The Ministry of Missions at First Presbyterian Church—Gainesville, Georgia:
Purpose, Policies, & Procedures
First Presbyterian Church Gainesville (FPC) strives to be a “kind-hearted and mission-minded family of faith” in support of local, regional, and world mission activities. Our Ministry of Missions is multi-faceted and engages church family members of all ages in different and meaningful ways. When the collective impact of FPC’s varied commitments to missions is assessed, it is fair to say that our church family gives generously of our time, talents, and resources. However, it is also true that substantially more of our financial resources are committed annually to internal operations of programs, services, and facilities which largely benefit church members than to external priorities of serving the needs of others outside our congregation. This document highlights missional work which advance God’s Kingdom, here in the Hall County area, our region, and among all nations in the world. We pray that Holy Spirit inspires greater glory to God through a growing and productive partnership with Him through this Ministry of Missions.
God’s Word Emphasizes Engagement in Missions
Biblical accounts of the ministry of Jesus, especially the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) reflect the centrality of mission work in God’s calling to us. Jesus told his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Jesus said that the greatest commandment in the Law was to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus also said to his disciples (Matthew 20:24-29) that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” (NIV). Of all that we do as a church, may we heed God’s commandments to give highest priority to His Ministry of Missions.
How We Define “Missions”
In the Presbyterian Church USA, we understand “missions” to be “God’s work for the sake of the world He loves.” Adhering to the teachings and acts of Jesus Christ in our daily lives, and serving as His hands, feet, and embodiment in the world are central to our Christian beliefs.
In FPC’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions, our guiding statement of purpose reads:
As Christians, we are commissioned to display and convey the love and compassion of Jesus Christ for all people and the world through dedicated discipleship, selfless service, and inspirational outreach.
Each phrase in this purpose statement has special significance worth noting. Conveying the Good News in word and deed is expected of every member. Christ-like love and compassion for people in all walks of life are central components of our engagements in missions. Mission work is not only focused on serving other people throughout the world, but also on helping them improve their physical and societal environments. “Dedicated discipleship” reflects what we learn and how we become equipped to do God’s work in the world through missions. We honor “selfless service” and “inspirational outreach” as characteristics of excellence in mission work and adherence to the teachings of our Lord.
FPC’s Emphasis/Orientation in Missions
The bulk of FPC’s orientation and support for local, regional, and world missions could best be categorized as “loving and compassionate support of our neighbors in need.” In many of the mission endeavors we support, Christianity has already taken hold in the communities being served, but other human needs prevail. Direct assistance through volunteer service dominates our local mission activities and appears in some regional and world mission engagements as well. With notable exceptions, most world mission commitments take the form of financial support of missionaries and mission agencies in need of God’s blessings.
While earlier generations of FPC planted new churches locally and in North Georgia, and later held faith revivals to expand church membership, Christian evangelism remains especially important today in FPC’s world mission orientation, particularly in the 10/40 Window where less than 2% of the population is Christian, persecution of Christians is high, Christian evangelism is frequently forbidden by law, and a Bible in the native language often does not exist.
Achieving the Great Commission requires effective evangelism and church planting in the 10/40 Window and is most effectively conducted by indigenous Christ-followers. What these spiritual leaders need most from the Western church is prayer, resources, training, and mobilization support, which FPC seeks to provide.
Scope of FPC’s Priorities in Local Missions
FPC’s rich history of mission commitments to children and families in need is as strong locally as it is around the world. The Child Development Center (CDC), the first of its type in Gainesville, was launched in the church’s facilities to meet community needs in 1957. FPC was also the founding member in 1967 of the Christian Education Center, since renamed Center Point. The CDC remains a point of pride for the quality of education it provides to young children, and Center Point receives funds through the Diaconate annually. Other community agencies receiving regular support from the Diaconate include Hall-Dawson CASA, Choices Pregnancy Care Center, Family Promise, Family Ties, Gateway Domestic Violence Center, My Sister’s Place, Gainesville/Hall Community Food Pantry, Georgia Mountain Food Bank, Good News at Noon, Good News Clinic, and Meals on Wheels, North Georgia Works, Rape Response, and Salvation Army, among others.
