We think the best way to get your church engaged in global missions is to strategize, streamline, and plan.
“The most effective people aren’t the ones who dabble in a lot of things. The most effective people are the ones who choose a path and travel down it as far as possible.”—Matt Schmucker, 9 Marks
Take a look at your missions budget. Is it all over the place supporting every missionary who sends you a letter? If so, it might be time to reevaluate and prune the branches that aren’t producing fruit so you can better apply your resources to the ones that are.
Take some time to pray with your leadership team and ask God to reveal to you the top things your church as a whole is passionate about. It could be anything from a specific part of the world to a specific form of ministry. For example, some churches are passionate about biblical counseling and you’ll see they focus their efforts at home and on the mission field toward training biblical counselors.
Other churches are passionate about a certain country in Africa and they’ll send long-term and short-term missionaries there year after year.
In churches with a global missions strategy, you’ll notice that the whole congregation is familiar with their church’s focus and passionate about it too. If you were to visit the church that loves that country in Africa, you could stand in the pulpit and start talking about the country and suddenly you’d see people perk up and sit on the edge of their seats. Ask people to raise their hands if they’ve been there before and you’d see probably 20 percent of the room raise their hands. Then ask who’s heard of the country. It would be hard to find someone without their hand up.
You want to be that church.
Find out what your church is passionate about and own it.
That thing you just discovered your church is passionate about? You can make it THE thing.
It’s okay if your church doesn’t support every missionary who sends you a letter. In fact, it’s probably best. If you’ve ever raised support as a missionary yourself, you know how valuable it is to have only a few, but dedicated, church partners who get to know you, care about you, and invest in you in big ways through prayer and finances.
As a church, if you only support the things that are in line with your church’s passions and strategy, then you have the opportunity to get involved with each one and truly get to know on a personal level what God is doing across the world.
And when the time comes that you receive a letter from someone who is doing work that’s not in line with your church’s passion and strategy? You can send them a letter back telling them that you’re excited for their ministry, praying for them, but can’t support them because your church is focused on a different thing. They’ll actually probably appreciate it. And just wish they were doing your thing!
So now you know what your focus is going to be. And you’ve gently pruned away the missions opportunities your church had previously invested in that don’t line up with your defined global missions strategy. So now what? Where do you start?
- Know that your church doesn’t need to go at it alone. There are probably already organizations out there that only do what you decided to focus on. Take time to research them and talk to the people involved to learn more about it.
- Think about the opportunities you already know about that are in line with your strategy. Is their room to invest more deeply in them?
Think outside the box. It’s not always Westerners doing missions that have the greatest impact. There are nationals doing the same types of work in their own countries and cultures who you could partner with. LiveGlobal.org would be a great place to start to see if you can find a national mission that lines up with your church’s strategy.