Becoming a Good “Missions Church,” pt. 6 – Final Steps

Building on the previous posts in this series, here are some closing steps to take.

  • Many "missions types," are highly critical of the local church. Sometimes this is due to a perception that the local church isn't doing much evangelistically. This may in fact be true. Just remember that ultimately, building a successful global outreach ministry will depend on the healt of that local church. Don't complain. Help.
  • Sometimes people have a passion for global missions because of a sense that money spent domestically is simply "spending money on ourselves." Normally, missions money is spent on exactly the same things as local ministry dollars are. They are just spent abroad. You'll be better off focusing on building a global vision rather than local resentment. 
  • To help get leadership on board, I would recommend putting a trusted person who is known as a fan of the church as the leader of the project. It will dislodge relational blockage, and get people working together for the Cause much faster than otherwise.
  • Global missions is not a good place to put a critical person whose criticism is mistaken for passion or whose lack of involvement elsewhere seems to be evidence "they just need to be plugged in." Global missions deserves our best, and that means putting good leaders with the respect of and for other leaders in that role. Emerging leaders are OK…but the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in their life and they must do a good enough job they don't accidentally sabotage the ministry in it's infancy.
  • When it comes to casting vision over time, the I.V. drip is a better approach than the annual fire hose. Tell stories more briefly, more regularly, at various times, and at the right times. Telling stories effectively and in varied ways is one essential practice that will lift a church's global vision.
  • One of the most effective ways to share with the church what's going on around the world is to make use of the interview style of teaching. I will sometimes set the stage with a couple of seats, a miniature coffee table in the middle and interview the missionary instead of either of us reporting. I ask about everything from their family life to questions people find interesting or really want to know about other parts of the world—like, "what is the one thing you wish Americans understood about the ______ people?" "What does the average Ukrainian think of Americans…and tell the truth :)" "What one thing could our church do to bless your ministry?" Ask them to describe their home, where they live, where they meet non-Christians. Ask them what their average day is like. Ask them what they do for encouragement when times really get tough. The key is to make it an authentic, informative, interesting conversation…but not mechanical. Look at them, not the church as you talk to them. When the church leaves, they will know the work better, know the missionary better, and be much more engaged going forward.

Lastly, global missions, like all ministry, is highly relational. Focus on building good relationships with your missionaries, and among those who comprise and lead ministry teams in the church. It's not the amount of money you give to missions that makes you a good missions church. It's the amount of the mission in your church that prepares it to be a good missions church.

We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God. — John Stott

 

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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