Policy Manual

A Church Development Division of Better Life Ministries

P.O. Box 1852

Arvada, CO  80001


  1. Purpose Statement

The Ethnos Commission (hereafter referred to as TEC) exists as a division under Better Life Ministries, focusing on the purpose of following the Great Commission:

The purpose of The Ethnos Commission is the advancement of biblical churches among Native, Hispanic and other people groups.  This will be accomplished by the following progression:

  • Evangelism and disciplemaking, which leads to a fellowship of believers.  Matt. 28:19-20
  • Training of leaders.  II Tim. 2:2
  • Trusting Christ to establish His Universal Church and local churches.   Matt. 16:18

Stategic focus:

  • Advancing:  “To put or push forward.  A forward movement, progress.” To make progress in the establishment of this church and moving it forward.”
  • Biblical:  Follows God’s biblical design for establishing local churches.  Acts 2:41-47
  • Churches:  A biblically functioning community of believers that is involved in:

*Evangelizing of Lost  (Acts 4:12)                               *Edifying of Believers (II Tim. 3:17)

*Equipping for Ministry (Eph. 4:11-16)                   *Employing of Leaders (Acts 13:1-3)

*Expanding of Ministry  (Acts 1:8)

  1. Structure of TEC:

TEC will keep the structure as simple as can be effective and efficient in order to achieve the results of the purpose for which it exists.

Ideally, the leadership will function as a team, working together to move the organization forward in its goal.  Administration and leadership will be added only as necessary.

The missionaries who join as staff will be used to multi-task, being good stewards of their talents in order to create an efficient, dedicated organization.  This provides the sense of teamwork and ownership in the organization.

  1. Entrance into TEC

TEC is interested in enlisting workers who are first called by God to minister cross-culturally in the aspects of church development.  TEC desires to have men and women who are committed to the various aspects of church development, including evangelism, disciplemaking, and leadership training, producing church establishment.  An application, including references, a medical exam and a doctrinal statement, is required.

  1. Missionary Staff

Full Time Missionary

Missionary staff will be considered full time, faith-supported missionaries, responsible for sharing with God’s people the ministry to which he/she has been called.  The support of a full time missionary must be underwritten primarily through donations.


The wives of the missionary are every much as employed as is the husband.  She will fill out a separate application.  Both spouses must have a call to missions and desire to work together as a team.  The wife is not expected to provide as many hours as the husband because of her responsibilities to her husband and family.  However, she is to be committed to serving as the Lord provides time and strength.  In order to meet IRS requirements, the wife will be employed and receive a salary.


There is a place in TEC for servants of God who feel called to minister in accord with the purpose of TEC; and yet, also feel that the Lord has not led them to leave their full time employment.  Tentmakers will need to apply to TEC to demonstrate agreement with the purpose, vision and doctrinal position of TEC.   The majority of their support will come from outside employment.  Missionaries coming under the classification of Tentmaker may also raise funds for ministry expenses.  In some instances, the Tentmaker may decide to raise a portion of his salary through donations, allowing him to limit his hours of outside employment.

If at any time the missionary chooses to change classification to Full Time Missionary, he may appeal in writing to the board requesting the change.  He will either have to demonstrate that he has adequate financial support to be a Full Time Missionary, or will embark on deputation to achieve that goal.


TEC realizes the need to reproduce missionaries, ready to serve the Lord in His Harvest field of souls.  Internships are a valuable opportunity to train and recruit new missionaries.  Missionaries are encouraged to host an intern, providing ministry and training for future ministry.  The intern is to provide his own faith-based financial support (receiptable through TEC) for his time of ministry.  Any requirements by the sending school or church are to be agreed upon and met by the intern.

Short Term/Volunteers  (to be developed)


TEC realizes that there are valid ministries that are under like-minded organizations.  Missionaries serving under TEC may partner with a ministry in order to see souls saved, discipled, trained and churches established.  The missionary is still responsible to TEC for support and direction.  There must also be a commitment to the team with which he is serving.

Missionaries under other mission organizations may partner with a TEC ministry in order to see souls saved, discipled, trained and churches established.  The missionary is still responsible to the organization he is affiliated with, being responsible for his own support and direction.  There must also be a commitment to the team with which he is serving.

