Level 3

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Phase 1: Interest and Calling

Introduction

The “Interest and Calling” phase assists Apostolic Christian brethren in discerning and preparing for potential service as a missionary/goer through HarvestCall. Local church leadership is instrumental in assisting the candidate in this phase. HarvestCall provides resources and counsel to both the Elder and the candidate as they discern God’s call. Several options including both short-term and long-term service opportunities are available. Each candidate will be informed about the Sending Process including the blessings and challenges of ministry.

Biblical Decision Making

The process of discerning the call to go should be taken very seriously. The Lord works in different ways to call laborers to the Harvest. Regardless of how the Lord is working and calling, a purposeful process should be initiated by those considering going. To aid in this process, candidates should consider and answer honestly the following questions based on the Principles of Biblical Decision Making. These questions and principles should be applied throughout the sending process.

Are you in alignment with the Word? (God’s Word as the Foundation)

Are you accurately viewing God? (Having an Accurate Concept of God)

Are you acknowledging God’s sovereignty over this process? (Acknowledging God’s Sovereignty)

Are you daily walking with the Lord in a manner consistent with His will in Scripture? (Walking with God)

Are you daily praying about this decision? (Praying for Direction)

Are you asking those who know you best for counsel in this decision? (Seeking Wise Counsel)

Are you surrendered in this decision and ok with whatever the result is? (Trusting and Having a Surrendered Heart)

Are you trusting God’s timing? (Waiting on God’s Timing)

Interest and Calling Preparation Checklist

It is recommended that candidates go through the Interest and Calling Preparation Checklist. The checklist is made up of ideas, helpful activities, and resources that will be beneficial to the discernment process.

Resource: Interest and Calling Preparation Checklist

Elder Counsel

Believing they have been called by the Holy Spirit, the brother, sister or couple should share their calling with their home church Elder (if he is not already involved). At least two separate meetings should then be scheduled with the Elder – one for counsel and a second, to receive support to begin the sending process.

First Meeting:

The first meeting should be centered on gathering counsel and input on discerning a call to the mission field. The Elder should lead the discussion in the meeting and focus on a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Their relationship with Christ
  • Counting the cost
  • Demonstrated passion for outreach
  • Victorious living
  • Relationships
  • Submission
  • Motives
  • Qualification

The Elder can refer to the Elder Counsel document as a base for his discussions with the brother, sister or couple.

Second Meeting:

After the first meeting, the prospective missionary/goer should take time to pray and consider the counsel received. If the calling is proved out and the prospective missionary/goer has a heart to move forward, a second meeting should be scheduled with the Elder to review the initial counsel and to ask for the Elder’s support to formally begin the sending process.

Resource: Elder Counsel Document

Elder Recommendation

The Elder will determine, based on his discussions with the brother, sister or couple and prayer whether or not to provide his recommendation to HarvestCall or to withhold that recommendation. A recommendation will be required as a prerequisite to the candidate applying to HarvestCall and beginning the Application/Selection Process.

Elders should fill out the Elder Recommendation Form and verbally pass along his recommendation decision to the brother, sister or couple.

Resource: Elder Recommendation Form

Learn and Discern Online Orientation

Candidates should consider going through the Learn and Discern Online Orientation. The orientation has been developed by HarvestCall to direct candidates towards helpful perspectives and activities in the decision making stage. The information can be worked through at one’s own pace. In order to access the content, please contact the HarvestCall Outreach Manager.

Implications of Going

Candidates should review the Missionary Experience Document. This document provides an awareness of the unique challenges and blessings of cross-cultural service that should be understood in considering a decision for going or staying.

Resource: Missionary Experience Document

Survey Trip

A survey trip is an investigative trip to the prospective field of service.

The candidate should take a survey trip at some point during the Interest and Calling phase in order to get a taste of the local culture, environment and team in the potential host country or mission to assist in further discerning the call that the Lord has placed on his/her heart.

The candidate should have a goal in mind for the trip to learn as much as possible about the potential opportunity while also taking time to seek the Lord.

