Churches usually strive to be strategic when it comes to outreach, worship, discipleship and putting together the yearly calendar. Why then do we tend to ignore being strategic when it comes to mission? We will hear about an opportunity, know someone in need, see a news story about tragedy and fire up the church van to take a group to do missions. Not that these are wrong, but are they strategic ways of involving your church in the work of spreading the gospel?
When we talk about a mission strategy what we are referring to is a specific plan to engage our church in the work of mission around the world that is unique to us, that fits us and that challenges us to accomplish the mission better at home. To begin, try to answer these 3 questions:
1. Where is the heart of our church?
Think about countries, people groups, states and communities that are on the heart of your church body. Expand that thought to types of ministries that are on your heart. Do you have a burden for planting churches, revitalizing churches, engaging in social ministries and/or reaching unreached groups.
2. What if money were no object? What would you do? Where would you go?
It helps to push yourself to think beyond all limits. We are prone to self-censorship when it comes to mission. We eliminate some options without even realizing it because they are expensive to get to or expensive to accomplish. Expand your thinking to allow God room to share His dream with you.
3. What are the benefits to our church of going on mission trips and of sending our own to the mission field?
We must begin to see how participating in the mission helps our church become who God intended and that without going we are stifling the work of God in our midst. Mission is not merely a good option to include in the list of things your church is involved with. Mission is the purpose, it is the reason for your church’s existence. There are things God does through mission trips that can not be accomplished by staying home.
Answer these three questions and then begin praying asking God to open your eyes to His desire for your church. Ask Him to expand your thinking, to give you wisdom and guidance and to burden the heart of your church for the places and ministries He desires for you.