In August 2013, the Missions Committee launched a Local Missions Expo to highlight the importance of volunteering service hours to local mission agencies. The Expo later evolved into FPC’s current Local Missions Emphasis (LME) initiative. LME supports an ever-increasing commitment of our church members’ volunteer hours of service to almost 60 non-profit social service agencies in Hall County. More than 18,000 volunteer hours of service are given annually to a wide range of community needs including hunger abatement, medical missions, vulnerable children/youth, Senior services, vulnerable adult services, and housing/shelters. For a listing of local agencies where our church members volunteer, see “local missions” on the FPC website.
Scope of FPC’s Priorities in Regional Missions
FPC’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions includes a goal of increasing the congregation’s involvement in regional/national missions. We now are a regular supporter of PCUSA’s Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program providing critical financial support to those in the southern region negatively impacted by natural disasters. For many years, the youth of the church and their adult advisors have been engaged in regional summer mission trips to North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Our church also responded repeatedly and generously to medical and food relief needs generated by the COVID-19 pandemic here in the U.S. as well as in Latin America, Africa and the 10/40. When Samaritan’s Purse set up its mobile hospital in New York City to assist with COVID-19 patients, FPC responded with support for that initiative as well. FPC’s Ministry of Missions includes regional support for Thornwell Home for Children, Black Mountain Home for Youth and Families, Mission Haven, and the Wee Kirk Montreat Conference, among others.
Scope of FPC’s World Missions Activities
FPC’s present scope of world missions support is extensive and wide-ranging. Prior to establishing its first World Mission Conference (WMC) in 2000, FPC provided limited financial support for foreign missions. Since then, annual conferences have been held generating nearly $2 million in support of world missions activities. FPC’s world mission web pages delineate the activities of each of these agencies. A few highlights follow:
Since 2004, the WMC has provided support to several “home-grown missionaries”—young Christian women who grew up in our church and became engaged in full-time mission work in the 10/40 (in the Middle East, Pakistan, Thailand, and India), as well as Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Australia. Their compassionate service has ranged in focus from freeing those trapped from the bondage of the sex trade to assisting impoverished Christian students, especially young women, become college-educated and leaders in their communities and nation.
Our world mission’s emphasis has been well balanced globally. We regularly support indigenous church planters and Bible translators in the 10/40 and Africa. Inspiring stories of the expansion of God’s Kingdom have been shared at our WMC by the India Gospel League, Frontier Fellowship, JAARS (which supports Wycliff Bible translators), Forman Christian College in Pakistan, and multiple programs in Zambia where FPC members helped construct St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Siavonga. St. Marks has since planted nine additional churches in the region!
In Latin America, FPC is the sole financial sponsor through the Haiti Education Foundation of a school in the mountains whose children would otherwise not be educated or fed a nutritious meal each day. We funded the construction of that school’s first building in 1993 and funded and built its replacement recently after it was demolished by a major earthquake. FPC members have played a coordinating role for an annual medical mission of 40-50 participants to the Dominican Republic where hundreds receive free medical treatment including surgeries. We also send support to Solid Rock for their medical mission work in the DR. AIR Guatemala, founded by a current FPC church member, helps impoverished Mayans learn sustainable farming practices, plants millions of trees to improve environmental and economic conditions, and builds healthier and more efficient wood stoves for poor families.
In Africa, largely through The Outreach Foundation, FPC provides support to address the economic and spiritual needs and trauma healing priorities of South Sudanese refugees. FPC has been a long-time supporter of the education of Namumu Orphanage residents, one of whom is now an ordained Presbyterian pastor. FPC’s Sisters of Zambia have been instrumental in raising funds for the support of Crisis Nurseries and a pre-school in Lusaka. Support is given to John 4:14 Missions to drill wells and form churches in the Zambian Mountains. Airfare and scholarships to rural intern training sites for medical students are provided to Congo Protestant University. Support is also provided for one of our Presbytery’s former pastors who is now a PCUSA missionary seeking to improve early education in 1,500 schools in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Organizational Entities Involved in Providing Missions Support
The administration of missions support at FPC is decentralized and overseen by several standing committees and organizational units which operate somewhat independently but in a coordinated fashion with the Missions Committee. Those organizational entities include the following:
- Session: This central governing body has overall responsibility for the church’s operation including its Ministry of Missions. Some administrative actions involving missions require Session’s review and approval, but most administrative details involving missions are delegated by Session to the Missions Committee or another appropriate committee or unit in charge.