Resource: Survey Trip Tips

Completing the Interest and Calling Steps

The Interest and Calling portion is compete when the brother, sister or couple decides to move forward with the Sending process, and they have the support of their Elder. At this time, initial discussions can begin with the mission to determine potential needs and whether or not the needs match the candidate's gifting.

These discussions will generally take place through the Outreach Manager, but may also occur directly with the mission. During this time, candidates should start thinking through the steps and potential time frames in the Confirmation and Commissioning Process and the overall Sending process.

Phase 2: Confirmation and Commissioning

Introduction

The goal of the “Confirmation and Commissioning” phase is to confirm the Lord’s calling of brethren to be sent and commission them for the roles in which they have the needed gifts and perspective. HarvestCall will work with the mission/church and the sending church to guide the candidate through the confirmation process.

This process will involve assessing and aligning the candidate to the role. HarvestCall will provide emotional, spiritual and organizational support through each step of the process. The mission will also provide the candidate clear communication on the role as well as an assessment of the candidate’s ability to fulfill that role.

The selection process should be carried out as efficiently and thoroughly as possible. Each component of the process should be managed in light of the candidate’s privacy and with respect to his/her seeking the Lord’s will and guidance. Each situation will also be looked at individually. While the principles and processes will generally be followed, circumstances may dictate variations. In any circumstance, the candidate should receive full disclosure of the steps in the process and developments as they occur.

Missionary Confirmation Process

The confirmation process consists of three primary phases that ultimately confirm the support of HarvestCall. It is important to note that the phases may not happen in the same order for each candidate.

1. Local Church Confirmation--The local church primarily confirms support through the local church Elder.  Before the process is initiated, the candidate is required to counsel with the local church Elder.  His support both verbally to the candidate and to HarvestCall through the process outlined on the following pages is required for the candidate to go through the process. The confirmation process is expected to take approximately three weeks.

2. Apostolic Christian Church/HarvestCall Confirmation Process--The national church through HarvestCall confirms its support through the assessment portion of the process. This process utilizes a questionnaire, an assessment through Apostolic Christian Counseling and Family Services (ACCFS), and an interview with HarvestCall. HarvestCall facilitates this portion of the process and confirms the support of the Apostolic Christian Church with the candidate and the mission. The Church/HarvestCall confirmation process could take approximately three months.

3. Mission Confirmation--The mission (ex. Regional Committee or local church) that the candidate is interested in serving has responsibility for the final confirmation. The mission should initiate a process wherein they can assess the candidate regarding his/her ministry and spiritual readiness and “fit” with the mission and role. This confirmation process is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete.

Pre-Placement Questionnaire

Candidates are asked to complete the Pre-Placement Questionnaire. This serves two purposes: 1) assists in getting to know the prospective candidate and 2) provides a way to pass information through the various steps of the process. This questionnaire will look and feel like a traditional job application, but it is not. The goal of this document is to give HarvestCall a glimpse at who the candidate is and what he/she believes.The questionnaire should be approached with honesty and transparency. The questionnaire should be used as an opportunity for the candidate to prayerfully think through various aspects that are important to establishing the Apostolic Christian Church’s support for his/her service.

Resource: Missionary Pre-Placement Questionnaire

Apostolic Christian Counseling and Family Services Assessment

To facilitate certain functions of support throughout the process, HarvestCall has partnered with Apostolic Christian Counseling and Family Services (ACCFS). Candidates will be asked to fill out the "Missionary Support Agreement." ACCFS offers a variety of assessments and professional recommendations regarding the readiness of candidates including mental and marital health.

After completing the Missionary Support Agreement and prior to the interviews, the candidate will be asked to complete assessments with an ACCFS counselor. This process generally involves two meetings and the completion of two assessments to explore mental and marital health. ACCFS will document their conclusions in a recommendation letter to communicate their perspective on the readiness of the candidate. If there are issues regarding readiness, a plan will be introduced to address the areas of concern. For the other phases of the missionary process, ACCFS offers interpersonal training and counseling. 

