Last week, at our annual state convention, we recognized churches that had shown marked improvement in their missions participation. Those churches understood the commandment we’ve been given to go and make disciples of all people and had intentionally sent their members out on mission.
It was so interesting to learn of things the churches had done to encourage their members to be on mission. One pastor even commented that the increased attention on the various aspects of missions praying, giving and going contributed to a cultural shift within the congregation that led to the increased missions participation. They recognized that their church had a responsibility to send members out on mission trips, church planting efforts, disaster relief responses and local community ministry projects. Living as sent people had brought intentionality to their going that God desires for His church. They didn’t just go on mission, but were sent on mission by their church.
The culture of a church will greatly influence whether or not it becomes a sending church. Culture is the personality of the church. Culture, more that vision or strategy – is a powerful factor in the church. Therefore, it’s possible that the personality or culture of a church will need an adjustment so that it can become a sending church. Here are some steps toward development of a missions culture, that in turn, will produce a sending church.
- Preach sermons about missions – tell them of the church’s responsibility to send and our responsibility to go.
- Expect it. Share with leaders, members and visitors that everyone is commanded to go and we’ll help you to be obedient.
- Repent of your failure to send and go as the Bible commands, if you’ve not been doing so.
- Communicate impact – share and celebrate missionary achievements, spiritual decisions and answers to prayer.
- Skype with a missionary, or invite them to come and speak during the service.
- Pray for missionaries and ministry needs – share specific needs.
- Offer many different kinds of opportunities for people to use their gifts, talents and skills in missions and ministry (mission trips, local projects, long term service, etc).
- Give scholarships to financially enable people to go.
- Provide missions education opportunities for children and adults – small groups, Sunday School, online, etc.
- Plan and implement a missions fair to introduce members to missionaries and missions opportunities.
- Encourage giving to missions and share how the offerings are used.
- Commission individuals and groups going out on mission.
- Adopt a missionary – develop relationship, provide support, give updates on their work, invite them to come, partner with them in the work, send teams.
So, what is the culture within your congregation? What steps will you take to influence your church’s culture that will result in more people being sent out on mission?