Involvement and participation in the process builds acceptance and ownership. This is the case with development of any vision. Remember a primary purpose of the Missions Team is to mobilize the congregation for and in missions. Therefore, it is very important to include your congregation in the process of selecting and committing to a strategic missions focus.
First, get your congregation to pray for the process. It’s a big deal to commit as a Body to a strategic focus. Plenty of time, talent, and treasure will eventually be invested in that focus to achieve your goals. Take time and priority to pray as a congregation:
- that God would lead,
- that those researching and gathering information would be diligent and receive the best information in depth and scope available,
- that the relationships and timing would come together in an overwhelmingly affirming way
- that everyone would see understand and embrace the rationale and direction of the final decision as fitting and glorifying to God
You can muster prayer for this process in public pastoral prayer, in small groups, in Sunday School classes, in discipleship groups, in kids’ clubs, in mens and ladies Bible studies — basically permeating your church body life and meeting schedule.
Survey your congregation to discover possible connections and relationships to potential strategic focus targets, people groups, or goals.
Select one or more persons with specific skills to assist, participate in, or lead the strategic focus research or task force team. Ideally you want a good mix of missions minded or cross-cultural experienced people with skills representing:
- good research and recording/reporting skills
- good cross-cultural understanding
- availability to meet with some frequency
- possible availability to travel on a survey trip
- skills, ability, and/or position from which to communicate to the congregation and its constituent ministries
- a passion for the Great Commission
- a team player
Find out who might be able to help the research process with excellent connections or research skills for community and metro area demographics. This person/s would be helped by ability to summarize and interpret that data for the team.
Recruit additional help for the congregation to help with the promotion of the process and the final selection. You’ll probably want to have high quality print and media presentations.
Definitely make it a priority to have a significant launching event that includes the whole congregation. The announcement of your strategic focus should not be quiet, even if specific might be “high security”. Lead the congregation in praising God and encouraging them to continue to be involved through prayer and giving and relationships.