Resource: Missionary Support Agreement

Interview Process

As a part of the process, HarvestCall conducts interviews with candidates across 11 dimensions. HarvestCall has a group of brothers and sisters trained in the STAR interviewing method. Three different interviewers doing three separate interviews is common for interviews.

The interviews are generally done by phone with the intention that at least one id done in person. The 11 interview dimensions include:

  1. Relationship with the Church - How a person interacts with the church and how these interactions affect his/her daily life.
  2. Call to Service - Having a Spirit-led motivation to service with an understanding of the service opportunity.
  3. Sound Doctrine and Bible Knowledge – Well established in one’s faith with a strong knowledge of the Gospel.
  4. Servant and Team Orientation – Having an understanding of the personalities on the team and interacting appropriately with one another with a servant heart.
  5. Conflict Resolution - How a person deals with conflict with others and how he/she handles self-will.
  6. Character Traits – One’s character is established by being filled with the Spirit of God.
  7. Relationship with Family - How a person relates to his/her family which affects how he/she relates to others.
  8. Burden for Lost or Struggling Souls - Having compassion for others and desire for all to know the Gospel.
  9. Leadership and Submission - How a person relates within authority and also to those he/she has authority over.
  10. Cross-Cultural Life Adjustment – Experience and skills to successfully live and build relationships with those from a different cultural background.
  11. Specialized Skills - God-given and learned skills and abilities enabling one to be productive and successful in a particular role.

The interviews are not intended to be a “job interviews,” but instead is designed to be a series of discussions whereby the interviewers and candidates can share together the call of God and the work that God is doing in their lives. After the interview process, the candidate will be notified of next steps.

Mission Confirmation

The third phase of the interview process is the mission interview/assessment. This interview is with the mission/church where the prospective candidate is called to serve. This interview will focus more on professional skills and job fit with the mission and team. The timing of the interview will vary. Where roles are highly specialized and the candidate's fit is a primary factor, the interview will happen early in the process. Most often, the interview will happen after the support of HarvestCall is given. The regional interview is entirely managed by each mission.

Background Checks

For those roles that have significant interaction with children, whether missionary children or host country children, candidates will be asked to complete both Law Enforcement background checks as well as Child Protective Services checks. HarvestCall will cover the cost of the background checks and will make a formal request to the candidate to complete the needed checks.

Communication of Approval

Upon confirmation of the calling, the candidate should give prayerful and purposeful consideration to how this information will be shared with family members, church family, friends, employers, etc. While each situation is different, this information has the potential to be viewed positively or negatively. On the positive side, the calling provides a unique opportunity to serve and testify to the Lord's work in the candidate's life. There is also, however, the potential for hurt feelings due to separation and other sensitivities. Consideration should be given to ways to minimize these situations. When shared appropriately to brethren and the world, this communication can be God-honoring and edifying to the church.

Example:

  • Children - help them feel that they are an integral part of the process and have a voice.
  • Church members and friends - discuss the common calling to share the Gospel and how God is now calling you to serve and share in a new place. Talk about the benefits of staying connected and receiving the church's support.
  • Unbelievers - the candidate should share his/her testimony and how the purpose of this calling is to continue to share the Gospel with those in the mission field.

Local Church Sending Announcement/Support

The local church is responsible for sending and supporting the brethren who are going. After the candidate’s calling is confirmed, the Elder is encouraged to inform the local church congregation. This messaging shows the support of the Elder as well as the Apostolic Christian Church for the one being sent. Several key messages should be communicated: 1) appropriate information about the new opportunity (mission, location, timing, etc.), 2) the church’s roles to “send” the missionary and 3) support him/her spiritually, financially and through fellowship.

