This article is the final in a series that has already been published and that has focused on the critical need for churches to build a strong foundation in missions. We all know that at some point the foundation is done, and then it is time to build. Once the foundation has been laid, the workers must build, grow, enhance, and develop whatever structure has been planned. The goal is that the foundation will be strong and will not crack, and the hope is that the future structure will be supported through any future development.
One of the greatest challenges for churches and church leaders is determining what type of missions foundation might be holding up the missions ministry in their church. The first article in this series dealt with the financial foundation related to missions. The second article in this series dealt with getting a congregation engaged in missions and growing that foundation. The third article dealt with the foundation related to growing the next generation in missions. This final article in this series will deal with the development of the missions structure itself once the foundation has been laid.
If you were certain that your church had a strong missions foundation and a strong heritage from the past investment in laying the foundation, would you also be certain that the missions ministry and its structure never needed any revamping? Although an architect may develop excellent plans for building a structure, that certainly never means that there is no maintenance, no remodeling, and no continued growth that will be needed in the future. For some reason this seems obvious when it comes to structures that we build for living, working, worshipping, or playing, but we don’t seem to always consider that a ministry needs to be maintained, grown, or remodeled.
As you or your church seeks to consider whether the missions ministry is stagnant, dilapidated, or even crumbling, here are some principles that will enhance the structure that was laid on a strong foundation in the past:
1. Consider your vision.
Although all churches should have a Great Commission vision that has some similarities, all churches can’t build a missions ministry on the exact same foundation. Maybe years ago there was a strong foundation planned with excellent design that fulfilled a congregation’s vision. Perhaps, though, that vision no longer fits with the personality or composition of the church. Your church’s missions ministry needs to have a clear V-I-S-I-O-N that fits your Values and Identity. Your V-I-S-I-O-N must also have a clear Strategy and plan for Implementation that can later be assessed for clear Ownership and needs for Nurture. (You might notice that our OMF team of missions consulting is used to leading churches through workshops on V-I-S-I-O-N!)
2. Consider your resources.
Different parts of the country tend to have houses built out of different materials due to availability of certain resources. An architect forming a plan must take those resources into consideration. A missions ministry is no different. When it comes to enhancing your structure, you want the resources to fit what you are trying to do. Certainly, resources should always be allocated to a Great Commission vision, but sometimes the same way that this has always been done is no longer effective. Consider that change might be necessary! Some churches use a portion of the regular tithes and offerings for missions. Some churches do designated gifts for missions. Some churches have a special offering once a year just for missions. Some churches do a fundraiser type event for missions. Finally, many churches do a combination of all of these. It is never too late to consider new ideas and new possibilities to remodel your structure!
3. Consider your dreams.
When building a structure on any foundation, there are many hopes and dreams for the structure. Some of the dreams are possible, especially when building the dream home! Sometimes the land doesn’t lay just right, the wall can’t be moved, the new floor plan is not practical, or the resources needed just aren’t there. When it comes to a missions ministry, dreams should still be considered! Dream big! Pray hard! Trust the Lord! Have faith! At the same time, you and your church should walk a fine line between attempting to build your dream home and remodeling the “fixer-upper”. Keep a wise balance between faith and trust and living large. Consider getting some wise counsel as to what others are doing, what has been successful for others, and then also realize that God may want to grow missions at your church in a way like no other!
As this series on foundations in a missions ministry comes to a close, hopefully, you and your church are ready to build. There is no excitement like an owner of a structure that has gone from the ground up to brand new or from fixer-upper to fancy! A missions ministry can become vibrant and beautiful and represent the excitement in God’s heart for the nations. This is a foundation worth building and a dream worth fulfilling.
Kirsten McClain serves in church missions mobilization for OMF. She has been serving churches and mission agencies for the last 20 years. She has a heart to see the church realize her potential in missions and is driven to be a mobilizer to this end. She lives in Georgia with her husband and three children, and she is ready to direct pastors to the various free resources that OMF uses to come alongside churches and individuals so that they can do missions well. firstname.lastname@example.org