- Philosophy of Christian Missions: Sending Disciples of Christ to the nations (at home and abroad) to preach and teach the gospel so as to make disciples (Matt. 28:19) and nurture them through church plants or local churches. Thus, our primary objective, is to plant autonomous churches: churches that are self-governing, self-supportive and self-propagating: making disciples of their own people. Secondary objective is to be part of a support system to those who are involved in other aspects of the missionary enterprise, such as in Bible translation, health, education and the like. To this end, we work in partnership with missionaries, churches and missionary organizations. We are, therefore, committed to both sending and supporting in Christian missions.
- Strategy of Christian Missions: To be simultaneously involved in our community and the nations through prayer, training, teaching, preaching, sending, and giving. We believe that the starting point is here in Minneapolis from where we spread to the nations. This being the case, we believe that it is the duty of every member of the church to make disciples. In fact, only those who have proven themselves at home are eligible to serve abroad, either as short -term or long-term missionaries (Act. 1:8).
- Qualification for candidates Christian Missions: Those who are sent must be born again and show evidence of the grace of God in their personal character and, if married, in their domestic relations (Tit. 1:5-9; 1Tim. 3:1-8). These qualities should be evident to the local church. No one should be a missionary who does not meet the approval from a church where he/she has ministered for an undefined but observable period of time. Moreover, the candidates must have a sense of a call to serve as missionaries and have some theological training, at least in theology of missions, history of missions, the history, religion and culture of the place to which they have been called to serve. The complexity of missions, whether at home and abroad, demands some theological grounding and practical experience. Additionally, candidates are expected to raise 100% of their support.
- Policy of Christian Missions: All prospective candidates will be interview by the missions committee who will make a recommendation the elders. The elders and the director of missions will review the recommendation and decide whether to invite the candidate to present his/her ministry to the church and/or whether to recommend the candidate to the church for financial support.
Candidates from ANCF will have priority in support as reflected in both the amount of support and in oversight of their ministry. All missionaries are encouraged to associate themselves with a missions sending agency. Those agencies should be of like faith and practice or at least believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture and that salvation is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The candidates—for whom ANCF has accepted a partnership role as a sender—are expected to be accountable in all matters similar to that which an organized mission board would require. If ANCF acts in a fiduciary capacity, it must retain the trust of those churches that use it as a conduit for missionary support. Common mission practice allows a missionary to raise more than 100% of the support needed on any given field. This provides some reserves in the event of loss of support. However all excess funds should remain in a separate account held by ANCF in the missionary’s name and made available to the missionary for special projects.
The amount of money needed for any field of missions will be determined based on information from established mission boards. There is some flexibility since needs differ according to field, stage of life, children, etc. An annual budget should be submitted to ANCF. It is expected that from their support, missionaries will designate a portion to their retirement fund. Financial support is promised for the entire continuous term (a term is four years) that the missionary intends to be on the field. Proven neglect in ministry, doctrinal deviation, financial irregularities or moral failure constitute grounds for immediate discontinuation of support. There may be cases where, apart from the preceding exclusions, a missionary may be deemed ineffective and/or ill equipped for a particular field. The church reserves the option, at the time of a missionary’s furlough, to evaluate the wisdom of continued support.
Our missionaries to non-English speaking nations are expected to master the language of the nation in which they serve to do well. For this reason require that missionaries take a pre-field modern language aptitude test that may help in determining the degree of difficulty they may face in language learning. Failure to do so will result in the immediate withdrawal of support. Moreover, missionaries are expected to communicate with the church on at least a bimonthly basis. Lack of communication may lead to discontinuation of support.
As we are primarily committed to planting churches, we would encourage our missionaries to be engaged in the work of church planting, and secondarily to be involved in other activities when this may be the only way to gain access to certain countries where traditional missionaries are denied entrance. Creative entrance into such countries may involve ministry that does not directly lead to a church being planted because of the local and legal situation. In some primitive societies this might involve translation and literacy work as a legitimate avenue of ministry. However in those places where there is freedom to preach the gospel and the Bible exists in the mother tongue, the missionary must be engaged in church planting. Other ministries should arise from this and under the auspices of the church.
- Church Planting Abroad: Since ANCF’s main focus in missions is planting indigenous churches, we believe in entering into partnership with nationals in countries where the churches lack economic strength. Financial help may provide an immediate and desirable solution. We will not, however, enter into an open-ended financial relationship with them because to do would encourage a life style of dependency on foreign funds. Neither will we support nationals as pastors or assistants in already existing churches. We realize, however, that thoroughly trained nationals may be more effective in reaching their own people. The expectation would be that the newly planted church would assume the responsibility for providing for its pastor and the pastor would have a sense of accountability to the church. For a national who demonstrates unusual giftedness in planting multiple churches, we may continue financial support so that no undue hardship befalls him. Financial help may provide an immediate and desirable solution. Our approach here should be flexibility rather than rigidity. This is ANCF’s policy of missions and is meant as a guideline.