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Philosophy of Missions

"I want to challenge every adult Bible Fellowship to adopt a country … something beyond our limits. Begin praying for that country, for the missionaries in that country, and as a class, begin sending people on mission trips to that country. … We’re going to break out of our comfort zones … out of our seats and into the streets … and we’re going to start sharing Jesus not only to our neighbors, but to the nations like never before. This is what I want to spend the rest of my life doing … and I pray that you’ll be doing it as well." —Pastor Jack Graham

Make Disciples: (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 14:21–22) 
Evangelism
 is at the core of everything we do; however, it is viewed as the first step in the discipleship process.  Jesus commands us to go unto the ends of the earth and make disciples, not merely converts.  Our aim therefore, is to prioritize disciple making and integrate it into every facet of our missional efforts—from the sending of our people to the equipping of the indigenous.

Plant Churches: (Act 19:1–7; 20:17–20; Acts 14) 
We believe the church is God’s agent of transformation for both individuals and communities.  Wherever we set out on mission, we will plant reproducing churches to continue the mandate of discipleship beyond our participation.  These churches will come in all shapes and sizes.  Each church will look fairly different because they will all fit into the cultural context in which they were planted.  However different these churches may appear to be, they will all be focused on the Gospel, making disciples, transforming their communities, and winning people to Christ.

Train Leaders: (Titus 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:2)
A church is only as strong as its leadership.  In order to facilitate rapid, healthy church growth, strong leadership must be identified, equipped, and enabled.  Leadership development, particularly at the pastoral/church-planter level, will ultimately dictate the long-term success of the mission.  We are committed to the development of these leaders.

Empower the Poor: (Galatians 2:10; Matthew 25:31–46; Acts 20:32–35) 
The poor are a priority wherever we find ourselves on mission.  In our efforts to serve the poor, we are more concerned with empowerment than simple provision.  Our aim is not to give handouts, or create a sense of dependence among those we serve.  Rather we invest in models that enable and empower the poor to realize a poverty-free lifestyle.

Sustainable Models: (1 Thessalonians 2:9–14; 2 Corinthians 11:7–12) 
All of our ministry models are geared toward financial independence.  Outside of our IMB missionary support, we do not give resources to projects/models that require continued annual support.  As we create missional models overseas, we create them with the intention of handing off financial responsibility to the indigenous leadership.

Mission Dictates Mobilization: (Luke 10:1–2; Romans 10:14–15) 
Our priority is advancing the Gospel in places where the harvest is ripe and the laborers are few; therefore, our missional strategies are wrapped around the spiritual needs of the harvest and not the spiritual needs of the sender.  The harvest dictates the mission, thus the need for us to mobilize our people for their personal growth will not shape the mission.  Nevertheless, we trust that the sent will grow as a result of going.

Strategic Locations: (Acts 20:31; Galatians 1:21–2:1)
We believe that God has given us some specific missional locations to focus on and invest ourselves in.  Our desire is to create a growing “beach-head” with well-developed processes and strategies for church growth.  Rather than spreading resources in too many places, we will focus resources for synergy, accountability, and optimal growth.

Global Christians: (Habakkuk 2:14; Psalm 67; 2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Revelation 5:9–10)
Every member of Prestonwood plays a dynamic role in God’s plan to be glorified in the nations of the world.  We believe every member is a missionary, and as such, they are to participate in God’s missionary purposes by going to, sending toward, and praying for, the nations of the earth.  We will equip our members to understand God’s heart, and discover and accomplish their specific role in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.