What’s the difference between “doing” and “mobilizing”?

A lot of missions teams fall into the trap of doing missions on behalf of the congregation instead of mobilizing their congregation in missions. Here’s how the two sides appear:

Doing missions–

  • relationships with the missionaries are primarily in the realm of the missions team
  • communication with the missionaries is primarily in the realm of the missions team
  • all decisions, in any area of missions, are held onto tightly by the missions team
  • the annual missions emphasis event is basically an extended pep rally to get the congregation to pray for and financially support the work that the missions team does representing the church
  • almost all management of outreach and field visits are done by missions team members
  • no person or ministry of the church is allowed to do missions stuff without the approval and oversight of the missions team
  • everything about missions is perceived as being under the control of the missions team and the individuals on that team

Mobilizing in missions–

  • relationships with the missionaries are primarily in the realm of church ministries and small groups outside of the missions team
  • communication with the missionaries is primarily in the realm of church members and small groups outside of the missions team
  • many decisions about outreach and supporting services to missions or ministries, though guided by overall church missions guidelines, are made by individuals and groups outside the missions team
  • the annual missions emphasis event is a celebration of the whole congregation in which everyone feels that they have a part and something to gain by sharing in it
  • much management of specific outreach projects, short term ministries, and field visits are done by people outside the missions team
  • everyone feels that they have a part in their churches great commission outreach and that they have great liberty to pursue connections with supported missionaries and ministries
  • missions is perceived as being dynamic and maybe just a little bit out of control because everyone wants to get involved and it is more than the missions team can manage on their own

There is obviously some overlap in this exaggerated picture of differentiation between “doing” and “mobilizing”. For example even the controlling doing missions team wants everyone in the congregation to pray and to give in order to enable their missions goals. Likewise, even the facilitative mobilizing missions team needs to establish reasonable boundaries and administration so that people are not doing wild and crazy things that might be totally contrary to the church’s ethos, character, or doctrinal integrity.

 

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