- Missions Committee (MC): This Session committee provides a coordinating function for the church’s Ministry of Missions. In 2020 its budget was $15,000, of the church’s annual operating funds ($1.3 million). These funds were earmarked for the support of local, regional, and world missions support functions. It also oversaw the collection and distribution of over $108,000 in annual gifts to the World Mission Conference. In 2021, Session allocated half of the previous year’s surplus ($71,000) for the support of FPC’s Ministry of Missions, and the MC was charged to administer the use of those funds among all who are involved in that ministry. The MC and its Treasurer manage various temporary restricted accounts containing funds received and dedicated for use in specific mission endeavors. It reviews and makes recommendations to the Endowment Grants Committee for requests of the use of investment income from FPC’s missions-oriented endowments. It reviews and approves church-sponsored mission trips. It provides leadership and facilitation for the advancement of FPC’s local, regional, and world missions endeavors.
- World Mission Conference (WMC) Program Planning Committee: A sub-committee and extension of the Missions Committee, this group under the leadership of the WMC co-chairs plans and implements an annual conference with its affiliated activities of the WMC Prayer Breakfast, three dedicated January WOW programs, special fund-raiser, obtaining a keynote speaker, setting a theme, coordinating missionary presentations, providing meals, and handling other AV support and logistics. The MC provides advice and support for this Committee’s vital work.
- Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate: This committee manages a budget of about $60,000 from the church’s annual operating funds, most of which are earmarked as donations to eleven nonprofit mission agencies in the Hall County area with the remainder committed to contingency funds for various critical non-profit agency needs which arise during the year. The MC strives to coordinate its Local Mission Emphasis programming with this Committee’s local outreach support.
- Local Missions Emphasis (LME) Committee: This sub-committee and extension of the Missions Committee was developed in 2013 as an addendum to the Community Outreach Committee of the Diaconate and serves to emphasize the critical role of volunteerism in support of local non-profit community service agencies.
- Children and Youth Ministry Committees: FPC’s youth have been involved in a variety of missions activities including regional mission trips, “Souper Bowl” food pantry and Food Bank collections, community clean-up service projects, and other mission activities. The younger children have been involved in collecting items for and filling Operation Christmas Child boxes and raising funds for Heifer International. The MC is especially supportive of youth mission projects and trips and Operation Christmas Child.
- Evangelism Committee: This committee administers a budget of about $18,000 of the church’s annual operating funds and focuses its efforts largely on local evangelism initiatives. A small portion of these funds are devoted to local mission activities.
- Adult Sunday School Groups: Substantial annual collections in two of FPC’s adult Sunday School classes are restricted for the support of a variety of local and world mission agencies and missionaries. The BASIC class has an annual goal of about $18,000; and the Mere Christianity class collects about $8,000 which largely goes to address specific requests for local area children whose need cannot be met by any other source.
- Presbyterian Women (PW): This group manages restricted gifts of about $8,000 per year in support of a wide array of local and regional mission activities which focus on the needs of women, children, health, and hunger, including PW mission commitments at the presbytery and PCUSA levels.
- Wonderful Works: This talented group of seamstresses, knitters, and crafters donate their time and resources to producing a large number and wide variety of hand-made items which are donated to many different mission agencies and missionaries locally, regionally, and internationally.
- Donors of Designated Gifts for Missions: A variety of designated gifts are made periodically by church members and others and are accounted for through Temporary Restricted Funds (TRFs). The volume of such donations has been especially high in some years. For example, it took several years to raise over $225,000 to replace the school building destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti, most of which was expended in 2019 when the new building was finally constructed. Each year the medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic occurs, about $100,000 from the volunteer participants throughout the community flows through a TRF in support of that mission trip. Major gifts have been made annually by individual church members in support of the Haiti school feeding program. Support for adult and youth world mission trips exist in TRFs. Memorial gifts dedicated to missions have also been established.
