There is a great deal of “missionary” activity in the world today, but only that which is according to the will of God will have any true and lasting impact. The Apostle Paul warns us that on the Day of Judgment, “fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (I Corinthians 3:13-15). “Doing what is right in our own eyes” is not a guarantee that we are pleasing to God (Judges 17:6; 21:25), and “zeal without knowledge” can result in great loss (Romans 10:2). For this reason, it is important not only to know how HeartCry selects and holds missionaries accountable but also to know what the men and women we support on the field actually do. The primary ministries of the missionaries we support can be divided into five specific categories:
- Church Planters. These are missionaries sent forth with the specific ministry of establishing autonomous churches. A church planter is not one who merely aids in church planting or comes alongside those who are planting churches, but is one who is actually planting a church. This is and must continue to be the primary focus of HeartCry’s ministry.
- Pastor / Church Planters. These are pastors whose churches are actively involved in planting other new works and mentoring their leadership. The support enables them to facilitate their church-planting activities.
- Evangelists. The evangelist holds an essential ministry in the diffusion of the gospel (Ephesians 4:11). As it is used in the New Testament (Acts 21:8; Ephesians 4:11; II Timothy 4:5), the term refers to a special class of traveling missionaries who “gospelize” communities. Evangelists are often the forerunners to church planters and work in partnership with them.
- University Workers. Throughout the history of world missions, the church has been strengthened by its work on the university campus. Therefore, we cannot neglect this vital and fruitful ministry. However, this ministry must be guided by several biblical principles.
- Qualifications: The university worker must meet the requirements of a godly minister in doctrine and practice (I Timothy 3:1-7). Youth, zeal, and a winsome personality are not alone sufficient.
- Primary Focus: The work must be theological/doctrinal in nature. The university worker must hold his or her primary ministry to be the diffusion of biblical truth. Thus, the worker must be diligent to present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).
- Goal: Although on-campus student meetings and discipleship groups can be beneficial, the end goal of the work must be the students’ incorporation into a biblical church with members of all ages. Student meetings are not a substitute for the local church.
- Others. The support of church planters is and must continue to be our primary ministry. However, understanding God’s providence, we cannot rule out the possibility of giving support to some other category of ministry not mentioned above. A few examples of such an exception might be the long-term support of Bible teachers in a training center, of workers in a theological training by extension program, or of a person or ministry active in the translation of books or training materials.