Why bother with an agency?
December 2013

By Tom E. — Why bother with a mission agency? Can’t the local church just send out missionaries without the help of an agency? Or what about just going? Did Paul have a mission agency?

Mission agencies have a very specific skill set to move mission initiatives forward. Agencies, with their experience and specific strengths, are uniquely positioned to help prepare individuals and teams for cross-cultural service, navigate international issues of visas and security, develop strategies and coordinate the work of a team or teams engaging a particular unreached people group.

Today, two other issues also show the need for agencies to serve as the backbone of mission initiatives:

The first is globalization of missions and multi-national teams. SEND, along with many agencies today, work in teams, and these teams are becoming more and more multi-national. They are not only composed of Americans from a variety of churches, but also other global partners who have been sent out from their local church. With such a variety of churches and national entities, SEND sees the need for the agency to be the one who brings these diverse workers together, helps them develop as a team, and gives them a strategy for moving forward.

The other reality faced today in reaching the unreached is the coming and going of workers and sending partners. It is not uncommon today for a worker to be part of a team for a couple of years and then move on to something or somewhere else. This constant movement of people also calls for one group to provide the backbone for the team and see that the whole initiative moves forward with continuity. The group who has the time and specific skill set to do this is the agency.

SEND feels that in order for missionaries and churches to come together from around the globe and make a collective impact on the unreached, the agency is needed. But not agencies ignoring the church or trying to go around the church. What are truly needed are churches, missionaries, and agencies working together in healthy partnerships.

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Tom E.
Tom is a Christ-follower, husband, and dad who is discontent that 1/3 of the world is still unreached with the gospel. Tom and his wife, Lisa, joined SEND International in 1996 after graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary. They worked as church planters in Taiwan and East Asia from 1998 to 2004. After returning to the States, Tom worked in mobilization and training, and now works in diaspora ministry near Detroit.