What in the world are we doing? Missions at Triad
True or false: Triad’s budget for missions is the third-largest line item in the church’s annual budget?
If you answered “yes,” you’re right. But do you know why? And, with the first World Fest just around the corner in November, do you know what Triad’s strategy is for missions in 2014 and beyond, and your part?
World Outreach Missions Ministry Committee chair Dick Lockhart and Lead Pastor Rob Decker provide the answers in this Connections Q&A.
Q: So why do we support missions at TBC?
Decker: Because we’re commanded to by God. In Matthew 28:16-20, the famous “Great Commission” passage, Jesus Christ tells us to go into all the world, make disciples, and teach everyone all that God has commanded us to do. Because of that, telling others about Jesus Christ and what His death, burial, resurrection and victory over sin mean should be at the core of all missions work we do, whether it’s across the street or halfway around the world. It’s something we’re all called to do. It’s not just a committee’s work.
Q: Where do our missionaries serve?
Lockhart: Missionaries we support serve in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, France, Guatemala, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Togo, and three closed countries. And they also serve in six U.S. states: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia. Locally, we also support Crisis Control Ministry, Piedmont International University, and the Winston-Salem Rescue Mission.
Q: How much are we giving to missions?
Lockhart: The current Missions budget is 2014 is $225,445, up from $200,120 in 2013. In 2015, we hope to increase that to just over $250,000. What we set aside for Missions not only is the third-largest item in Triad’s budget, but the largest in the “Reach” (outreach) category of the church budget. There are a lot of reasons for that, including growth in church membership and the church’s focus on the gospel and Biblical truth. Since our founding in 1983, we’ve never wavered in our support of missions.
Q: What is the strategy behind our support?
Decker: Of the missions dollars we spend, we want about 75 percent to go to church planters and the rest to ministries supporting church planting. We typically start a missionary at $225 a month with a 13th month as a Christmas bonus (if they are below that level it’s because they were not directly church planters). We provide higher levels of support to our those called and sent from our membership, covering about 15 to 20 percent of their total support. We’re careful to guard our current missionaries and their support levels as we consider adding new ones.
Q: What’s being done to help missionaries stay on the field longer?
Lockhart: We’re trying to raise the support levels so that a missionary doesn’t have to report to as many churches and do as much fundraising when they are home on furlough. That’s one way to move toward the goal.
Q: What do we look for in a missionary?
Lockhart: Evidence of a calling from God and heart for the work, long-term commitment, faithfulness, addressing a need that falls under the church planting or support ministries we want to support, and strong character and Biblically sound beliefs are all important. Failure to be faithful to the assigned ministry, for example, is one of the reasons in our World Outreach Policy for withdrawing missionary support. That same policy guides everything we do in missions, from how Missions Committee Members are selected and the terms they serve (three years) to the way we work with those wanting to talk to us about being supported by Triad, and those we decide to support.
Q: What encourages you most as a pastor about Triad’s support of missions?
Decker: The increasing number of home-grown missionaries that are rising up in our midst. That includes full-time missionaries like Zeke and Meagan Magill in Papua New Guinea, Andrew and Romina Self in Argentina, Ashley Hancock in Brazil, and Daryl and Leah Burnette who plan to serve in Mozambique, and those on part-time assignments like Tony Krofchik who has lent his construction talents to Samaritan’s Purse. And that’s not counting the increasing number of members finding ways to serve individually, or as families or as part of teams here and abroad—experiences that often lay the groundwork for long-term, life-changing decisions later.
Our E4-12 masters of ministry program with Piedmont International University, our Bible Institute, and Sunday Night Adult Classes also are being used by God to call people into full-time church planting and other missions work.
Q. You’ve talked about increasing the budget, and support levels for individual missionaries as priorities. What else should we look for in 2015 and beyond?
Lockhart: We currently have 12 committee members. I’d like to grow that to 15 initially, and we could go as high as 21. In the short term, I’m also very excited about this year’s World Fest (Nov. 5-9) and the program Stefanie Titus Allen is putting together which includes Triad Baptist Christian Academy tying in its International Bazaar, and involving many other ministries across the church. Stay tuned for more there. With the campus renovations and new décor in the Connector hallway, I hope people have noticed our Missions display outside the Awake Café coffee shop. In the new Worship Center/Gym, we’ll be creating a media center area for missionaries that will tap technology to help members better keep up with their ministries, and stay in touch. We’ll also be distributing advance pieces here on Connections and other church communications channels to give members more information about missionary candidates before votes for support.