Regional Resource Center
1091 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509
Becoming a Part of the Missionary Church,
Michigan Regional Resource Center
“What it Means and What it Does Not Mean”
What is the Missionary Church?
In the broadest sense, the Missionary Church is over 160,000 people in more than 1500 congregations in 29 countries. Over 400 of these congregations are in the United States. The Missionary Church is a growing denomination. Churches are now being started at a rate of three per month. Our missions outreach has expanded into 12 new countries in the past decade.
The Missionary Church came into existence as a result of the spiritual revivals that swept across North America in the late 19th century. The evangelistic fervor of the revivals continued through an aggressive program of missionary activity. The worldwide vision of the Missionary Church has made an impact on world evangelism far out of proportion to its size.
In short, the Missionary Church is an evangelical denomination committed to worldwide evangelism, discipleship and multiplication of growing churches. With the home office located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Missionary Church joins with its affiliate organizations, World Partners (world missions), Bethel College (Mishawaka, Indiana), and the Church Multiplication Training Center (Fort Wayne, IN), to aggressively communicate the message of Christ.
The Missionary Church is a legally incorporated family of interdependent churches that have freely chosen to link themselves together in order to accomplish assignments for God as a team which could not be done alone.
The Missionary Church, Michigan Region, is one of 16 U.S. regions with its home office in Burton, Michigan (Flint). Its staff includes the Regional Superintendent (Jim Keller), Ministries Director (Al Yerke), Church Planting Director (Mike Cadrette), Church Health Director (Stan Liechty), Youth Director (Tim Patch), Children’s Director (Christine Crocker), Hispanic Director (Martin Roman) and two secretaries. Their responsibilities are to manage a variety of services that include pastoral placement and support, pastor-parish relations, Christian education, a variety of children’s and youth ministries and church planting.
However, the Michigan Region of the Missionary Church is not really at an office in Flint. It is comprised of the 54 local churches in 54 communities throughout Michigan where the ministry of the Gospel takes place. The Regional Resource Center organization exists to serve and facilitate the work of the local church and not vice versa.
Becoming a Missionary Church – What it Does Mean.
1. It means becoming a part of a team. The Missionary Church is more like a team than an institution -- more like a family than an organization. A team works together for a common goal. The members of a team both give to and receive from the benefits of their commitment to the team. Historically, the people of the Missionary Church have been cooperative in nature demonstrating good unity in the Faith.
2. It means a commitment to live by the driving motivation of a progressive mission statement. Many local churches have adopted their own mission statements to articulate their local ministry goals, but the following statements, summarize key concepts that guide the overall ministry of the United States church and the Michigan Region respectively.
“The Missionary Church, in obedience to Jesus Christ her Lord,
is committed to being holy people of God in the world
and to building His church by worldwide evangelism, discipleship and
multiplication of growing churches all to the Glory of God.”
“The heart of the Missionary Church Michigan Region
is to cultivate healthy churches that multiply and
develop devoted followers of Jesus Christ.”
3. It means a commitment to becoming a global-minded church. Actively pursuing a vision, that includes spreading the gospel throughout the whole world, is a distinctive of the Missionary Church. About 121 missionaries minister in 30 countries. Twenty-two additional missionaries serve “on loan” with other mission agencies. God is blessing U.S. churches that participate in worldwide missions.
The globe also includes our own backyard here in the State of Michigan and throughout the United States. Planting new churches has proven to be a most effective tool for outreach. Church multiplication is picking up in pace. God has blessed the Missionary Church with the opportunity to see more than 200 churches planted during the decade of the 90’s. This multiplication will excel as local churches catch the vision to birth new churches. Each local church is urged to be a part of this global outreach activity in some way.
4. It means your pastor and his wife are a part of a support team made up of other pastors, pastors wives and experienced church leaders.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
- Accountability. The pastors of the Missionary Church are responsible to their District Superintendent and the President of the Denomination. They are accountable for their own personal integrity and effectiveness in ministry. This authority is not “lorded over” the pastor, but provided as an aid to the enhancement of his ministry.
- Team spirit & support.
