The large church I attend has very focused missions qualifications for commissioning, supporting, and sending out missionaries (least reached, least evangelized, poor and oppressed). I have been a member of my church for nearly 15 years and feel a call in my life towards missions in Spain; however, the church has said that while they will encourage me they will not support me or send me, since it is not a nation/region they focus on (although Spain is in the 10/40 window). I have had many conversations with our missions pastor and he has even helped confirm my calling, but there is nothing that leads me to believe they would change their stance on supporting a missionary to Spain. This is my home church, but should I be looking for another home church?
Thanks, Jaime, for sharing your dilemma. While I applaud a church that thinks strategically and pays the price of being consistent, it’s a shame that Spain is not on their screen. I think it would fulfill half their conditions (4,000 towns and villages in Spain don’t have an evangelical congregation!) but perhaps they don’t consider it either poor or oppressed.
I think it is important that you have a good relationship with the missions pastor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is attempting to steer you toward one of the countries that the church considers that fulfills their qualifications!
Establishing another “home church” takes time. Do you have one in mind? If you do consider this option, I’m sure you would leave your present church after expressing clearly your reasons to both the missions pastor and the senior pastor. I’m sure they would understand the reasons for your change.
Since you have 15 years of participation in your present home church undoubtedly you have a number of personal friends there. One option is to tell them of your call, the reason for your leaving, and your need for personal financial and prayer support. Obviously this is a delicate matter, since the pastoral staff might consider your approaching them unethical since they are members of the church and it has its own active mission program. However, I think you could do so given some criteria:
" That the church is large and may not be depending unduly on your friends to support their missions program. If it’s a small church, the risk of your approaching your friends would be more serious, especially if it means that they would shift their benevolence giving from the church’s program to support you..
" That you are open and above board about sharing with the leaders, once again, your call, that the majority of your friends are in the church (if this is the case), and though you respect the church’s qualifications you do feel you have a call from the Lord and the natural procedure would be to be supported by your Christian friends, who happen to belong to their church. The response I would pray for and hope for is that the leaders would bless you in your call (that the missions pastor recognizes as being genuine) and that though as a church they have taken a strategic position, that they would pray for you and bless you in your individual call and would not oppose your seeking support from personal friends. This is a delicate matter and much depends on your local situation.
" That you would explain carefully to your friends why you are leaving the church and that they should seek carefully God’s will in terms of supporting you rather than the missionaries commissioned by your home church.
If you do change churches, you will need to explain clearly to the leadership your motives.
Are you involved with a specific mission agency that is working in Spain? They might also have some concrete suggestions for you.
If your call is truly from the Lord, He will guide you as you work through this thorny issue. He may well surprise you with other options than what I have mentioned. He is well able to supply.
Blessings on you, Jaime.