How churches do missions is changing. Traditionally, prospective missionaries leave their church families to join mission organizations to execute the vision and tasks of the organizations. But here in South Florida, churches themselves fulfill the role of the mission agency. Calvary Chapel Boynton Beach, First Baptist of Fort Lauderdale, Calvary Church in Jupiter, Grace Fellowship in West Palm Beach Florida, Calvary Chapel Port St. Lucie, and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, are planning projects, training missionaries, and staffing their own cross-cultural mission ventures with people from their own church communities. “The possibilities for churches and their missions involvement are endless,” says Pastor Jeff Jackson, founder of Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. Convinced that local churches can and should venture into cross-cultural endeavors, Jackson fashioned a unique missions organization to come alongside churches to help them realize their visions for missions.
“Shepherd’s Staff desires to stimulate innovation and flexibility in fulfilling the vision God has given the local church and its missionaries,” shares Jackson.
The administrative and human resources challenges of sending people into the field apart from an agency or separate non-profit organization are tremendous. The documentation and receipting of donations is a mine field for churches. Keeping compliant with the complexities of IRS tax law is a monumental task for already over worked church staff operating on a shoe string budget. This is the number one reason why churches outsource funds and personnel to para-church ministries rather than doing missions in-house. The organization Jackson founded permits churches to simply outsource the administration and accounting of missions. This allows resources and personnel to remain in the care of the local church. Mission projects are stamped with the DNA of the church community.
Outsourcing freed Grace Fellowship in West Palm Beach to launch The Timothy Initiative, a global church planting venture, to train and send its own missionaries. Calvary Church in Jupiter is able to send a missionary family to Costa Rica to build and run a Life center. Calvary Chapel Boynton Beach was able to plant churches in Costa Rica, Peru, and Belgium, without having to establish separate non-profit organizations to handle donations and missionary salaries. These are outsourced to Shepherd’s Staff. First Baptist of Fort Lauderdale is able to send out a missionary couple to Thailand who, is then free to customize Life to the needs of the region. Calvary Chapel Port St. Lucie and Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale were able to each quickly and separately respond to Haiti’s devastating earthquake by bypassing third party agencies and putting their own people and resources on the ground in Haiti.
“Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators is a helpful and convenient tool in the hands of the pastor of a local church; a practical expression of a pastor’s love for those members of his flock who heed the call to serve overseas,” says Jackson. “We will always esteem and reinforce the authority, integrity, and role of the local church as the primary vehicle through which God chooses to make disciples of all nations.”
To learn more about Shepherd’s Staff Mission, please visit: www.shepsstaff.org.