At OneHope, we have set the audacious goal of reaching 4.2 billion children with God’s Word by the year 2030. To achieve this goal, we’ve had to architect a strategic plan and begin laying groundwork to catalyze a global church movement. Our blueprint will not only to help us attain this reach, but also allows churches to lay tracks for continued reach and discipleship for generations to come.
A lot of the weight of fulfilling the Great Commission falls on the shoulders of pastors as well as church and ministry leaders; it’s their responsibility to build a biblical theology of missions into the life of their church or para-church organization so that congregants are informed and able to be good stewards of the resources God has given them to invest well in the kingdom. Unfortunately, a lot of churches and organizations spend little time thinking about what their missiology is going to be, let alone communicating it, and fail to garner buy-in from their people.
Find out how you are doing in the area of missions strategy by asking these five questions organization-wide:
1. Can you summarize your missions strategy?
• Take out a piece of paper or your phone and, without any help or looking anything up, in your own words write it out now.
• Spring this “pop quiz” on your leaders at any and all ensuing leadership meeting(s) over the next month and collect data. (Don’t leave anyone out!)
• Go check what you’ve gathered against your official documents—how did you do?
2. Can your congregants summarize your missions strategy?
• Surprise all different levels of the Church – children, youth, adults, seniors – by passing out pieces of paper unannounced, or set up an online survey. Without prompting or preparing (and cover up that billboard at the front of the auditorium), ask them to summarize what they understand to be the church or organization’s mission strategy.
• Check their responses against your official statement—how did they do? (Note: Be sure to do steps 1 and 2 around the same time.)
3. Is your whole church/organization on board?
• Does your praxis match your stated vision?
• Does your Church calendar and communications strategy propagate your missions, vision and objectives?
• Do your monthly and yearly financial commitments reflect the vision and values you’ve said are priorities?
• Take a look at giving records—are you having a hard time getting people to give to missions? Are they funding individual missions outside of the church, therefore strapping your fund and limiting its capabilities? Or are your people joyful givers, anxious to contribute to a missions fund bursting with readiness to launch local and global outreaches and programs?
• Are you having to react to multiple requests without clarity on what you should clearly say yes or no to?
4. Do your regular and/or “major” givers donate joyfully and can they articulate how they KNOW their gifts are making a difference?
• Do you measure the outcomes/outputs of your programs?
• Do you regularly update your congregation/givers and share stories, successes, and wins?
• Are givers spending time with you in strategizing about their estate plans and significant gifts?
5. Does what you are doing locally to impact your community mirror what you are doing globally?
If you paused, wavered, differed, deferred or answered “no” to any of these questions, you may actually be reactive when you thought you actually had a proactive missions strategy.
If you answered every single question with a resounding yes (and you’ve actually tested each one and proved yourself correct)—congrats!
If you had one or more no, it might be time to challenge your current understanding of missions and seek to gain some insight into how to re-architect your church’s missions programs. We would love to help you renew your passion for the unique and critical role that the Lord has called your church to play in the fulfillment of the Great Commission, both locally and globally.