Report of the Bible Fellowship Church Board of Missions
The greatest challenge to the Church of Jesus Christ can be found in the seven last words of our Lord--"...to the remotest part of the earth." The task of world evangelization humanly seems to be impossible. Many churches believe that they themselves are struggling just to remain in existence. As a result, priorities and emphasis is put on the local ministry to the exclusion of outreach or to severely cutting back in outreach. Andrew Murray in his book entitled, Key To The Missionary Problem, tells us "personal consecration and the evangelization of the world ought to go together. Missionary advance depends upon the spiritual life of believers."
"...the nations shall know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God,
When I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes."
He goes on to say, "In the long run the spiritual tone of the missionaries and the mission congregation abroad cannot be higher than that of the home church out of which it was born." Each fellowship of believers bears a unique responsibility first of all for their own personal relationship, commitment, and devotion to Jesus Christ that in turn will conform them into His image, bearing the fruit of His Spirit, and doing His work. The logical result of spiritual maturity is obedience to the Lord's last command to the remotest part of the earth--to "every tribe and tongue and people and nation."
"With men it is impossible"
"With God all things are possible"
"All things are possible to him that believes"
God is building His Church, qualitatively, numerically, and geographically; but He uses you and me, His Body, to accomplish the task. To what extent is God's life our life, God's work our work, and God's purpose our purpose?
We want to thank the many Pastors, Missions Committees, Women's Missionary Societies, and others who have demonstrated their commitment and cooperation with the Board of Missions in so many ways. We also want to thank each one who has given so generously to the missionary outreach of your church through the Board of Missions. Many have done so sacrificially.
The Board of Missions met seven times this year and the following update indicates some of the highlights of the year.
A letter of resignation from the Board of Missions, dated March 15, 1988, was received by the Board from Paul G. Zimmerman to take effect at the close of the Board meeting on May 17, 1988. The Board desired to fill the vacancy on the Board and invited Pastor Ralph M. Soper to fill the unexpired term of Paul Zimmerman until Annual Conference.
URBANA Financial Aid
Thirty three applicants from fifteen Bible Fellowship Churches received scholarships.
Summer Missionary Financial Aid
Financial assistance was given to nine applicants from eight Bible Fellowship Churches to serve with recognized organizations in nine different areas of the world.
Missions Emphasis Events of the Board of Missions
The Board of Missions conducted its Twelfth Missions Seminar for Pastors, Missionaries, and Key Lay Missions Leaders on March 15, 1988 at our Bethlehem Church. The theme was: What in the World is God Doing? -- Are WE Doing? Dr. Ralph D. Winter, of the U.S. Center for World Mission, was the speaker.
World Missions Week at Pinebrook Bible Conference was held from August 6 - 13, 1988. The theme was: T I M E -- TotalInvolvement in Missionary Endeavor. Each week day morning a special workshop was provided to develop the theme among all age groups. The evening speaker was Dr. E. Eugene Williams, General Director of American Missionary Fellowship.
Proposal For a Missionary Retirement Fund
At our September 20, 1988 meeting the following resolution was passed:
RESOLVED, that we approve the concept of a Missionary Retirement Fund with the following as partial guidelines for consideration:
1. Retirement age - 65 years of age. No annuities will be paid until attainment of age 65. No annuities will be paid if retirement is prior to age 65 unless he/she had at least 25 years of service. Annuities for missionaries to be based on same level as the Ministers' Retirement Fund annuities.
2. We recommend that each mission board and each missionary be dealt with separately due to the varied policies of various mission boards. Missionaries covered by retirement plans of their mission board will not be covered unless the annuity is less than the current annuity approved by Annual Conference for the Ministers' Retirement Fund.
3. We recommend that any church which continues to support a missionary's need after retirement do it directly with the missionary in consultation with the Board of Missions.
Recommendations of the Board of Missions to the Annual Conference
1. WHEREAS, the Board of Missions is very concerned about the lack of retirement provisions of certain sending mission boards; and
WHEREAS, this Board has approved the development of a Missionary Retirement Fund; and
WHEREAS, this Board is deeply appreciative of undesignated funds provided by a number of churches for various ministries conducted by the Board (i.e., temporary subsidies for missionary support, Executive Secretary support, missionary specials, summer missionary financial aid, Urbana, Pastors' Missions Seminar, World Missions Week, administrative expenses, etc.); therefore be it
RESOLVED, that, in order to establish this Missionary Retirement Fund and to continue the other Board ministries, each church should consider giving an additional 5% in undesignated funds to the Board of Missions for this ministry as well as the on-going ministries of the Board.
2. WHEREAS, the three year term of Roy A. Hertzog as Executive Secretary of the Board of Missions is completed; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Missions has re-elected him to his second term at the March 8, 1988 Board meeting; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that we ratify the election of Roy A. Hertzog as Executive Secretary of the Board of Missions.
Board of Missions: R. C. Reichenbach, Chairman; Roy A. Hertzog, Executive Secretary; David E. Thomann, Financial Secretary; Daniel P. Allen; Robert Breitegam; Leroy O. Herb; Gerald Schlonecker; Thomas P. Shorb; James Sunday; Paul G. Zimmerman (until May 17, 1988); and Ralph M. Soper (appointed by the Board of Missions to fill the vacancy on the Board created by the resignation of Paul Zimmerman).