- Grants Committee of the FPC Endowment: The Grants Committee of the First Presbyterian Endowment Fund makes a variety of awards each year from income gained through the investment of permanent endowments in 27 named funds. Current assets of the Endowment Trust at the end of 2020 totaled $5.6 million. Grant requests fulfilled that year totaled nearly $200,000. Income from several mission-designated funds is dedicated to requests for missions support as recommended by the Missions Committee.
- Child Development Center: First Presbyterian Church Child Development Center is a full-service Quality Rated childcare center serving children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K. Most of the children and families served by the CDC are not members of the church, making this one of FPC’s major investments and commitments to local missions.
- Pastoral and Support Staff Leadership in Missions. We are blessed that the Senior and Associate Pastors and the support staff regularly engage in and support local, regional, and world mission activities. Both pastors often take leadership roles in such mission work.
FPC’s Overall Financial Commitments to Missions
Much of the operating budget of most Western churches is devoted to internally focused expenses with only 5-10% of the church’s operating budget devoted to missions. As noted above, the FPC church family is exceptionally mission-minded and generous in its financial support for missions beyond their annual operating pledges and gifts. When all the funds expended through the various FPC financial accounts are considered annually, the percentage dedicated to support missions is substantially higher than the operating budget would suggest—typically, the percentage for missions is closer to 25% each year. If the in-kind dollar value of the thousands of volunteer hours our church members dedicate to local, regional, and world mission work were added in, annual support for missions would be significantly higher.
Current Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions
The Missions Committee formulated FPC’s first Strategic Plan for Missions in 2013. The Missions Committee and Session adopted FPC’s second 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions in 2017. The current Plan identifies the following strategic goals:
Goal # 1 Create an Accessible Online Missions Digest of All of FPC’s Recognized Missions Support Opportunities
Goal # 2 Expand Our Missions Vision and Venues to Include the Southern Region and the Nation
Goal # 3 Improve Communications on the FPC Website About Our Missions Support Opportunities and Ministry of Missions Achievements
Goal # 4 Plan for Growth in Service Hours, Financial Contributions, and Time in Prayer for Missions
Goal # 5 Multiply Opportunities Annually for FPC’s Youth to be Engaged in Missions
Goal # 6 Periodically Evaluate Missions Support Opportunities
Goal # 7 Change Policies, Procedures, and Processes to Enable the Missions Committee to Provide Appropriate Oversight of the Ministry of Missions and Facilitate Achievement of FPC’s Strategic Goals for Missions
Missions Committee Membership
Because of its coordinating role for FPC’s Ministry of Missions, the membership of the Missions Committee is expected to be representative of the principal committees and units involved in supporting missions including:
- At least two active elders appointed by the Senior Pastor, one of which agrees to serve as Missions Committee Chair
- Missions Committee Treasurer
- Missions Committee Secretary
- Co-Chairs of current and upcoming WMCs
- Local Missions Emphasis Coordinator
- Diaconate’s Community Outreach Committee representative
- Youth Ministry Committee representative
- Endowment Grants Committee representative
- The Senior Pastor
- Others committed to advancing missions (invited or appointed)
Some of these members may represent more than one of the listed roles above. The Chair will typically serve in that capacity for his/her term of service on the Session. There is no fixed period after which members must rotate off the committee.
For continuity and stability, there is value in long-term active participation on the Missions Committee, but there is equal value in having new members bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the Committee’s work. A balance of the Committee’s membership will be sought in that regard. The Chair and the Senior Pastor have the prerogative to appoint and assign new members to the Missions Committee and make Committee assignments.
Major Responsibilities of the Missions Committee
The Mission Committee’s (MC) principal responsibilities are as follows:
- Raise in conjunction with pastoral leadership congregational awareness of God’s commandments for missional service and the centrality of missions in building the Kingdom of God on earth.
