Well, in part 1, we saw that your church’s culture will determine whether your church’s mission strategy will be accomplished. We’ll talk more about shaping culture along the way. We also have seen (part 2) that the key culture-shapers, those who get pulpit time essentially, are indispensable to seeing any church catch God’s heart for the nations and to engage it strategically in a sustained way. That brings us to the question of Strategy. Let’s pretend for a minute that our church is already passionate about seeing Jesus made know and cherished among every people group on the planet. Let’s pretend that we have not only a missional culture, but missional behavior that is just waiting to be pointed in the best direction. What then?
The process is quite simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, just that it’s simple. It looks like this: Biblical Convictions shape Biblical Priorities which dictate Biblically informed Policies. I’ll unpack these in greater detail anon, but for now, let be gift a brief introduction.
BIBLICAL CONVICTIONS – Mission is God’s. It belongs to the Father, Son, and Spirit. It’s the Lord’s idea. He is the only one with the right to define it and to dictate it’s practices and aims. So, if we miss that, everything else we do is failure. I don’t remember who said it (maybe Covey), but if you lean your ladder against the wrong building, every step you climb leads you further from your goal. When’s the last time you wrestled over what a Biblical Missiology looks like? There is a lot of confusion among Christians about what Mission actually is. You need clarity, because this must shape all that you do.
BIBLICAL PRIORITIES – Once you understand God’s plan for the world, that is, His Mission, then you’ll be able to have Biblical Priorities as you start to plan for engaging strategically in global mission. We don’t form priorities by asking what other churches are doing, or what sounds fun or interesting, or even what a missionary we currently support is already doing. NO! Our priorities must flow out of our Biblical Convictions.
BIBLICALLY INFORMED POLICIES – most churches start here with their mission program. They ask “who will we support,” “how much will we give,” “what short-term mission trip will we take,” all before actually understanding God’s Word on Mission. And of course this leads to catastrophe. That’s not an overstatement. It leads to millions of kingdom dollars, hours, and prayers spent on things that are not what God is asking of His Church. It means the Gospel isn’t getting to the people who most need it. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity has shown that “Current strategy makes Christians 100 times more effective in splitting existing denominations where Christians already exist than in planting new churches where there are no Christians.” That’s a catastrophe!
These must all happen. And they must happen in this order. Good news: It can be done. We’ll see how in upcoming posts!