Ministry’s Responsibility to the Workers
The aim of this ministry is to provide a place of training, fellowship with other missionaries and a place of accountability as the missionary finds the balance between their work (mission) and the responsibilities of personal life. Each missionary that works with Arm of the Lord Ministry is responsible to develop their own work plan for the field and then be faithful to carry it out. There is freedom to minister but this ministry maintains the right to both encourage and confront the workers if difficult situations arise. The ministry has no desire to tell the field missionaries how to manage their field work. The ideal situation is to maintain communication between the Arm of the Lord Ministry and the home church of the missionary.
1. Missionary Base: This ministry will help the new missionary in its process of relocation and adapting to a new culture in the field. It can also assist them with contacts and placing them in the field. It is important for the new missionary to understand the goals and expectations of the ministry so that everyone can work together on the same frequency. In the beginning it will be important for each new missionary to take time to observe, study and learn from others. We can best avoid problems later if we take time at the beginning to understand culture.
2. Applications & Reports: Each member needs to fill out an application when they arrive. People are invited to work on the team after completing the Trans-Cultural School or by some other special invitation.
a. Each January, team members develop their Work Plan for that year. It should include objectives, goals and evaluations to measure some kind of progress.
b. Every four months the missionary should turn in a Work Report with the base. The information is useful for others that might arrive some day to take the place of the first missionary. It is also useful for measuring the progress of work, this is turn can be used to show to the supporting churches.
3. Staff Meetings: Every Monday there is a team meeting to report activities, share ministry business and enter into a time of worship and prayer. The meeting offers a time to share difficulties and receive encouragement from others. The missionaries that work regularly in the field will not always be able to attend the meeting.
4. Work: There three areas by which we are all measured are: a.) Character, b.) Competence c.) Ability to get along with others. In some way our work is a reflection of our character. Not only should everyone try to be on time but also do the best job possible.
a. It is important for every missionary to be sensitive to the culture. In an indigenous setting, everyone is a foreigner both Americans & Mexicans. Village life is very different from city life. The pressure to change and to fit up your new culture is on the missionary not the indigenous person.
b. Almost all indigenous pastors are without theological training. The goal is to assist them, train them and give them the tools to do a good job. As missionaries, we are not arriving to take their place.
c. The Arm of the Lord Ministry is not trying to plant denomination flags, it is better to leave the decision with the indigenous people after the missionary leaves. Even thou the missionary is neutral in their theological stance, they will influence the indigenous people by their own doctrinal beliefs.
d. The desire of this ministry is to plant mature, self-governed and self-sustained churches that will embrace their culture and help effect future generations.
5. Time: There is no formal policy concerning time (how many hours we work every week) in this ministry but it is important for each missionary to fulfill their commitment before the Lord. The majority of our supporters are not rich! Many of them work 40 hours and more every week to help keep us on the field.
6. Communication: Each team member should maintain communication with their home church. It is suggested to send out a newsletter every two months. Also, it is good to send a special note of thanks to your supporters.
7. Working on a Team: It is important that every team member show:
a. The life of Christ in their lives
c. Honesty and Humility
e. Respect between one another
f. Sensibility to the thoughts of others
g. A teachable spirit
h. The ability to take initiative
8. Finance: Each missionary is responsible for raising the necessary funds for their monthly support in the field and the yearly cost of renewing your FM3 (Minister) visa. Sometimes, this ministry can help the team members with their costs.
It is also suggested that everyone maintain a good control of their expenses through an accounting system. This will also enable you do give a financial account to your supporting churches. With some Governments, the reporting of finances is something that requires strict guidelines and can lead to possible punishment if not done correctly.
9. Pastoral care: It is important to maintain a healthy team in order to do a good job in the field. This ministry can look to other resources and ideas so that the team can grow together. Some important points to put into practice are:
a. Team Meetings to minister to one another
b. Pastoral care by the leadership
c. Everyone maintaining their personal quiet time and study of the Bible
d. Organize a retreats time every year to reflect and enjoy a time together.
10. Personal life: Each team member has the responsibility to assist a Christian church in the area. It is very important to protect their health and family life.
Before Departing to the field Missionary
The missionaries’ preparation:
75 % of all field missionaries are failing or coming up short in their efforts abroad. Many errors are a result of poor preparation before embarking for the mission field. There are important areas of one’s life that should be developed before going out to the field missionary:
• Biblical education (min. 1 year) how can we teach a Bible that we don’t understand?
• Develop your gifts & talents (many times this happens at home or in the work place)
• Development of good practical abilities (how to live well with others)
• Preparation in a secular career (especially if interested in going to the 10/40 Window)
Participation of the sending Church
The majority of evangelical churches know that the Great Commission is one of the main
reason for their existence. The home church should provide:
• Spiritual formation of the candidate including times of ministry by the candidate
• Realist, measurable objectives for their missionary
• Regular pray covering
• Financial support (or at least a part)
• Pastoral care
• Mission Committee that can inform the congregation of the missionaries activities
• Communication and possible visitation with the missionary
The sending missionary Agency
• Trans-cultural education
• Development of the evangelical abilities within the candidate
• Development in technical areas for being better prepared to help meet social needs
• Approval and confirmation
In order to work legally as a missionary in Mexico:
In order for a foreigner to work legally as a full-time missionary in Mexico (in church-planting) it is required that they have a special visa called a (FM3) Ordained Minister as recognized by the Mexican government. The process might be initiated in one of two ways: 1.) Initiating the process in their homeland or 2.) Entering Mexico with a Tourist Visa and then beginning the long-term process here. The majority of time it seems better to begin the process in the homeland of the visiting missionary.
Requirements for FM3 (Ordained Minister)
1. Valid Passport
2. If married, a certified (sealed) Marriage Certificate from their home country
3. Sealed Birth Certificates for every member of your family
4. A sealed letter from your home church saying that you are in good standing and being sent by them to Mexico. You must specify you work under MPAM [legal coverage] and in connection with Arm of the Lord Ministry in Oaxaca.
There are available budgets to give an idea of the living cost in Oaxaca designed for both single missionaries and those with a family.