- Review and update every five years FPC’s Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions and secure the MC’s and Session’s approval of that 5-Year Plan for adoption. Publish the current Strategic Plan on FPC’s Ministry of Missions web page to make its information readily available to interested congregants and others.
- Review and update this document describing the Purpose, Policies, and Procedures of FPC’s Ministry of Missions and secure the MC’s and Session’s approval of it for adoption every five years. Publish the current version of this document on the Ministry of Missions web page to make this information readily available to all with an interest in understanding the “big picture” of FPC’s missions efforts.
- Regularly update the accuracy and comprehensiveness of FPC’s web pages on its Ministry of Missions. The pages of particular concern are those involving the Ministry of Missions under the Ministries link and the Community, Regional, and World Missions listings of support opportunities under the Serve link. These mission agency descriptions also contain links to their individual websites.
- Regularly describe and promote the nature and importance of church-supported missions in church publications and announcements, during WOW, and through “minute for missions” during worship.
- Meet monthly (typically in person on the first Thursday evening) to conduct the MC’s old and new business and submit minutes of that meeting to the Session for their review, noting any MC recommendations which require Session action. Should an urgent special meeting of the MC be required during the month, it may be performed via email and its results included in the month’s meeting minutes.
- Manage the MC’s annual operating fund expenditures as earmarked in the MC’s annual budget, adjusting the use of such funds as may be needed.
- Develop and champion annual operating budget requests for the Missions Committee and the Ministry of Missions in general.
- Administer the use of MCTRF emergency Missions funds among all who are involved in the FPC Ministry of Missions. Appendix A
- Promote the expansion of FPC’s resource commitments to missions in keeping with God’s commandments.
- Identify and recommend Session’s approval of the co-chairs of the upcoming annual World Mission Conference at least a year in advance.
- Instruct and assist the WMC Co-chairs and their Program Planning Committee in developing and implementing a successful upcoming WMC with its affiliated pre-conference activities.
- Review and recommend to Session for approval the annual fundraising goal for the upcoming WMC at least six months prior to the next conference.
- Review changes in the previous year’s missionary circumstances and give final approval to recommended WMC distributions to the supported missionaries and mission agencies prior to the new WMC year. Before the new WMC year begins, notify in writing the missionaries or mission agencies of our expected financial support levels for them during the upcoming year from the WMC (pending achievement of the WMC’s overall funding goal) and explain how and when periodic distributions will be made for their planning purposes.
- Receive a monthly report from the MC Treasurer on the financial condition of the current year’s WMC receipts and follow-ups on pledge collections. Distributions to the WMC-supported missions are routinely made once receipts reach the 40%, 55%, 70%, 85% and 100% of goal levels with excess receipts carried forward into the upcoming WMC year.
- In keeping with the Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions, assure completion of an in-depth review, evaluation, and reconsideration of the levels of support provided for all WMC-supported missionaries and mission agencies every three years, and adjust future funding allocation plans accordingly. See Appendix B for suggested details on conducting such reviews.
- Place priority on the importance of supporting indigenous evangelism and church planting, particularly in the 10/40 Window.
- Encourage church family participation in and recommend to Session FPC’s hosting of the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. TRF support is available to offset the tuition cost for church staff and members to attend this course, and course participation should be promoted annually by the MC.
- Encourage communication and collaboration between the MC’s Local Missions Emphasis programming and the Diaconate’s Community Outreach Committee to strengthen the church’s volunteer service and financial contributions to local mission activities and agencies.
- Support and collaborate with the Youth Ministry Committee to maintain and expand a strong program of local, regional, and world mission activities and service engagements for FPC youth.
- Encourage participation in adult-oriented short-term mission trips.
- Review requests and approve the use of funds earmarked to support short-term mission trips for the youth and adults. Appendix C & C-1 delineate the procedure and format for obtaining approval for church related mission trips.
