In the January 26th dispatch (Read HERE), we introduced plans to focus on Columbia Metro: Mission Local. We suggested the need to organize in every congregation for glocal (local and global) missional engagement – particularly if the traditional pathways are no longer working for you, you need a restart, or you want to dramatically increase your missional engagement. We ask you to consider a series of questions in your congregation.
In this dispatch we introduce terminology to measure if your congregation is passive or active in its missional engagement. The terminology does not replace the names of missions programs. It helps you act strategically to assess where you are and how to move toward at least minimal benchmarks.
To remind us, missional is about the mission of God and how we are acting in a glocal manner to fulfill the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment. We would suggest – beyond the traditional and innovative terminology of missions in congregation – you consider three categories of missional involvement.
- Missional Foundation: Congregations engage in learning about glocal missional engagement and pray for people groups, target areas, but especially for individual people by name who need spiritual transformation in their lives. Everyone can do this.
- Missional Resourcing: Congregations provide money, commodities, and time to resource glocal missional efforts focused on people groups, target areas, and individual people. Many people will do this.
- Missional Engagement: Congregations encounter people groups, target area, and individuals personally, serve people, and authentically disciple people toward of relationship with Jesus. Those who understand and accept their calling as a Christian disciple will do this.
The reality of missional life in congregations is that the largest number of people are involved in missional foundation efforts. A reasonable number of people may be involved in missional resourcing. People that may be known as the remnant actively give time and effort to in-depth mission engagement.
How do we get beyond tokenism in missional engagement?
The Challenge is Great
Unless a congregation is struck by God’s “Triple D” – the Direct, Dramatic, Divine intervention of God – which, in our tradition, is known as a revival breaking out or a spiritual awakening. It is demanding work to get an existing congregation deeply and broadly involved in missional engagement. Many are the pastors, staff persons, and spiritually passioned lay leaders who mourn the lack of excitement about ongoing missional engagement.
In the area of missional foundation, if people learn and pray it is too often in the most general of terms. They hear sound bites about people groups and target areas. They pray a general prayer of concern for people and those who work with them. Praying by name for people who need Jesus often is foreign to their prayer life.
Missional resourcing is often done with a distance approach. Food, clothing, prisoner packets, health kits, Christmas boxes are important commodities to support missional engagement. As are other efforts. At the same time people can feel satisfied they did something of compassion without ever doing anything personal and direct.
Missional engagement involves a personal vulnerability for Christians. People they meet may reject their loving actions, have a different lifestyle with which it is hard to connect, or by their resistance expose the cultural rather than spiritual nature of the witnesser’s lifestyle. The perceived threat is too great for many people. They do not remember that God’s Holy Spirit goes before them to prepare the people for their discipling encounter, service, and efforts.
Where to Start
One place to start is to change how the Sunday School classes, Life Groups, Deacons, missions organizations or teams, and other small groups pray for people who need spiritual transformation in their lives. A suggestion can be found in the Strategy section of this newsletter, and on our website at For Whom Are You Praying.