What is a Sending Church?

August 07, 2023 Brian W

So, are we a supporting church or a sending church of our missionary? What difference does it make, anyway? Great questions. Let’s look first at what it means to be a Sending church, and then we will see if there is a difference between a Sending and a Supporting church.

 ~ Ekklesia

The church is called an Ekklesia 111 times in the New Testament, which means that we are set apart from the world, and the world’s people, into a separate, unique, Holy assembly. As an assembly under one true King, we have authority over our members granted to us by that King. Therefore, in Acts 13:2-3, the Holy Spirit calls on the Ekklesia to send Paul and Barnabas. When a Greek assembly sent off an apostle or, translated into Latin, a missionary, they had a specific mission or task to accomplish. We have two levels of setting apart here for a particular task. First, our King calls us all out of the unbelieving community and creates a special assembly that then ministers to and witnesses to that community. Yet some tasks require more effort and unique skills, and that is when the Ekklesia sets apart some of her members as missionaries to carry out these tasks.

When an assembly called out a member to accomplish a task, he was not set off to do the task alone or put in charge of strangers to accomplish their task. Instead, the entire assembly dedicated themselves to achieving the mission. Not all could go, but the whole assembly could help. Communication was vital to these missions as the assembly needed information to know what further action was required. Accountability was necessary since resources of the entire assembly were used; it was important for the assembly to know how and when their mission was accomplished. It is not the case that an assembly is in control of the mission, that is precisely why the assembly sends trustworthy people to the task, but the assembly is involved in seeing the task carried out. They care for the missionary as one of their own because he is one of their own. In some ways, the Ekklesia should own the mission more closely than the individual missionary. The Missio Dei is for the church. The church, in turn, uses missionaries to help her carry it out.


Brian W
Brian served 14 years in the Republic of Georgia, where he started a youth ministry, discipled new leaders, and planted over 15 new churches before serving in leadership of another missions organization. Brian is married to Maia and they have two children.