I’ll never forget Missions Conference my freshman year of college. Several hundred college students gathered in a church as the speaker exposed us to the millions of people around the world without access to the gospel and the Biblical command to do something about it. That weekend totally rocked my world, and I rushed home in disbelief to look up the verses shared just to make sure he wasn’t making it all up. When everything was verified, I knew that I had to share what I had learned with those around me.
When our whole perspective changes and we start living missionally, it’s natural to want to bring others along with us in making a difference in the world. Our home churches are a great community to begin mobilizing others. In fact, one of the church's main functions is to multiply among all nations. However, some of our efforts to mobilize our churches can actually have the opposite effect: we end up turning people away from missions instead of towards involvement. So how can we mobilize our churches well?
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
After learning about God’s heart for the nations, it can be easy to want to dump every single point or idea that you have learned all at once on your church family. Remember that you were once in the shoes of others in your community, and mobilization is normally a process. Take it one big idea at a time, and simplify what you want to share. A practical way to make sure you’re not oversharing is to ask a family member or friend to go over your outline with you and be honest about the content you have planned. If you’re looking for some simple resources, check out this video of how to share the World Christian Illustration or this article containing the Biblical Basis of Missions.
2. DON’T CRITICIZE
A common knee-jerk reaction to realizing our responsibility in missions is to ask questions like “Why isn’t my church intentional about this?” or, “Why didn’t they teach me these things growing up?” . Don’t forget that many of these people have helped raise you and held you in the nursery from a very early age, and they deserve respect no matter where they are in their World Christian perspective. Instead of criticizing your church, find the positive things that they are already doing. Look for missionaries that they already support, outreach programs in the community, or Biblical truths that they teach, and begin from there. Encourage the progress that is already happening, and ask and trust the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts of the leaders and members of the congregation in specific ways as you share the new things you are learning.
3. FIND AN INFLUENTIAL ALLY
This is an important action step for integrating change into any community. Look for individuals in your church who already share a similar vision or passion for missions and team up with them. Pay close attention to the leaders of your church—your pastor, missions committee, elders board, or influential members in the congregation—and look for people living missionally. When you find them, be intentional about making time with them to share your heart for the unreached. Ask for their advice about mobilizing your church, and brainstorm together how you can make change happen over time. This will be super encouraging! Once again, be careful that this does not turn into a complaining session about your church’s weaknesses, but instead a time for dreaming about what could happen in the future.
4. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
This is the most exciting part of mobilizing your church! Before making lots of suggestions, ask questions to see what the needs of the church are. If given the chance to share, here are a few possibilities of opportunities to grow within the church:
- Organize a group of church members to enroll in a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class or go through a missions Bible study in small group studies.
- Schedule a missions conference: invite The Traveling Team to facilitate a Missions Revolution, or a church missionary to share about their work.
- Organize a World Prayer Group using some of these resources:
- Share a monthly “Missions Moment” in church announcements highlighting specific missionaries or organizations and their work around the world.
These are just a few of many ideas to get the ball rolling in your home church. The responsibility of mobilizing your church is now in your hands. How cool would it be to see your friends and family gain a heart for the unreached and the ripple effect they could have in eternity? Imagine the global impact your church could make as the congregation begins engaging with the unreached by going and sending!
By Sara Bauer