One of the things I usually discover when I’m brought in to coach a Senior Pastor is their church has a convoluted mission’s strategy.
Most churches don’t understand why they support the missions they do, nor do they have a clear process for adding new works.
Recently a good friend of mine at CCV actively involved in helping a school in the Dominican Republic emailed me and asked if I could get the church to support that particular mission. He asked if I could go out to lunch to meet the leader of the mission so he could share what they do and make a pitch for support.
I politely, but immediately declined.
Since you probably are presented with similar requests on a regular basis I thought you might appreciate my response…
Thanks for the invitation, but unfortunately I must decline.
I am really excited about the partnership that you have with Gustavo and really believe in what he is doing, but we won’t be able to support him as a church.
Each year I get 30+ similar types of requests for support – schools, new churches, child sponsorships, homeless shelters, etc. Though all important works, unfortunately very few meet the criteria we have set for missions our church will support.
Initial Mission Criteria
Years ago we created four core criteria that must be met in order for a mission to become an officially sponsored CCV mission.
1. The mission must have a long-term track record of demonstrated success.
This allows for a mission to clearly establish itself and prove that it will actually be around in 5, 10, 15 and 20 years into the future.
2. The mission must have two types of governing boards.
The first is a board of directors to which the leader of the organization reports, and another board that oversees all financial aspects of the mission. The first ensures quality leadership and decision-making. The second ensures that the hard earned money CCV’ers send oversees gets to where it is intended to go.
3. The organization must be closely aligned theologically with our Fellowship of Churches – Independent Christian Churches.
This ensures that what is being taught at the mission aligns with what we teach at CCV, and vice versa.
4. The organization must be prepared to receive annual mission trips from CCV’ers so our own people can go on-site and serve, and oftentimes inspect, the continued effectiveness of the mission.
This is a crucial aspect of who we choose to support. This requires the presence of staff and area facilities necessary to house a group of 25-50 people at a time. While it may be something as simple as tents on the ground, the infrastructure must be in place to accommodate large CCV groups annually.
Team Approval & Financial Support
Upon completing/confirming these four criteria, I make a recommendation to our team here and submit the mission for extensive review. If approved, the mission is placed into next year’s financial cue for consideration for budget approval. There is no guarantee at this point whether or not that mission will get approved, but by that point it is highly likely. New missions start out with either one-time Christmas, Easter or Kids’ Camp offering support.
Seeing With Your Own Eyes
If the mission wishes to receive on-going financial support, and not just a one-time gift, there is a fifth criterion. The mission must allow me to personally visit the mission on-site for a complete top to bottom review of everything – the financials, grounds, personnel and processes – all of which involves prolonged staff and constituent interviews. I make these visits roughly every other year. The next one will be late summer/Fall of 2016, and that particular mission slot is already spoken for. I must see the mission with my own eyes and believe down to the depths of my soul that it is a good match for our church and worth pouring ourselves into.
Once that criterion has been met, the mission is considered for inclusion into our budget over a three-year period of time. At the end of that time-frame another assessment is completed, and the mission can re-apply for continued support and partnership status.
To date we have only approved a handful of organizations – Lifeline Christian Mission (Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras), Christian Missionary Fellowship (Kenya), Casas Por Cristo (Mexico and Guatemala), Team Expansion (India), Christ in Youth/Rapha House (Cambodia), and a new one coming this Christmas season – Bob Goff’s Restore International (Iraq) though Restore is only approved for one-time support at this time.
This process, while time consuming, has created a model for missions that other churches around the country are now copying. It properly vets potential missions, ensures financial accountability, and creates long-term sustainable partnerships.
I know that’s WAY more than you asked, but I felt like you deserved more than a quick “no” and that’s it.
My encouragement is for you and Jackie to keep supporting and encouraging Gustavo. He obviously is tasked with very important kingdom work, even though it may not be a match for us at this point.