In times like these, we begin to realize how critical our foundations are. We all strive to value strong foundations all the time, but we all know that we struggle to put down strong foundations. It is often easy to build and grow and expand during the good times without giving detail to the first steps that are required. Really…who wants to waste time to read the instructions? Come hard times, we start to remember how important it is that we not let ourselves get too far ahead of what our foundations can endure. Indeed, foundations are critical.
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. This particular article will deal with the engagement foundation related to missions.
Does the term mobilization mean anything to you? It is often used in reference to armies being moved into action. Sometimes it is used in reference to movement of a certain body part before or after injury to describe how much mobility is achieved. In the missions world, mobilization means being moved to purpose through the reading of Scripture and then applying the calling that comes through the Great Commission so that others may also become engaged in fulfilling their part of the Great Commission. In other words, for those who see the benefit and purpose in mobilization, their own calling will not stop with just having a personal understanding of how to engage in the Great Commission. Rather, they will seek to engage others!
As you or your church seeks to move from individuals being personally involved in missions to gathering others for a collective purpose, here are a few suggestions or principles to guide you as you consider the engagement foundation for your church’s missions ministry:
1) Make sure there are multiple bricks in your foundation.
It is very common for churches to delegate the missions task to the missions committee or missions team or missions board. Whatever you call the group of people seeking to do this task, a handful of people should not be the only ones trying to fulfill the Great Commission. Not only is that not biblical, it isn’t even logical when you think about what makes a great foundation. The missions ministry should look more like a pyramid with the foundation being strong, deep, and wide using lots of people to engage in the missions ministry. The missions committee, by whatever name they may have, should be focused on shifting the activity or work of missions to the congregation (that’s mobilization, friends!). They should seek to continuously involve others through inspiration, information, and opportunities.
2) Consider the building plan that comes after the foundation.
Nobody builds a foundation for a building without considering what the purposes will be for the end product. Why then do individuals or churches see missions activity alone as being a strategy? In order to properly engage others, they must know what it is to which they are being invited to participate. Simply saying that the foundation will be part of the house that will be built or part of the building that will be built is not enough. Likewise, saying missions is the goal is simply not enough. In order to engage others, the church or individual must first have a strategy in place. If you or your church aren’t certain just how to build a missions strategy that is specific and detailed, be sure to find a church missions consultant to assist in that process!
3) Resources, resources, resources DO matter!
Just like a building’s foundation is not built without good and solid resources, the same is true for church missions mobilization. Whether it is assessing the physical resources available to a church or individual or whether it is being certain there are on-ramps to missions, mobilization can’t happen without various types of resources. This principle does not refer only to financial resources. Proper mobilization occurs when a foundation includes logistical, administrative, and technical resources. It comes through relational resources, intellectual resources, and resources that will assist all kinds of people (including a variety of ages and stages of life).
Consider your foundation for engagement today! (And if you would like, contact a church missions consultant for free assistance in walking through your blueprints!) Your entire congregation will receive a blessing from beginning to engage more people in the Great Commission, but the greatest benefit will be in fulfilling God’s plan to reach the nations.
Check pastorresources.com for part 1 of What Kind of Foundation?
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. [email protected]