Church ministry is challenging, especially in the midst of a global event like an ongoing pandemic. A special challenge for missions leaders, missions committees, and missions teams is how to actively involve their church members in missions. How do we mobilize the church to “do missions?”

I think to answer this question, we must talk about four key elements:

  • Awareness

  • Engagement

  • Deployment

  • Shepherding

Awareness includes recognizing our global responsibility and figuring out how to ingrain this awareness in our members. We also need to understand our church culture. Many churches conduct their ministry as though it is something different from everything else they do. It should not be. It also means understanding that size and budget have nothing to do with awareness.

When we consider engagement, we must discover who our church is and determine the DNA of our church’s. It is also very helpful to have a sound theology and philosophy of missions. These grow out of our general theology and ministry philosophy. If we want to engage our congregations, we should define candidate qualifications, develop a candidate process, and have clear plans for preparing candidates.

We often ignore deployment. We treat it as something serendipitous, something that just happens without any real planning … an accident, really. This involves selecting, training and sending folks to the mission field. A lot of this should be done in the church, and I believe every church can learn how to do the selecting and a lot of the training through their normal church life and ministry. And, they will do it much better than any mission agency can.

If we are doing the first three, we much actively shepherd those we send. Many missionaries are sent only to be left out in the cold from a shepherding perspective. As a church who deploys missionaries, we all know we should provide financial support. That is the easy part. However, we also ought to provide soul-care and accountability. We should also have a plan for re-entry that strengthens our missionaries and compels them to continue in a way that pleases God.

I am hosting a 30-minute Zoom each Thursday in January 2021 at 6PM EST to talk about Mobilizing the church. Participation is free. Everyone involved in missions – pastors, missionaries, missions committees – is invited, but you must register to receive the link to join the meeting. You may email me if you would like additional help in any of these areas.

David Selvey

Dr. Selvey is a global missions coach with Missioserve Alliance. He offers workshops and coaching opportunities to help churches be better missionary senders. He helps pastors and missions leadership develop and articulate their theology, philosophy, and strategy for global missions.

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