- Review, approve, and recommend to Session proposals for short-term mission (STM) trips sponsored by FPC or involving partial support from church funds and/or fundraising activities and solicitations involving church members. Fundraising should not commence without prior approval of such proposals from Session. The requested content of STM trip proposals is outlined in Appendix B. Proposals for STM trips developed and sponsored by the Youth Ministry Committee may go directly to Session for review and approval with a copy to the Chair for the Mission Committee’s information. Independently sponsored STMs such as the community’s annual medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic in association with Solid Rock do not require MC or Session approvals.
- FPC has a long history of youth and adult participation in STM summer trips with Son Servants. When the Youth Ministry Committee elected in recent years to seek more economical youth STM trips, legacy funding for STM trip support was placed in the MC’s operating budget to enable a continuation of the Son Servants regional mission experience for interested youth and adults. The MC administers the use of those funds. Completion and submission of a Son Servants STM trip proposal following the content in Appendix C is expected for the MC’s and Session’s review and approval.
- In keeping with the Strategic Plan for Advancing Missions, facilitate expansion of FPC’s engagement in and financial support for regional/national missions. As of 2020, the MC’s operating budget was increased for support of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Son Servants Mission Trips which are regional mission activities. The MC’s support for PDA is typically supplemented by appeals to the congregation when natural disasters strike our neighbors in the region and church members have been very generous in their responses.
- Keep apprised of unexpected developments and special needs of local, regional, and world missionaries and mission agencies as they arise, and seek prayers, assistance, and support in response. Approve the use of the MC’s operating funds or other accounts for such purposes if possible and recommend gift support from the Grants Committee of the Endowment where appropriate.
- Review and approve recommended requests for unbudgeted or emergency support from the Missions Committee Temporary Restricted Fund (MCTRF). See Appendix C for details on submitting requests.
- Encourage gifts to the Endowment Fund dedicated to supporting missions.
- Appendix D contains a list of books which members committed to advancing FPC’s Ministry of Missions are encouraged to read. This short list has proven to be especially impactful on FPC’s Ministry of Missions in recent years. They are available in the church library.
- Pray that God’s Kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven and help make it so.
Approved by the Missions Committee: [9-2-2021], Jack Spencer, Chairman
Procedure for Requesting Emergency Missions Support from the Missions Committee Temporary Restricted Fund (MCTRF)
This TRF was established in 2021 when Session allocated half of the 2020 year-end operating surplus to support missions. In its coordinating role for the Ministry of Missions, the Missions Committee administers the use of these funds, reviewing and giving its final approval to recommendations made by the MCTRF subcommittee chaired by the MC Treasurer. Requests for MCTRF support for local, regional/national, or world missions activities may be made by any committee or individual engaged in FPC’s Ministry of Missions. Allocations are expected to be on a one-time rather than continuing basis and available only when other budgeted operating funds are fully expended or not available.
Information to be included in a one-page written request to the MC or MC Treasurer:
- Name of mission agency (e.g., Samaritan’s Purse Medical Relief);
- Statement describing specific need for unbudgeted or emergency funds, and affirmation that existing budgeted operating funds have been sought to support this need but are not available;
- Funding amount requested (the expected maximum one-time amount available from MCTRF is $3,000.00);
- Expected contributions/matching being sought/available from other sources; and;
- Name, address, and specific wording for the check request, should the application be approved by the MC to assure timely response once a decision is made.
The MC will provide immediate feedback to the requesting committee/individual, with approved level of funding or reason for not approving the request. The MC Treasurer will process the check request (allow 7-10 days for the check to be cut after approval).
Procedure to assure, review, evaluate, and reconsider levels of support provided for all World Mission Conference (WMC) supported missionaries and mission agencies.
At least once every three years, the steps listed below will be implemented to conduct an in-depth written review of those agencies which receive support from the WMC. Annually, the same procedures will be applied to potential new recipients for WMC funding.
- The review should be organized by world region of mission engagement (i.e., Latin America, Africa, the 10/40 Window, and world-wide) to gauge the relative strengths and balance of the WMC’s world mission support by region.
