UNDERSTANDING OUR GOALS:
Vision and purpose alone are not enough; we must also have certain identifiable goals in order to achieve them. While vision and purpose explain why we want to accomplish certain things, goals describe what we want to accomplish.
The Importance of Convictions
One of the first things we must identify is our convictions. God doesn't build the church on methods or practices, but upon Jesus Christ and His revelatory truth. Our understanding of that truth produces certain convictions that govern all that we say or do. When we talk about New Testament churches we are describing a conviction or set of beliefs, not a specific organization or affiliation. We mean a certain way of doing church based on our best understanding of God's Word.
Just as we have certain convictions about the Gospel and how it should be disseminated, so we should have certain convictions about the church as well. Yet many people who insist on clarity regarding the Gospel, act as if clarity regarding the church is unimportant. They believe that God made His thoughts clear regarding salvation and the individual believer's relationship to God, but did not do so concerning the church.
Whatever we do as a fellowship, it must be based solidly on convictions drawn from our understanding of the Word of God. We recognize that there will naturally be differing convictions among us on some matters. Methods and practices may change, but they must all be governed by a set of common beliefs regarding the church that we all share. We are convinced that God's Word reveals a clearly defined plan for the church based on Gods ways, not man's. Our destiny as a fellowship, therefore, is not to create a new way to do things. Nor is it to see how large we can grow or how many brethren or churches will join with us. Rather it is to build our churches and lives as solidly as we can based on our best understanding of Scripture.
Convictions Governing Our Goals
Let us now examine our deep convictions based on Scripture, before discussing our goals and how we plan to reach them:
God cares deeply for the local church
Each local church is important to God (Revelation 2&3). God puts all His resources at the disposal of the church. The work of God should emanate from local churches. If the local church is weak, the work of Christ suffers in the earth. God's purpose for the ministry (Ephesians 4:11) is to strengthen, encourage and build up the local church. If the local church is important to God, then so are its leaders. God intends for each local church to be led by a healthy and well balanced leadership team. Therefore, we must hold a conviction of the importance of each local church no matter how small or unimpressive outwardly. We will give our time, efforts, and resources to building up the local church and its leaders for God's purposes!
The need for identifying and releasing five-fold gifts
We believe that one of the ways God exhibits His care for the local churches is by giving them five-fold gifts. These leaders are given to the church-the church is not given to them. If we want strong churches we must have strong five-fold ministries willing to serve the churches.
Churches will reproduce themselves and plant other churches
When a country is economically strong that strength is partially measured by what it exports, not by what it imports (takes in). So as each local church is strengthened, it should begin to export itself (in obedience to the great commission) in two ways: by planting new churches and involvement in the worldwide harvest.
We must be involved in what God is doing around the world
Involvement in missions is not a luxury but a necessity. In America, we have been given so much that we dare not lavish on ourselves, but freely share it with others. We have a privilege and a responsibility to sow into what God is doing in the earth. Any movement or fellowship that does not encourage a vital missions thrust will remain narrow and self absorbed.
We must not remain isolated from other fellowships and networks
We recognize that Master Builders is one of many fellowships in the world that God is using. It is our conviction that we should strive to dialogue and work with all legitimate efforts to further the Kingdom of Christ, listening carefully to what the Lord is saying through them. We must be teachable.
Identifying Our Goals
To encourage and strengthen existing leaders and churches
Our focus in Master Builders must be upon caring for each local church represented in the fellowship. No matter what the size of the church, it is our desire that all get the same care and concern. The following ways are proposed to achieve this:
Periodic Regional and National Gatherings
One of the ways local leaders and churches are strengthened is by tying them closely with other churches in their local region. We will do this through regularly scheduled regional meetings for prayer, fellowship, training and ministry. We also regularly encourage quarterly meetings hosted by various local churches where the church itself can be blessed by the brethren and leadership can become known.
At least once a year we gather together to provide vision, a setting for relationships to form, and to possibly hear from others from other networks. These times are not to set direction for local churches but to inspire, encourage and bless the saints and strengthen leaders. They are also important for allowing various brethren opportunity to be heard from and share their gifts with the fellowship at large.
Provide Apostolic Leadership Team Ministry Interchange to Churches
To strengthen churches and leaders we must be specific about forming and releasing five-fold ministry teams in our midst to minister to churches. These teams are given to the church for its building and strengthening and encouragement.
Provide Five-fold Mentoring To Younger Ministries
In our churches are many younger brethren with five-fold calls who need mentoring from fathers to help them develop. It is our desire that this occur. Too often in a network there are a few who minister while others are spectators.
Publish Newsletters and Other Literature
We recognize the importance of putting into print some of what God has given us. We intend to use literature in every way we can for teaching, encouraging and enlightening the fellowship throughout.
Provide Leadership Training and Education
We recognize the importance of providing education and training for people, especially leaders. It is our hope to eventually offer both general and leadership training in various biblical and practical topics which would not only provide for excellent scholarship, but would be hooked to mentoring opportunities and "hands on" ministry at the same time.
To Help and Encourage the Planting of New Churches
Our focus must also be upon planting new churches. It is a priority for Master Builders. We hope to accomplish this through:
Providing Support for Initial Church Plants
We desire genuine church plants to succeed and are prepared to back them with prayer, ministry and finances if necessary. We do not want prospective church plants to fail because of finances.
Provide Apostolic Leadership Team Support
Apostles should be especially gifted in spearheading prospective church plants. Even where church plants have already begun, the wisdom, experience, and encouragement of an apostolic team is invaluable. We want to be specific in releasing and fostering these teams to assist in church planting ventures.
Encourage and Coordinate Regional Support of those Churches Nearby to Plants
One of the assets of working with other churches and leaders, regionally, is the support the various churches and ministries can give to the prospective plants. The sharing of minstrels, ministries and finances can be the difference between a new church making it and not making it. The first line of support for the new plant should be the churches in the region. The plant should be the vision of the whole region, not just the mother church doing the planting. It is our desire to foster and encourage such an effort, without interfering with local lines of authority.
Impact the Nations Through Foreign Missions Efforts
Our focus must continually be upon the world wide harvest that is now available. We plan to:
Provide, Encourage, and Coordinate Opportunities for Outreach to the Nations when Possible
Within Master Builders there are many seasoned servants with large and proven ministries in foreign mission fields. These include crusades, medical missions, short term missions, etc. Our goal is to make all the churches continually aware of these opportunities and ministries, so that the churches have an outlet to send young missionaries into the field, accompany experienced mission workers, and go on short term missions trips.
Provide Missions Education Where Possible and When Desired
Many local churches want to be involved in missions, but don't readily know how, or have the necessary contacts. We want to provide education to local churches on how to effectively involve themselves in missions. Such education from experienced missionaries and those who have spent years laboring in the field is invaluable to a New Testament Church Network.
Financially Support Missions Efforts when Warranted
There are certain mission efforts done by local churches that are worthy of support, and sometimes lack it. We would like to be standing by to help when necessary on a temporary basis. Master Builders as a fellowship has no vision to take charge of any local church's missions program. Our vision is only to help, strengthen, and support efforts of local churches when possible.
Work With Other Ministries and Fellowships When Possible
Other ministries and fellowships are doing missions effectively and from time to time we may join with them in certain efforts or opportunities. We also desire to learn from those who are doing this work effectively.