Missions belongs on the priority list of every pastor, church, and Christian. But as any missionary will tell you, you cannot take a random approach to missions and hope to be successful. Everything worth doing is worth doing well, and this requires a strategic approach.
So how do you develop a missions strategy for your church?
- Pray for guidance and pray for a burden. Pray that your team will have a united compassion for a particular cause, region, or people group. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever pray for or give toward another area. Just like your area of ministry is for a particular city, your strategy for missions will impact a particular area. Pray that God will make it clear to you how your church’s puzzle piece fits into the complete picture.
- Educate yourself! Once the Lord has emphasized a burden in your heart, learn everything you can about it. Research the country’s religions and politics, investigate the underlying reasons for the injustice, and learn the history, culture, and specific needs of the people group. Taking the humble posture of a student will open the door for you and your church to build relationships much deeper and longer lasting than assumptive knowledge will.
- Seek out partnership opportunities with missionaries called to the same cause, region or people group. Ask the Lord to open the door for not only financial partnership, but ongoing relationships with these missionaries. Also, ask the Lord to open the door for relationships with local believers who are called to minister to their own people.
- Keep this area regularly before your church body. If you desire missions to be a church-wide effort, find ways to keep your church aware and involved. How can your church members pray? How can they give? What can they learn? How can they apply it? When and how can they go? What will they do with what they’ve seen when they return?
- Finally, adopt the region for the long haul. Show your commitment to your missionary partners and the areas you’ve adopted by showing up (more figuratively than literally) when the earthquake hits, advocating when the famine strikes, being a blessing when the missionary faces personal tragedy, and being consistent throughout the highs and lows of day-to-day ministry.
Writing a strategy will determine the guidelines for your entire missions effort. The missionaries you support, the trips you lead, the causes you champion- all will be a reflection of the missions strategy you have created.
What does your missions strategy look like? Tell us in the comments below, or write to us with any questions you have!