Position and Policy Agreement

All classifications of personnel must annually, in writing, agree to the doctrinal position of TEC and agree to follow the policies.

  1. Financial Matters

TEC will be careful to have an accountable method of recordkeeping that will be in accord with IRS rules and regulations for ministers of the Gospel.

Job Description

Each missionary will have a job description on file that will provide guidance concerning the ministry expected.

  • The job description will be detailed enough to provide accountability to IRS as to the reasons that certain expenses are incurred.
  • The job description will also provide an ongoing focus of ministry.
  • The job description will be discussed and reviewed each year by the missionary and the leadership.
  • Job descriptions can be changed in accordance with discussion by the supervisor.  The final changes need to have board approval.

Deputized Support

Full time missionaries are supported through faith-based, deputized donations.  The missionary and supervisor will agree upon a minimum amount of support that will be required for the missionary to be able to serve full time.  This amount is determined by the missionary’s personal and ministry needs.  If at any time the missionary’s support drops to a level that produces serious hardship for continuing ministry, he will be required to leave the field to raise additional support, or he could change status to become a Tentmaker.

Missionaries need to understand that they are the representative of the support team.  Many supporters give sacrificially.  Therefore, the missionary is encouraged to be a good steward of the monies donated.

Annual Budget

Each missionary (Full Time, Tentmaker, Short Term, Intern) who brings in financial donations will be required to present an annual budget.  Depending on classification, the annual budget will include:

  • Living Allowance:
    • This amount is provided to the missionary as taxable income.
    • Taxes:  These are combined within the Living allowance.
    • Housing allowance:  All missionaries who are commissioned or ordained are qualified to receive housing allowance which allows a reduction in taxable income.  Therefore, all missionaries are required to be commissioned or ordained.
    • Insurance
      • Health insurance (or similar provision) is required for all missionaries.
      • Dental insurance is optional, but encouraged.
      • The cost of either/both forms of insurance are requisitionable, and not included in the taxable income.
      • Retirement
        • Each missionary is required to be enrolled in some form of a retirement plan that will provide adequate finances during retirement without relying on the support of churches.  The board will determine a minimum amount.
        • Increased amount can be approved by the board.
        • Ministry Expenses – including:
          • Ministry related expenses
          • Travel expenses
            • Mileage will be determined by IRS regulations.  This mileage  reimbursement is to provide the funds the missionary will need to keep adequate liability, medical coverage and property damage insurance, cost of fuel, maintenance,
            • The missionary will choose the means of transportation that is within the best stewardship of funds.  If flying or rental of a vehicle is less costly, and will accomplish the purpose for the travel, one of these means is to be chosen.


Full Time Missionaries are granted up to four weeks of paid vacation time per year.  Vacation time cannot be accumulated over the years.

Ministry Expenses

Ministry necessarily incurs expenses.  The missionary is permitted to include on the annual budget the anticipated expenses.   It is the missionary’s responsibility to provide a listing of expenses, including receipts, mileage log and/or itemizing listing of expenses (such as for meals served).


It is the responsibility of the missionary to annually file Estimated Taxes with the IRS.


There may be times when there is a financial need for a special project or ministry.  The missionary can present this need to the board for approval, over and above the annual budget.  Once approved, the project can be publicized for the raising of funds through donors.

Back Salary

If a missionary does not receive full salary (due to shortage of support), he can publicize personal needs (such as medical bill, house repair, etc.).  The funds coming for that need will be given to the missionary as taxable income.

Education Funds

  • Furthering of education:   Missionaries can requisition for the costs of additional education that will assist in effective ministry.
  • Children’s education fund:   Missionaries may feel that it is necessary for their children to be sent to a non-public school.  This may be because of the location of ministry or because of the lack of quality education available.  Children who attend college are also qualified for the education fund.   A project form must be presented for approval by the board so the missionary may publish this need.  Any money that comes for the child is to be considered income for the missionary.  The cost of taxes on the money may also be included in the overall costs.


Cell phones today are a vital part of ministry, allowing ease of contact in ministry.  The missionary is permitted to requisition a reasonable percentage of the cost of a phone as it relates to ministry.  This may include the additional cost of data package (internet, email, text messaging).  The wives are also permitted to have a phone.