- Written analyses of each mission should be prepared and considered which address the following key factors:
- The current nature of the ministry’s mission activity;
- The current contact with updated locating for the agency
- A summary of recipient’s mission activities supported by the WMC broken down by activity;
- History and significance of FPC member involvement with this missionary or agency;
- Review any changes in the agency’s purpose, programs, leadership, or other circumstances which lessen or enhance its attractiveness for continued WMC support;
- Summary of ratings and financial information for agency in charity rating organizations, e.g., Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Great Nonprofits, Charity Watch, and published Form 990s;
- such review should include annual fund balance trends;
- percentages of revenue committed to administrative overhead (prefer 15% or less);
- executive salary levels;
- operating surpluses and deficits;
- strength of financial stewardship;
The sub-committee should prepare this report, with recommendations for additions, deletions, or funding level changes for Mission Committee approval at least six months prior to the upcoming WMC.
Short term mission trips policy and procedure
Purpose: FPC short term mission (STM) opportunities exist to promote the fulfillment of the Great Commission and service to God’s people nationally and worldwide, and to strengthen personal relationships with Jesus Christ.
Definition: A full-time immersion of 7-30 days in the culture addressed by the sponsoring missions Agency. FPC MC strongly believes that missions equates to leaving your culture.
Approval Process: Careful and thoughtful planning is especially crucial when the goal is to carry out STM work. Use the checklist (Attachment B-1) to assist in the planning and approval process. Submit plan to Mission Committee for review and approval at least six months prior to dates of anticipated trip. The following are some considerations for group coordinators planning a STM trip:
- Identification of the sponsoring group/agency and trip leader(s) with their contact information;
- Location and brief description of goals and activities planned, including worship plans and projects to be completed;
- Inclusive dates and trip itinerary;
- logistical details of travel, lodging, meals, and local transportation;
- Age group targeted (e.g., high school youth, adult, cross-generational);
- Size of the group and ratio of adults to youth (if youth oriented STM trip is proposed, all adults should be approved youth advisors in accordance with FPC youth protection policies);
- Provisions for ensuring personal safety and emergency medical care of participants.
- FPC’s experience with similar STM trips;
- A breakdown of STM trip costs per participant and planned sources of funds for those expenses;
- Plans to engage group in appropriate cultural preparation; and
- Plans for sharing with FPC and other congregations after return.
- Fund raising can provide great opportunity to experience God and see His faithfulness at work. The financing of a mission trip can be faith stretching for the entire congregation and enables us to trust in God’s provision.
- Once the Session has approved the STM trip, fund raising activities, if any, may begin.
- Funds raised through sales or donations must be turned in directly to the Church Accountant for deposit into the STM TRF and not held in the possession of individual participants or their families.
- The following statement must be used in all solicitations for contributions: “Contributions are solicited with the understanding that FPC Mission Committee has complete discretion and control over the use of all donated funds.” A donor may indicate a preference that FPC use a gift to support the trip of a certain individual. However, FPC and STM trip participants will refrain from any inference that the contribution will be paid as expenses to or for a particular participant. These funds will be used for the trip at the discretion of FPC’s Mission Committee.
Short Term Mission Application Request
Date Submitted: ___________
Proposed location _____________ Inclusive Dates____________________
FPC Leader’s name/contact information: ____________________________
Agency leader’s name/contact information: __________________________
Anticipated group size: ___
Age group targeted high school youth adult
Project Activities, plans for daily worship and study as a group (Attach itinerary and planned activities)
Detailed estimated budget:
church van ____________
trip insurance ____________
medical insurance ____________
in route (if applicable) ___________
at site ___________
Materials/supplies for trip ___________
Plans to engage group in appropriate cultural preparation: ________
Describe procedures to ensure emergency medical care: __________
Recommended books on Mission
(All are available in the church library)
Kingdom Come: Why we Must Give Up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church—and What We should Do Instead
Author: Dr. Reggie McNeal (2015) —our featured speaker at the 20th Anniversary WMC in 2019;
The Kairos Moment: Is Now the Opportune Time?
Author: Dr. Samuel Stephens (2016)—the featured story of the India Gospel League at the 2020 WMC;
Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help
Author: Robert Lupton (2011)
The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun
Authors: Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway (2002)