As we turn the page on another year, many churches are finalizing their mission trip plans for next year and many others are beginning the process of looking for opportunities. It is my prayer that you would consider the following 5 things when deciding where your church and her members will engage in missions mobilization this year.
#1: Pray for Direction – The Great Commission has been given from God and we do not need to wonder if we are to be actively engaged in His commission if we are believers. We do, however, need to be in tune with God’s Spirit about where God would have us engage in the world. In Acts 16, when Paul was in the midst of his missional journey, God spoke to him to go to Macedonia and obediently he went. We must be careful to listen to where God would have us go and then obediently go.
#2: Think Long term Engagement – When Jesus called the disciples, He did not call them to a one week endeavor, He called them to a mission. Too often our mission “program” is about simply getting people outside of the church for a week and feeling good about our accomplishment. It is important as you seek God’s direction that you look at the mission He has called you to. Instead of sending people for one week and being done, begin asking how can we partner with the field to complete the mission. For many church planters and missionaries, one time, one-week mission teams are not effective in helping move the Kingdom work forward. However, knowing that they have a partnering church or group of churches that are in it for the long haul can advance the work far down the tracks.
#3: Count the Cost – Jesus told those who would follow Him that this mission was not about them; they were to deny themselves and be about the Kingdom. Mission engagement should never be about what is the easiest or cheapest way to get people from the pews to the field. In this economy, the pressure to cut cost is enormous. I would argue, though, that if God has called your church to His mission, He will provide the resources to get there. It will require sacrifice, it will require readjustments of priority, and it may require the killing of some sacred cows, but if God calls He will provide.
#4: Be Strategic – My friend Duane Kuykendall puts this best, “We cannot shoot the arrows and then draw the target, we must first draw the target and then shoot the arrows.” I have spent time with many churches that are spending lots of money and human resources shooting arrows before the target is drawn. The result is a lot of people and money going in lots of directions but often with no measurable Kingdom results. An effective God-given mission strategy will allow us to channel resources and people for maximum effectiveness.
#5: Network for Effectiveness – The Great Commission was given to all those who believe in Jesus. The task is too great for any one person or one church. As God leads your church consider how you can network with other churches to strategically connect for an even greater impact for the Kingdom of God. Networking can not only bring great impact to the field away from home, but can also lead to Kingdom networking in the community where you live.
I would encourage you to visit www.finditherenc.org to find more ways in which you can begin to maximize your church’s effectiveness in living out the Great Commission.