ABT exists to serve the church’s mission. We believe that sending out church planters and giving them direction in that work is the responsibility of churches. Our function at ABT is Bible translation and related supporting work, which ultimately supports the goal of discipleship and church planting. We refer to churches we partner with as sending churches.
The church-planting team carries out Bible translation under the direction of ABT, and church planting under the direction of the sending churches.
The Support Team
Primary support for each church-planting team member is provided by his sending church. However, most sending churches will want to appoint a smaller support team to serve as a connecting link. This smaller support team can stay in touch and look after the church’s foreign worker(s) in specific ways.
We suggest that the support team include one or more of the church’s leaders. At times it may also be appropriate to include someone from another congregation. Some churches or church groups appoint a mission board to function as the support team. Regardless of the model used, it is important to ensure that the wives and other ladies on the church-planting team, and not only the men, are cared for with intentionality.
Areas of Support
The following are essential areas of support which the sending church or support team should undertake.
Prayer support. Intercede continually, and keep the church and other intercessors informed of prayer needs.
Moral and emotional support. Stay in touch, provide a listening ear, and be an intentional encourager.
Logistical support. Deal with home-front details so they don’t have to. Be ready to find and send short-term helpers.
Communication support. Keep the worker connected with the home church. Share news, sermons, and prayer needs. Visit regularly.
Financial support. Provide a channel for funding. Commit to providing a portion of the individual’s or family’s budget.
Re-entry support. Prepare them for reverse culture shock upon return. Help them integrate into a home setting that no longer feels like home.
The Sending Church Encounter
ABT representatives meet with each sending church. This Sending Church Encounter takes place while a worker is still in training, preferably after a support team is formed. It provides an opportunity for discussion, establishing relationships, and clarifying roles.
Partnering with Other Churches
Church-planting teams often comprise individuals from various sending churches. ABT will facilitate discussion about compatibility between potential team members and their sending churches, and help clarify the roles and expectations of each.
The church-planting team looks to their sending church(es) for guidance in things related to church planting. Usually it is best if one sending church is chosen, by agreement with the other churches, to provide such guidance. Other sending churches may provide input as agreed upon.
ABT encourages churches and teams to approach church planting from the beginning in a way that leads toward the goal of a maturing indigenous church. By “indigenous” we mean a truly local and native church that does not depend on foreign methods, resources, or leadership, in order to continue and grow. We offer resources to help show what this might look like, but we do not attempt to exercise authority over the church-planting process.
During training, ABT reimburses the member-in-training for one third of training expenses. We encourage the sending church to contribute an additional one third to these costs.
Before field placement, a monthly support amount is determined by the sending church in conjunction with the worker. Annual budget amounts for a family typically range from $30,000 to $50,000 depending which part of the world they live in.
The sending church establishes a fund to provide a channel for financial support once a worker is on the field. ABT contributes one third of the monthly support amount to that fund. The sending church contributes an additional one third. Additional support may come from other interested individuals, whether directly to the worker, through the church, or by means of team sponsorships that ABT would offer at the church’s request.
"Foreign Servants: EXTENSIONS of your local church!"
Preached by Joe Root to a sending church in Kansas
Consider the Scriptural call to establish indigenous churches, and the sending church's role in this work.
The entire sermon. 46 minutes.
Or click the link below for a shorter version. This includes the second half of the above message.
Is someone from your church interested in serving on an ABT church-planting team?