Resources: Church Support Announcement and Outreach Process - Local Church

Pulpit Ministers

Brothers who were pulpit ministers in an established Apostolic Christian Church at the time of their commissioning do not maintain their status as a pulpit minister across the denomination when they move to the mission field. For a place without a local receiving church, it is the decision of the local sending church whether or not the brother should maintain his role as one of the pulipit ministers of the sending church. When the brother is being sent to a place with a local church, it is the shared decision of the local sending church as well as the receiving church whether or not the brother should maintain his pulpit ministry role. Occasionally, it may be requested that the brother retain his role as a pulpit minister when moving to the mission location. This would apply if the brother is being sent for the purpose of church leadership and/or preaching.

Phase 3: Preparation and Sending

Introduction

HarvestCall is committed to the purposeful preparation and sending of brethren in to missions to which they have been called. The goals of this phase are to 1) provide each missionary/goer with a level of readiness and 2) engage the church to “send” the brother/sister and help him/her thrive in their mission. While it is the Lord that sends laborers into the harvest, both HarvestCall and the sending church play major roles in this effort. 

The preparation and sending phase begins after confirmation of the calling has been received by HarvestCall and the mission/church. The role of HarvestCall is to provide effective and relevant training for the brother/sister through developing and implementing a training plan as well as outlining other preparatory goals. The completion of the goals and training will enable the brother/sister to be sent to his/her mission field. The sending church is responsible for providing the primary spiritual, fellowship and physical support.

Preparation Plan

The preparation phase will be guided by a preparation plan. This plan outlines the training components and other preparatory goals for 1) the brother/sister, 2) representatives from the mission field and 3) others involved in preparing the brother/sister for the assignment. The plan will outline the roles and specific plans related to the following areas:

  • Mission and Culture
  • Church and Support
  • Personal and Family

The plan will be agreed upon by the brother/sister, the mission and the sending church. The primary accountability for the completion of the preparation plan will be on the brother/sister with support provided by a mentor. Some of the key areas of the plan, such as participating in an orientation and preparing spiritually, culturally, medically and financially, are discussed in more detail below.

Orientation

As part of the pre-field preparation, missionaries/goers will be asked to participate in an orientation. This orientation is conducted by HarvestCall and provides some basic training on a broad range of topics related to service in the field and serving on behalf of the Apostolic Christian Church. In general, this will be completed with other missionaries/goers who are going through the pre-field process at the same time.

Spiritual Readiness

The most critical component of readiness and preparation is being prepared spiritually. Spiritual preparation is not about a checklist or a specific list of training classes. Instead, it is about the brother/sister developing a fully-dependent, obedient and intimate relationship with God. This involves utilizing and incorporating the Word of God in every aspect of life. Spiritual readiness will manifest itself through evidence of the Fruit of the Spirit, participation in the body of Christ and leading an overcoming life. Recommendations for spiritual preparation will be included in the preparation plan.

Cultural Acquisition

In accordance with the HarvestCall “Ministry Practices” Guiding Principle #8, “we will strive to minister in ways that are respectful and relevant to indigenous cultures, being careful not to create dependency.” In an effort to apply this principle, a commitment to learning about and how to appropriately live in the culture being served is critical. Cultural acquisition is not necessarily the full adoption of and adherence to the local culture, but is a commitment to learn and respect the culture. The goal is to minister the Gospel in such a way that the message is not hindered by cultural roadblocks. Learning a culture will likely involve living among those being served, building relationships, asking many questions and being willing to make mistakes. Books and other formal resources can also assist with cultural learning.

Language Acquisition

HarvestCall believes in the full adoption of the local language of the people being served by the brother/sister. Since each brother/sister’s language proficiency is different, a language acquisition plan should be created with the mission. Often, initial portions of language learning can begin prior to transition to the field. In spite of the unique challenge of learning a language, every brother/sister should make a commitment to do this. Resources are available to assist through HarvestCall.

Medical Preparation

Often, medical precautions such as vaccinations are needed to serve in the mission area. The brother/sister is encouraged to ask those currently serving within the mission for recommendations and advice. Review the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for the host country and abide by the recommendations for medical preparation. If the brother/sister does not wish to follow the CDC recommendations, he/she should discuss this with personnel in his/her respective mission.

