1. Educate Your Church for the Mission –
Develop an overall mission education process that crosses all age and/or affinity groups in your church.
Include the whole church. Look for ways to educate the entire body, including those who do not attend small groups.
Penetrate all ministry areas of the church. Since missions is the mission of the church, all departments/areas of ministry must be included: students, men, women, worship, children, education, etc. Develop creative ways for every segment of the church to be involved at some level.
2. Educate Your Church With The Vision –
What is the end vision? What is your church striving to accomplish in penetrating lostness and your unreached people groups?
Communicate a clear definition of the mission. Communicate the scope and length of commitments.
• Will you adopt missionaries or unreached peoples for a specific time period?
• Will you adopt missionaries or unreached peoples until specific goals are accomplished?
Develop an ongoing communication process to inspire the church body to understand the vision and grow in love of identified unreached peoples.
Clearly communicate what you want church members to do. What are your church’s members expected to do as it relates to the mission strategy and reaching the unreached?
Adoption principle: for long-term impact and missional effectiveness, identify and adopt unreached people groups until they are able to reach and disciple their own people and begin to move toward cross-cultural missions themselves.
3. Equip Your Church for the Mission –
Increase Cultural Understanding. Equip your church to understand their personal worldview and how it compares to the worldview of the identified unreached peoples. Remember that the Gospel flows within the medium of culture. (Your Alabama IMB and NAMB missionaries can guide you to connect with their people groups they seek to reach)
• What are the distinguishing characteristics of the identified peoples?
• What is their primary language?
• What are some cultural landmines that could prevent long-term effectiveness?
• What are the barriers that may keep your adopted people group from hearing and receiving the Gospel?
Teach and embrace biblical, practical, and reproducible missiology. Use discernment as you work to understand possible cultural implications of your actions.
• Beware of dependency. While striving to make disciples, be careful to use resources and methods that your unreached peoples can ultimately model and reproduce themselves. Do not create an environment where outside resources are necessary to perpetuate the disciple-making process.
• Guard against syncretism. In many cultures, it is easy for the unreached peoples to simply “add” Jesus to the existing primary religion to which they already adhere. In the Hindu religion, there are more than 300 million gods, it would be very natural for them to add Jesus as “one” of their gods. Be committed to stress and preach the message that faith in Jesus Christ ALONE is the ONLY way to salvation and right relationship with the Father. Be sure to emphasize repentance from sin and false religion. (John 14:6)
• Learn to contextualize the Gospel. The message of the Gospel NEVER changes, but the methods used to communicate the Gospel must adjust so the people can understand it within their own culture (heart language). The goal of a mission strategy is not to work against existing culture in order to implant new culture. The goal is to understand and work within existing culture to share the Gospel in a way it can be understood and then disseminated to others within that culture. Allow the adopted peoples to worship in their context while at the same time adhering to biblical doctrine. (example: Mars Hill, Acts 17:16-34)
Uphold the basic unchanging principle of missions
• The ONLY hope for mankind is Jesus Christ! He is the only way of salvation. Truly, all the church has to offer the lost of the world is the message of hope in Jesus Christ.
• God wants to be known among ALL people. Realizing and embracing this concept leads His followers out of their comfort zones to reach those who are different from them.
• God desires and commands all of His children, Christians, to partner with Him in His mission. As part of the body of Christ, every authentic Christian must play his or her part in His plan. The overall goal of a church is to mobilize every part of the body of Christ to play its part in discipling the unreached peoples—whether it be through fervent prayer, sacrificial giving, going to proclaim, or sending others.
Embrace flexibility for the sake of communicating the Gospel through the medium of your adopted unreached people’s culture. On the mission field, there are times when long-range planning has to change—sometimes daily!
• Be committed to the end vision but stay flexible in method- ology.
• Be willing to die to personal culture so that disciples can be made.
• Learn to love the adopted peoples unconditionally.
Develop an ongoing training process for team leaders and team members.
• Team member training, team leader training, and more are tools that are available through IMB resources (imbresources.org). IMB believes it is essential for you to include Safe Travel Solutions in your equipping process. (safetravelsolutions.org).
• Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions through the Office of Global Missions offers Faith Focused Security Training through Fort Sherman Academy, of Pinehurst, ID. You can check current opportunities for Security training at www.alsbom.org/ffst
• Alabama Baptist State Board of Mission also provides every Alabama Baptist Church mission teams coverage under the Travelers’ Shield Program, an emergency intervention assistances if mission teams meet with circumstances they cannot handle themselves. More information about the Travelers’ Shield Program can be found at www.alsbom.org/cshield ; call 800-264-1225, extension 291.
Organize for effectiveness.
IMB highly recommends that your pastor/mission leader register your church to utilize the Web- based mission tool called imbCONNECT.net. The leader signs up to obtain the credentials and password necessary to use the tool. Then the pastor/mission leader will invite all other team members into your church’s private mission site. To obtain your credentials and password, go to imbCONNECT.net. Coaching to use this tool is available from your missional church strategist at IMB or call the church mobilization specialist assigned to your state at (800) 999-3113. This tool is useful for all local and global mission planning.
4. Organize Your Churh to Fulfill the Mission –
Develop teams that will move your church to be more effective in the mission strategy. Possible teams could include:
➢ Acts 1:8 team. Oversee and develop ongoing strategy, create necessary policies and procedures, and seek ongoing partnership opportunities. Possible team goals:
• Define partnership levels
• Define your missions policies
• Set parameters for new partnerships
• Create budgeting and funding processes
• Set policies for short-term trips, fund raising, new ideas, team leading, etc.
• Create a sending process—be prepared for those God calls out for lifetime, cross-cultural work.
• Develop and evaluate engagement strategies
• Oversee ongoing church-wide mobilization process
➢ Communication team. Develop ongoing processes for utilizing available media or creating new media to continually update the church about your partnerships. This would include stories and/or needs from the field, service opportunities, missions understanding, etc.
➢ Prayer team. Develop ongoing proceses to help mobilize your church to pray consistently, specifically, and fervently.
• Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions under the direction of the Global Missions Office and in partnership with Alabama WMU has a ministry called Beautiful Feet Connections where Alabama Baptist Churches can adopt missionaries to pray for in their behalf.
• The SBOM also can assist a church in developing a prayer ministry for their congregation.
➢ Identify and train leaders.
➢ Identify individuals with specific skills the people of your church possess.
➢ Remember, involvement leads to ownership. As more and more people are invited to be a part of the mission strategy, ownership, in most cases, will increase exponentially. As needs arise, allow for more opportunities for more people to be involved at many different levels.