We are easily lulled into doing ministry the way we always have, especially when what we have been doing has been producing at least modest fruit. More often than not, creative alternatives are possible. Here are two examples of how missionaries, teams and agencies began re-tooling for greater effectiveness.

[In 2011] Wycliffe Bible Translators realized that if it continued at the current rate that they were translating Scripture, it would take over 150 years for them to begin a translation project in all of the language groups that needed a translation. They decided that this was not acceptable. They went about the task of evaluating everything they did in order to see how they could get a translation project started within every people that needed one by 2025. They revolutionized their processes, procedures and relationships with other translation organizations all over the world. They are now on target to reach their goal by 2038, cutting 112 years off their timetable.[1]

Greater Europe Mission’s team in Cologne, Germany changed the type of churches it was planting to smaller, discipleship-oriented groups, for the sake of more efficient reproduction. The team also changed how it viewed networks of people, so as to plant churches along affinity groups.[2]

In neither case was speed the primary motivator, but effectiveness. The issue is continually observing the world around us and asking God to give us wisdom in light of a world that is changing quickly.

For more issues currently affecting missions, see Seipp, Derek, The Changing Environment of World Mission: Six Areas of Importance, an EMQ article.

[1] Wood, Rick, Rapidly Multiplying Churches: Are We Willing to Change to See them Happen? Mission Frontiers, March-April 2011, pp.4-5 http://www.missionfrontiers.org/pdfs/332.pdf
[2] http://gemission.org/stories/multiplying-disciples-cologn