Financial Preparation

The financial support of missionaries is viewed as a shared responsibility between HarvestCall and the sending church. HarvestCall utilizes the Servant Fund as the primary financial support mechanism for Apostolic Christian missionaries (see the Servant Fund Policy by clicking on the link below). The sending church will be asked to collect a substantial portion of its missionary’s support for the Servant Fund and should also be prepared to assist with incidental expenses. 

For the missionary, there are several requirements involved in financial preparation and documentation. Please see the New Missionary Financial Guide in the resource folder for a list of required information. Also, there are unique tax and planning considerations with the Servant Fund, please see the Servant Fund Tax Guidelines.

Resource: Servant Fund Policy and Servant Fund Tax Guidelines 

Sending

Sending for a church is the act of setting apart brethren to be commissioned for a task on behalf of the church.This is most clearly exhibited Biblically in Acts 13:1-3, but is demonstrated throughout the scriptures.  In Matthew 9:38, we are instructed to “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” As such, it is the Lord who sends forth workers to the fields, but the local church, as the body of Christ, gives exhibition to that sending by both commissioning and supporting the work. In commissioning, the church is expressing its confidence in the work for which the worker is being sent. And, in support, they are expressing their engagement with the worker that is being sent.

Church Communication

For the church to engage in its role of sending and supporting the brother/sister, the brethren need to be informed of the brother/sister's calling and his/her work and the church's role in support. The responsibility for this communication is shared between the sending church Elder and the brother/sister.

Update/Sharing of God's Work

Prior to leaving for a first term, a forum should be created for the brother/sister to share his/her calling and upcoming work with the church. As a part of this forum, the Elder or the Outreach Manager should share with the church their responsibility in supporting the brother/sister spiritually, relationally, and physically. Similarly, during annual furlough, follow-up communication should be given to the home church. Consider choosing a different method for this communication each year. Examples of communication include having the brother/sister share his/her testimony at a hymn sing, presenting during a Wednesday evening service or after a Sunday service, having a special evening at the Fellowship Hall and presenting to the Sunday School or at a retirement home. (Note: When sharing a testimony with the sending church, the brother/sister should express appreciation for spiritual and financial support and fellowship.)

Sending Service

Prior to the brother/sister’s transition, the church should conduct a sending service. This service typically involves the entire church and is coordinated under the direction of church leadership. The sending service communicates clearly that the local church is sending the brother/sister and that he/she will remain as an extension of the sending church.

Resource: Sending Services Document

Church Support

To assist the church in fulfilling its responsibilities for support, two roles have been established to ensure all of the necessary support is maintained. A "mentor" is responsible for assisting the brother/sister in maintaining spiritual support and an "advocate" is responsible for the relational and physical support of the brother/sister by the church. These roles should work together, and those engaged in the roles are encouraged to leverage the gifts of the church to fulfill their roles.

Mentor Support

Every missionary/goer will have a mentor who is chosen by the brother/sister. A mentor is a brother or sister in Christ who provides primary spiritual accountability to the brother/sister through the roles of listening, coaching and counseling. While the mentor does not need to be from the sending church, he/she will be functioning on behalf of the home Elder and therefore need to be confirmed by him. The mentor also acts as a liaison on behalf of the Elder to provide spiritual support. The foundation for the mentoring relationship between the brother/sister and the mentor should be consistent communication (at least two times per month).

Resource: Missionary Mentor Role Description

Advocate Support

An advocate is a couple or brother/sister from the brother/sister’s sending church responsible for providing primary fellowship accountability to the church and the brother/sister to ensure that each is fulfilling his/her role. The support advocate is not meant to be the sole voice to and from the church, but is encouraged to engage the whole church in the role of supporting the brother/sister. The advocate should also ensure that the brother/sister is consistently communicating with the sending church and keeping a pulse on the relationship between the sending church and the brother/sister.

Resource: Missionary Advocate Role Description