“No Man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”
(John Donne, 16th cent. English poet & clergyman)
The Michigan Region works hard to cultivate a team spirit among the pastors, where competition is minimized and mutual care for one another is a priority. Many of the pastors are linked together in ministry partner relationships for prayer and encouragement. We are living in an age when the art of developing healthy relationships is often rare. A cultural war of values is also taking place which militates against living a holy life. Building healthy inter-dependence is extremely important. “...in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5).
- Continuing Education. Through a variety of conferences and continuing education programs, Missionary Church pastors are regularly exposed to up-to-date instruction for help in their preaching and leadership. This kind of education also includes the healthy interaction with other pastors as they encourage one another and share their praise reports of what God is doing.
5. It means help in the pastoral search process. A pastoral change is a strategic time in the life of a church. While the primary responsibility for the selection process lies with the local church, each District church has the District Superintendent at its side, helping them to find approved candidates, conduct interviews, and eventually to make their selection.
6. It means tapping into a rich theological heritage. For some groups their history is a ball and chain that stifles progress and adaptability. The Missionary Church of today is using its history as a launching pad for aggressive outreach. While our message from the Biblical record is unchangeable, our methods of communication must adapt and change to reach the culture for Christ.
The heritage of the Missionary Church is best understood if one is aware that the early leaders had a singular commitment to the position that the Scriptures were to be the primary source of doctrine and life. In addition to this commitment to be a Biblical church, the theological perspective of the Missionary Church recognizes the contribution of John Wesley’s emphasis on “the warmed heart”; A. B. Simpson’s fourfold emphasis on Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King; the Anabaptist concepts of community and brotherhood; and the evangelical emphasis of the lost estate of mankind and redemption through Jesus Christ.
The Missionary Church, then, is a unique blend of the thought and life of a people who have sought to build their church according to the Scriptures with an appreciation for their historical roots.
7. It means access to a variety of supportive services for the local church. Both at the Denominational and District level there are a number of benefits available to the whole team of churches.
a. Church Multiplication Support. The Missionary Church has demonstrated a persistent vision for a church multiplication movement in the State of Michigan, throughout the United States and around the world. Great care is taken to provide financial assistance in the first 2-3 years of the new church’s life. All church planters receive training at a church planter’s BootCamp, sponsored by the Church Multiplication Training Center. The District also provides a supportive environment for the planter and his wife that includes coaching and interaction with other planters.
b. Church Health and Redevelopment. Helping established churches to become healthy and productive is a growing need, especially as a church ages and, sometimes, loses effectiveness. We have training and coaching now available to help a church “turn-around” and redevelop its mission, strategy and outreach to its community.
c. Youth Ministry. The youth ministry of the entire Denomination and District is built around the mission of establishing in every local church a youth ministry that is winning the curious, building the convinced and equipping the committed. Through Bible quizzing, a variety of camping and youth conference events and several kinds of youth mission team experiences (domestic and foreign), the Missionary Church is aggressively targeting its youth with strong, up-to-date programs that help build disciples for Christ.
d. Financial Services. Two healthy financial organizations are available to Missionary Churches and their constituents. Michigan Missionary Loans and Investments, Inc. (MML&I) and the Missionary Church Investment Foundation, Inc. (MCIF), both provide opportunities for investment and financing with competitive and reasonable rates of interest.
e. Camp Ministries. The Michigan Region owns two separate campgrounds and conducts a variety of camping programs for children, youth, families, and various interest groups (i.e. hunters, men’s ministries, women’s ministries). Brown City and Mancelona Camps are events that spring from the revival movement, and the camp meeting tradition.
f. Christian Education. For continuing education, a number of different training events and services are available for lay volunteers and pastors. A growing audio and video lending library is also kept at the District office to provide resources that otherwise may not be affordable.
1. Church Health Conference. Offered every other year in the Spring, the conference presents practical ideas for church health and discipleship.
2. Christian Ministries Conference. This conference, located in Flint, is a one-day event, also held every other year in the Spring. A variety of training seminars for volunteer church workers and pastors are featured.
