A typical church generally has about 5-10% of its members who are committed to world missions. They are the ones who pray regularly for missionaries and recruit others to get involved in missions work. Unfortunately they are also often seen as an “elite” group, more “mature and concerned about the Great Commission,” and the rest of the congregation as not quite living out their call and obeying Christ’s last command.
Happily, this is not the case with us. At the present moment, New Life is made up of 35 house churches and all of them, except one that has just recently multiplied, are named after a mission field and are supporting a missionary who is serving in that area. It is a membership requirement that anyone who wants to become a member of New Life must also become a member of a house church, and every member is aware of and connected to at least one missionary in his life. This means, through our house church ministry, 100% of New Life members are involved in missions. The intensity and depth of involvement may vary from person to person due to their shepherd’s emphasis and their missionary correspondent’s faithfulness. But we have an excellent way of getting everyone involved in missions work.
I just want to restate a few principles regarding the selection of house church missionaries and their support that you may not be aware of. First of all, these missionaries that we are supporting through our house churches are not “our missionaries” in that New Life is not the one who commissioned them to go out. They all have their own sending church or mission organization and are ultimately responsible and accountable to them, not to New Life. God willing, we will commission New Life members out as long-term missionaries in the near future. When this happens, we will pray for, support and relate to them very differently from the missionaries who are supported by our house churches because they are our own family members. Apostle Paul said, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5: 8) This does not apply just to family. It also applies to church family.
How do we select house church missionaries?
When we began house church ministry about two years after we planted New Life, all the house churches were asked to select their missionaries from anyone their members were familiar with. The reason for doing this was to create a strong sense of ownership in praying for and supporting someone they knew rather than learning to do it for a total stranger.
We have come to a point, however, where we need to focus our hearts, energy and resources. With the team leaders praying much over the years and Pastor Tae coming to New Life as our Missions Pastor, the focus has been determined to be Southeast Asia. This means, if your house church that has just multiplied doesn’t know any missionary serving in Southeast Asia, we strongly encourage that you contact our Missions Team and get a recommendation from them.
What is house church missionary matching fund?
New Life considers each house church to be a small autonomous church. When these house churches come together they make up New Life through which they get to do even greater things for God that one house church cannot do on its own. This is not a new concept because it has always been there in the Bible. There seems to have been one big church in Corinth but it was made up of many churches that met at people’s houses. Since each house church is a tiny local church, it makes sense for house church to carry out missions work. And New Life wants to assist your house church in your missions work by matching your missionary support up to $100 per month. This means, if your house church raises $100 each month, $200 will go to your missionary, which is not a small amount of money depending on where your missionary is serving. There are many places in Southeast Asia where native missionaries can live off on $200-400 a month! Therefore, do not underestimate the financial support you are giving your missionary. Even though New Life is not their sending church, your house church may be the biggest financial contributor for their missions work.
Does every house church have to support its missionary financially?
No, you do not need to support your house church missionary financially if you choose not to. What we ask all the house churches to do is to cover them with diligent, effective prayer through frequent correspondence, because prayer is needed more than money. However, if you choose to support them financially, we ask you to do these three things. First, consider raising $50 or more every two months so that together with New Life’s matching fund at least $100 can be sent to your missionary every other month. Second, please turn in your missionary support with your house church matching form to the church office mail drop by the last Sunday of each odd month. And lastly, do this consistently and faithfully.
I hope this answers some of your questions in regards to house church missionaries and matching funds.
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