Hey all, I am starting a series called “Local Church – Global Impact,” in which I’ll tackle the issue of how a church can move from unengaged and on the sidelines to strategically and energetically on mission. I’m in North America, so some of what I write will be most helpful in the Western context; however, I’ve seen these same principles play out around the world with wonderful fruit.
So, let me start with sharing something that I’ll reiterate again and again. Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” That means that no matter how good your church’s mission plan may be, it will never be accomplished without your church embracing a missional culture. We can plan to reach 5 Unreached People groups, but if we don’t delight in the sending God or care about the lost, then we will accomplish nothing. Richard Sibbes, English Puritan pastor put it this way:
Does Christ come to us empty? Our duty is to accept of Christ’s inviting of us. What will we do for him, if we will not feast with him? We will not suffer with him, if we will not feast with him; if we will not joy with him, and in him…That which we should labour to bring with us is a taste of these dainties, and an appetite to them…The chief thing that Christ requires is a good stomach to these dainties…Let us open our mouth wide, since Christ is so ready to fill it.
Yes! We will talk more about motivations for mission, but this is the fountainhead; namely, delighting in the overflowing love of the Triune God! Without that, we would be bad missionaries. Without that, the church turns in on herself and atrophies.
Our hearts have to change before we can do anything. We, also, have to be willing to let go of distractions and other pet projects if we want to move in new directions. It’s hard for a ship to go anywhere when some of the rowers are rowing in the wrong direction. We’ll find out that articulating a strategic mission focus is fairly simple. But to see a church go from disinterested to passionate and engaged is a MIRACLE of God. So, we start with prayer. Who do you need to pray for daily in your church if you’re going to see mission gain traction there?
UP NEXT: Culture-Shapers at the Table