I recently blogged about the baggage we can carry into missions planning and execution that becomes an impediment to carrying out effective missions work.
Agility is the key, and I listed some mindsets, or baggage, I believe are counterproductive to that agility, which can result in movement-paralyzing institutionalization, not mobilization. So I offer a few helps to doing missions as a movement:
–Engage now. Many Christian organizations have allowed the idea of mission boards and mission-sending agencies to overshadow the simple role of going into the world and serving others in Jesus’ name. My fear is that what we’ve communicated to churches when we talk about missions is that we want you to help us fund support for missionaries, or we want you to help fund the support of our denomination as it does missions. We should be talking to people about how they can be personally invested in the mission enterprise. Rather than promoting systems, strategies and plans, we need to actually be doing the work of the Lord.
–Fund ministries that extend the Kingdom. We cannot find ourselves funding programs or ministries that are mediocre at best. We must decide, as we look at budgets, as we look at our allocations within those budgets, what are we doing to make sure God’s work is marching forward at a rapid pace. We should prioritize expenditures so that everyone in need of the gospel today can hear the message of Christ and receive the touch that comes from the family of God. We have to ask the hard questions, in our churches, as denominations and each of us who individually sit in the pew. Are we actually giving our financial resources to things that matter?
–Associate with Christians driven by vision. If we want to encourage people to come alongside us in our enterprise, we must associate and participate with like-minded ministries and individuals who are driven by a vision of the grander work God expects for the family of God. We need to look for leaders, churches and ministry outlets that believe they have been placed on this earth because God has a role for them to play in the lives of people–everywhere. If we choose to associate with individuals or groups that are divisive, choose to be harmful or are basically mean-spirited people just so we can promote a sense of harmony, then we are doing the whole Kingdom enterprise a huge disservice. Appeasement is not a Christian practice. It simply justifies the mediocre. Cooperation is a mutual effort where all parties involved give their best and are willing to sacrifice for the good of everyone involved in the effort.
–Celebrate inclusion. If a missions movement is to grow, we must celebrate inclusion with intentional acts toward people who are not just like us. Not only a healthy thing, it is a God thing for a missions movement to be marked by inclusion of age, gender, ethnicity, perspective, resource and history–to reflect the world in which we live.
–Create sustainable systems. Finally, to develop Kingdom momentum, we need to create systems that can adapt to an ever-changing world, not systems that require the world to adapt to it. God has already given us all the resources we need to do anything we can dream of in extending the Kingdom of God. Now we have to create systems that will let us react to that changing world.
My prayer and admonition to all of us is that we might determine the future is now. It’s not in a five-year plan or a 10-year vision. There are millions of people in need of what we have to offer today.