3. Ministry training opportunities: The Christian Ministries Institute of Warren and the Pastoral Leadership Institute (on-line) offer college level courses to prepare second-career people for the pastorate and ministry in local churches.
8. It means participation in the financial ministry needs of the District and National Church. God has blessed the Michigan Region and the Missionary Church Denomination with generous cooperation when it comes to the finances necessary to fund worldwide outreach and ministry. This pooling of resources is each team member’s voluntary involvement in the team’s efforts to fulfill the Great Commission as outlined in Matthew 28:19. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
- The Michigan Region Ministries. Each year the Michigan Region Executive Board and the District Conference (comprised of each licensed minister and lay delegate(s) from each church), adopt a budget, which includes the total operation of the District’s ministries. Each local church is asked to give its share of that budget based upon 4% of its annual receipts, less bequests, averaged over the last three years. An annual statement is sent to the churches informing them of their portion, which they are asked to give proportionately on a monthly basis. New churches are phased in to their full share over a seven-year period of time.
- U. S. Ministries. Each Missionary Church is also asked to give 2% of its receipts to the U.S. ministries. This includes support for the staff assigned to lead the Denomination and manage the pastoral credentials, health & disability insurance programs and pension. A variety of other ministries flow out this giving which includes U.S. church planting, national youth ministry, Christian education, estate planning, stewardship training and a variety of other administrative responsibilities.
- The 10% Goal. Though not formally required, the District and Denomination encourage each church to tithe its income, thereby setting a good example for its parishioners to follow. This may or may not include the responsibilities mentioned above. World Missions giving needs to be a priority for every church. Many churches give far beyond 10% in support of a variety of missionary efforts that include Missionary and non-Missionary Church missionaries, Michigan Region church planting, Bethel College, local rescue missions, etc.
The above stewardship goals provide every church the opportunity to carry out the New Testament mandates for outreach and evangelism as presented in the mission statement of the Missionary Church.
Becoming a Missionary Church - What it Does Not Mean.
1. It does not mean you have to change the name of your church.
While it has been the norm for churches to include the word “Missionary” in their name, many churches in recent years have chosen a variety of names in order to relate to their community or culture. In such cases the Michigan Region asks only that a phrase such as “a ministry of the Missionary Church” be included somewhere on the church’s letterhead and literature for the purposes of avoiding deception and insuring proper identification.
2. It does not mean that you have to change the personality of your church.
The leadership of the Missionary Church has clearly demonstrated flexibility and encouragement for churches to be unique in order to reach their community for Christ. While basic doctrinal uniformity is highly valued, throughout the Missionary Church there is much variety when it comes to the socio-economic make-up of congregations, style of worship and music, building architecture, etc.
3. It does not mean you have an intruding bureaucracy looking over your shoulder.
There is a mutual accountability within the family of the Missionary Church, but there is also a trust relationship that is carefully respected. The local church under the pastor’s leadership has a monthly report responsibility to the District and an annual report to the Denominational office. The local church, however, is ultimately responsible to God for its integrity, honesty and faithfulness to Biblical truth.
4. It does not mean you are an independent church.
The Scripture teaches inter-dependence, not independence (I Corinthians 12:12-26). Mutual accountability is not only needed between individual believers, but also between churches. The Missionary Church is organized so that each church governs its own local ministry, while at the same time submitting itself voluntarily to the counsel, guidance and authority given to District and Denominational leaders. The District and Denominational leaders are chosen by the pastors and representatives of the local churches.
5. It does not mean a bundle of new restrictions. On the contrary, you will be given a strong commission to be free, creative and aggressive for dynamic, outreaching ministry. Instead of being restricted or controlled, local Missionary Churches are to be unleashed with permission to adapt their methods according to the needs that culturally relevant ministry demands.
6. It does not mean somebody else will choose your future pastors. The primary responsibility to contact pastoral candidates and, eventually, to select a pastor, is in the hands of the local church. The District Superintendent works closely with the leaders of the local church, giving them counsel in the selection process. The District Superintendent is responsible to provide and approve pastoral candidates. The screening process includes a ministry background check and doctrinal examination, which further assists the local church in locating a suitable pastoral candidate.