A dear friend of mine, colleague and follow church missions mobilized, Mike Pollard, recently wrote this piece, below. Punchy evidence that churches that think they have it all together in missions may not have an accurate assessment. Some details have been changed to protect the innocent :-)

Is Your Church Missionary-Centered or Mission-Centered?

Joaquin pastors a contemporary, missional church in Atlanta. All of the church’s small groups pray for a specific, "adopted" missionary. In fact, their small groups are named after the part of the world they’re praying, cf. “Malaysia Group.” Whenever groups reach 10 people, they divide like cells into new groups. So Joaquin is ready for a new missionary to be assigned to a new group. That’s where we intersected.  In setting up a time to talk about the church’s interests, I asked him in an email, “supporting missionaries is so appreciated…but has your church ever thought about raising up a missionary from your own church to be the worker you support?” He wrote back and asked, “could we send a short term team to help on the field?” That’s what we planned to talk about on the phone. 
We talked about what parts of the world the church was interested in, and what kinds of skills people in his church could offer on a short term trip. I asked, “how have you decided in the past on what missionaries to connect with?” “It’s based on who needs money,” he said. I asked, “what if instead of focusing on money, you made a choice based on what God wants to do on the field through your church, based on your church’s passions and skills?’ There was a lightning bolt of new insight. A paradigm changed in an instant. He’d never thought about it that way and wanted time to think before we talk again. Today, if a church has an affinity for international missions at all, they tend to be either missionary-centered or mission-centered. The missionary-centered church points to a list of people with whom they're involved through prayer and finances…and that’s not bad. But it can lead people to think that if they give money, their missions job is done. A mission-centered church asks God what He wants a whole church to accomplish globally, given its limited resources and unique “thumbprint.” Joaquin later wrote back and said, “It was all my pleasure [to talk]. Can’t wait to talk to you again soon. I learned so much from you during our conversation.”

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David C. Meade

David C. Meade has been the founder, C-level officer, and consultant for a number of non-profit organizations. He has nearly fifty years of experience with church planting, pioneering field ministry among UPGs, and leadership in international and domestic NGOs. He has a strong biblical local-church-centric ministry philosophy and commitments, serving as an international outreach leader, pastor, and elder in local churches throughout his adult life. He loves teaching and mentoring church leaders and global workers preparing for service to meet the greatest need of the neediest places on earth.

David is an international business consultant, NGO executive, and international leadership trainer. He has a weekly podcast and has authored hundreds of insightful and practical blogs, articles, and several books. David is a well-received speaker and teacher. His experience in non-profit leadership and international NGOs informs his counsel for leaders and workers in challenging areas of service, analyzing corporate strategies, conflict resolution, crisis management, and event leadership. David is passionate about core values based on timeless principles, valuing people, and leadership training. He is an avid family man, reader, fisherman, and world traveler.

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