by Jilmer Cariaga
Since its establishment in 1971, First Assembly Roxas Missions (FARM) has developed “A Church Culture for Missions” . Through Summer-of-Service (SOS), initiated and developed by FARM now adopted by PGCAG Home Missions, numerous churches were planted in rural and urban towns and cities across the country. Raised by dedicated FARM’s Missions Team and with generous gifts from church members, FARM has financially supported more than 500 pioneering churches as of this year. How do they accomplish that?
Preparing the Congregation
Data gathering, collating information, mobilizing its volunteers, and organizing the upcoming missions convention: these are things that occupy the FARM’s Missions Team’s busy schedule. They do this to prepare the congregation on the actual day. They should present to the congregation the names of local and foreign pastors and missionaries that they will be supporting, their location for missions or ministry, and the corresponding amount of support broken down into specific expenses for each of them. Sermons on Sundays prior to convention are designed to put more emphasis on missions and to encourage the members to give financial support to the church’s thrust. This is also done to give enough time for the congregation to pray for the God-impressed-in-their-heart amount that they shall give for missions.
Gathering Pledges on Missions Conventions
FARM’s Missions Convention is held annually. By the time the members enter the Convention Hall, their hearts are attuned to the challenging messages of the speakers. They are also responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit if prompted to give generously. Pledges that were gathered at the convention are recorded and will be reported to the body during regular church services.
Reports, Reminders and Records of Pledges
The task of FARM Missions Team does not stop after the convention. They shall be preparing a report of pledges gathered during the convention and to be presented to the congregation the following Sunday services. The report summarizes the total number of people who gave pledges and the total amount of pledges. The following days and months will be a bit more challenging for the team. The team has to ensure that those who committed to give financial support for missions are reminded of their pledges; that is also to ensure the projected amount needed to support missionaries and pastors is hit. They have established a follow-up system via text messaging, snail mail, emails or voice calls if necessary, to remind the members of their pledges. They also send “thank you” response to those who have given the pledged amount. Collections are done using the church’s “stewardship envelope”. Aside from pledges, the church also allocates the 10% of its monthly tithes and offering for missions. They also open their books for auditing both from internal and external independent auditors.
Going for Extra Mile Services and Support
FARM commits to give its full financial support for pioneering pastors and missionaries, but gradually reducing the amount of support after two years; thus, giving the beneficiary churches ample time to be self-sustaining including the support given to their pastor and workers. In addition to these churches covered by their missions thrust, the team also monitors those churches that were planted through SOS drive to identify what possible support these newly planted churches maybe needing.
The LORD honor their commitment as they have been blessed with the financial pledges needed to fund their missions endeavor. They never miss their target.