Mission Service Corps & the Cooperative Program
…but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.“ Acts 1:8 NAS
These words in red are known by all who are born-again believers to have been personally spoken by Jesus himself. All of us in the power of the Holy Spirit can handle the “Jerusalem“ part. That’s at home where we live. The being “witnesses“ part is simply telling what you have seen…just as in a court of law. We can even handle “Samaria“ in the course of our travels in the regions nearby. But when it comes to “the remotest part of the earth“, very few can handle that without partnering sponsors.
The Cooperative Program is a wonderful tool to provide the means for spreading the Gospel. But it does not cover the needs of some missionaries. Southern Baptist churches voluntarily send a percentage or a specified amount of their regular offerings to their state convention for state missions/ministries. A portion of those funds is combined with those from the other states and then are distributed to fund the North American Mission Board (NAMB), the International Mission Board (IMB), and other collective ministry activities. Special seasonal offerings; the Annie Armstrong Easter offering and the Lottie Moon Christmas offering provide precious gift funds for NAMB and IMB missions.
Mission Service Corps (MSC) Missionaries serve in many of the same mission roles as Career Missionaries. They do not receive salary and benefits from NAMB, but do receive support through training and placement services. Before appointment, MSC candidates are screened through the same process as Career Missionaries.
IMB missionaries are funded by the Cooperative Program. Only part of NAMB missionaries are funded. Of the more than 5,300 NAMB missionaries, generally, a third are career missionaries, a third are short-term funded missionaries, and a third are MSC missionaries, who receive no funding.
While some MSC missionaries are blessed to have the means to do their work from their own resources, many do not and must rely on partners to come along side. Some may have originally been self-funded, but with great sacrifice have expended all their savings to spread the Gospel. Their dedication may have literally impoverished them for the cause of Christ. As their monthly supporting partner, you have a role equally important with those who make the sacrifices of a missionary on the mission field.
Thirty year veteran missionary Al Campsen said, “We think that when we get to Heaven, the missionaries will be right ‘out in front’…but no! It will be those who gave that it might be possible for the missionaries to go.”
A shortage of funds is a crippling barrier for the work of many MSC missionaries. We believe that (SBC) church members and leaders need to be educated that not all missionaries are funded by the Cooperative Program. kTb Ministries is among those who do not receive any kind of funding from the cooperative program.
There are some MSC missionaries who are “tent makers” in that they have a regular job and still manage to devote (at least) the required 20 hours per week to ministry. But there are many like Ken and Thurleen Bain who work in such a remote area that it is impossible to be employed, and when their ministry is practically 24-7.
Remember, if God has called you to go into all of the world, He will provide the resources. But if you cannot go, you can partner in prayer and in funding with those who can go.
In the words of the Apostle Paul,
“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” Philippians 4:17 (NKJV).