process and encourage them to see it as a part of their overall responsibility
  • Are OP pastors, sessions, and presbyteries involved in the recruitment process and do they see it as part of their overall responsibility?
  • Provide appropriate training to career missionaries before going onto the field, while they're on the field, and when they are home on furlough
  • Are our missionaries receiving the training they need?
  • Normally, provide full financial support only to missionary ministers
  • Are we providing full financial support to any who are not ordained ministers?
  • Utilize tentmaker missionaries when and where appropriate, bearing in mind the scriptural norm that the worker is worthy of his hire
  • Are tentmakers being appropriately utilized?
  • Offer a pay and benefits package sufficient to allow the missionary the field and to be able to reenter their homeland economy
  • Is our pay and benefits package sufficient?
  • Are our missionaries living at an appropriate level on the field?
  • Are our missionaries able to reenter their homeland economy?
  • Exercise sensitivity to individual personalities when placing a missionary family on a particular field
  • Are there missionaries on a particular field whose personalities cause serious difficulties?
  • Promote and recruit for the missionary associate program, particularly among younger people just out of college who might want to test their gifts
  • Are we getting a sufficient number of qualified missionary associates?
  • Are former missionary associates applying for career service?
  • Pursue cooperative mission endeavors whereby the OPC and other Reformed churches mutually supply personnel and/or support to a work outside of their combined borders
  • Do we have cooperative foreign missions works?
  • Are we satisfied that the cooperative foreign missions works are contributing to the attainment of our goals?
  • Provide appropriate oversight to the missionaries on the field
  • Are we providing sufficient oversight to the missionaries on the field?
  • Are the missionaries reporting on a timely basis?
  • Thoroughly evaluate each missionary's work at the end of each term of service
  • Are we evaluating each missionary's work?
  • Ensure proper use is made of furloughs
  • Are furloughs being used properly?

Goal:

Strategy

Assessment

  • Plan as far ahead as possible for needed technical and professional personnel to allow sufficient time for the raising of their support
  • Is sufficient support being raised for needed technical and professional personnel?

Goal:

Strategy

Assessment

  • Encourage OP congregations and presbyteries to send short-term missionaries, young people, and retirees to assist in OP foreign missions works
  • Are short-term missionaries, young people, and retirees going to the fields?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Promote, recruit for, and maintain a list of qualified personnel available for rapid deployment
  • Are sufficient personnel available for rapid deployment?

Part Four: Support

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Ensure that all significant communications, both written and oral, offer praise to the Lord for what he has done and continues to do
  • Do our communications offer praise to the Lord?
  • Are we emphasizing the primacy of his grace in all things?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Assist pastors and sessions in their responsibility to instruct their congregations in their proper duties owed to the Lord
  • Are we offering helpful assistance to pastors and sessions in teaching their congregations about their responsibilities under the Great Commission?
  • Provide timely information that is specific regarding the work being done, the visible results being seen there from, and the plans for the future of the work (including new fields and the expansion of existing fields)
  • Does information that provides the specific details regarding the work being done, the visible results being seen therefrom, and the plans for the future of the work (including new fields and the expansion of existing fields) reach the presbyteries, sessions, and congregations on a timely basis?
  • Are people encouraged by what they see the Lord doing through us so that they want to participate in OP foreign missions?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Encourage generous giving to the entire Worldwide Outreach program of the OPC
  • Do our promotional materials encourage the support of the entire Worldwide Outreach program of the OPC?
  • Are we avoiding intercommittee competition for support in the OPC?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Provide timely information through the following means to the members of the OPC which presents opportunities for them to participate in the conduct of OP foreign missions:
    • New Horizons articles and prayer calendars
    • Telenews articles and prayer requests
    • Regular missionary newsletters with prayer requests
    • Missionary itineration
    • General secretary's itineration
    • Committee members' itineration
    • Itineration of members or representatives of other OP committees
    • Other articles and media presentations
  • Is quality information regarding opportunities to participate in the conduct of OP foreign missions reaching the members of the OPC on a timely basis?
  • Are all of our churches and presbyteries visited regularly?
  • Include a challenge to missionary service whenever young people are being addressed on behalf of the Committee
  • Is the next generation being challenged to OP foreign missionary service?
  • Is the next generation responding to the challenge to OP foreign missionary service?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Challenge congregations and presbyteries of missionaries going to new fields to consider entering into a special relationship with the Committee for their support, stressing that such giving should be over and above their regular commitment towards the General Assembly–approved budget
  • Are new special relationships being formed?
  • Is the giving in new special relationships over and above the regular Worldwide Outreach commitment?
  • Are we able to accurately measure whether such giving is truly over and above?
  • Aggressively present the opportunities for foreign missions service the Lord has given to the OPC to other interested members of the Reformed community
  • Are other interested members of the Reformed community giving towards OP foreign missions works?
  • Are we actively presenting such opportunities to them?
  • As financial resources become available without an immediate corresponding use for foreign missions work, establish a reserve fund for quick responses to unique windows of opportunity
  • Are there sufficient funds to support the OP foreign missionaries called by the Lord to carry the gospel to all the nations?
  • Are financial reserves being established for quick responses to unique windows of opportunity?
  • Pursue cooperative mission endeavors whereby the OPC and other Reformed churches or groups mutually supply personnel and/or support to a work outside of their combined borders
  • Do we have cooperative foreign missions works?
  • Are we satisfied that the cooperative foreign missions works are contributing to the attainment of our goals?
  • Involve as many as possible in the production of high-quality literature about OP foreign missions works
  • Is high-quality literature about OP foreign missions works being produced?
  • Emphasize the overwhelming need for prayer for the work of OP foreign missions
  • Is the need for prayer being emphasized?
  • Are presbyteries, sessions, congregations, and individuals praying for our missionary effort?

Goal

Strategy

Assessment

  • Ensure that in all matters, particularly involving finances, we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men, taking precaution that no one discredit us in the administration of the gifts of his people
  • Do we provide a proper accounting of all that has been entrusted to us?
  • Does appropriate information regarding how their gifts have been used reach the presbyteries, sessions, and congregations?
  • Do we demonstrate good stewardship of all that has been entrusted to us?
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