TEC carries on the organizational business through virtual offices (via internet/email).  Because of this, each missionary is allowed to requisition for the basic cost of internet service.


Because of the practice of operating this organization through virtual offices, each missionary needs to have a computer for communication with the organization as well as with the support team.  Therefore, the missionary is permitted to raise the funds for the cost of a computer (including an extended warrenty).  This cost can be raised as a project.  If the missionary uses the computer for 3 years, the amount of cost will not be taxable.

In Kind Gifts

At times a supporter will desire to donate some type of non-cash item.  The donor will be able to receive a tax deductible receipt for the value of the donation.  If the donation is given to the individual missionary, rather than to the organization, it will be considered as taxable income for the missionary.

General Fund Costs

TEC desires to provide services to missionaries at minimal cost.  Stewardship is an important means of keeping costs from rising.  Missionaries serving with TEC will be willing to be multi-tasked, focusing on the aspects of church development, but also using their gifts/talents/training in meeting the needs of the organization.  As team members, the willingness to provide assistance in areas of need will be encouraged.

Tax Exempt ID Number

All missionaries will be allowed to have access to the tax exempt number for use strictly with the purchase of items that will be used for the ministry.

  1. Personnel Practices


Accountability is important for the missionary.  Therefore, each missionary will be required to provide a quarterly report to the General Director, his supervisor(s) and the board of directors.  The report will include a summary of what was accomplished during the quarter and the progress that was seen toward the missionary’s goal.  Future plans and goals as well as prayer requests/answers will also be included.

Prayer Letters to Supporters

It is the responsibility and duty of each missionary to keep his support team informed of the ministry he is carrying on.  Form letters sent out by email or postal mail should have a copy also sent to the missionary’s supervisor.  For the sake of stewardship, missionaries are encouraged to send as many letters as possible by email or internet blog.  Supporters who request a paper copy or do not have email, will still need to be contacted through postal mail.

Sending Church(es)

The sending church plays an important role in missionary service.  Since each missionary must be commissioned and/or ordained, there must be one church that is specifically the “sending church”.  However, each supporting church is in fact a sending church because of the partnership and responsibility connected with the missionary’s ministry.  When major issues develop (need of counseling, hardship, issues of grievance), BLM and TEC would keep the sending church(es) apprised so there will be a good communication and partnership for the benefit of the missionary and ministry.  “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12).

For liability, IRS regulations, and the relationship with the missionary, BLM/TEC will have to hold the final authority.  However, it is hoped that a mutual agreement can be reached.


Training and ongoing education is important to keep the missionary up-to-date.  This will be encouraged, or may be required as the need arises.  The missionary is allowed to take a sabbatical of three months or one semester every five years.  An extension of time can be granted through an appeal to the board.

For emergencies that arise requiring extensive absence from the ministry (such as, family, health), the missionary can make a request to the board for permission for a sabbatical.

Grievance Policy

Should there become a disagreement between a staff member and the leadership of the organization, the principles of Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1 will be the guiding factor in the resolution.  If the problem cannot be resolved in this manner, the staff member and the leadership will place the issue in writing and it shall be brought to the board.  Any issues addressed in the policy or procedure will be resolved through that document.  However, if there is a question of interpretation, the decision of the board will determine the outcome.  Should it still not be resolved, the sending church will also become involved.  There may be times when there is no agreement.  At that time it is recommended that the missionary seek a transfer to a like minded organization.  Every effort will first be made toward a satisfactory resolution.

If the missionary finds that he cannot agree and obey policy, he must submit his resignation.  He will be returned to his sending church for reassignment.

If the missionary is found to be guilty of a criminal offense or immorality, he will immediately resign or be terminated.   TEC will be willing to assist in the spiritual and moral restoration of this person.

Member Care

There may be situations in which a missionary needs the assistance of counseling.  If possible, this counseling will be done “in house” in a very confidential manner.  Should the issues become more serious than can be handled in house, it will be the responsibility of the missionary to avail of that help.  It is recommended that the sending church(es) becomes involved so they, too, can provide assistance.