Many missionaries choose to use a Mission Board or a Mission Agency to assist them with their pre-field and on-field ministry. There are many independent Baptist mission boards. Some missionaries are simply sent by their local church. Many “home missionaries” (those who are staying in the US) do not use a mission agency.
We chose to use Baptist World Mission as our sending agency. They currently serve about 170 families (or 320 adult missionaries) around the world. They assist our sending church and help us make decisions regarding our deputation and field of service, with the approval and guidance of our pastor.
There are several reasons to utilize the aid of a mission board.
1. They help with paperwork and finances. Our mission board handles our finances and files our social security taxes. We send an expense report and they help us maximize our tax deductions. They know the current laws and regulations. The home office also takes care of receiving our support money from churches, and then dispensing it to us at the right time. This also provides financial accountability and gives the donors a tax-deductible receipt.
We do pay them a small monthly fee to help the home office stay up and running, but the services they provide us are worth far more than we pay!
2. If we were going overseas, a mission board would help with medical insurance, and securing visas and residency permits. They also have plans in place for emergency evacuations and assistance.
3. The mission board provides name recognition and vetting. We had to go through an extensive application and approval process. The mission board examined our doctrinal positions and made sure we were physically fit for service. Since most of the churches we contact don’t know us from Adam, it helps when we can say that Baptist World Mission has approved us as missionaries. Then the church can know more clearly if we would be a good fit for their ministry. The mission agency takes a clear stand on many issues, and if the churches know where the mission board stands, then they can know where their missionaries stand.
4. The mission board provides advice and guidance from experienced missionaries. We have field representatives who oversee the missionaries in different locations around the world. These men (and their wives) have served as missionaries and can draw wisdom from their experiences. This is valuable to us as new missionaries!
5. The mission board keeps us accountable. They help to oversee and administrate things like our quarterly prayer letter. They make sure we are staying in communication with all of our supporting churches. They also require ministry reports to make sure we are doing our job on the field and that the ministry is progressing.