Local Church Ministry

Does Your Church Pay, Pray, and Stay Out of the Way?

Is your church missions-minded?  If you are part of a typical church, the answer may very well be that your church is more missions-minded than you think, but not in the way that you think.

In his book The Sending Church, Pastor Pat Hood said this about his church:

We were missions-minded because missions was on our mind, but that was about it. We thought about missions, but we didn’t do missions. We became painfully aware of the fact that giving money so others can do missions is a good thing, but it’s a bad thing if it becomes the only thing…somewhere along the line, many churches basically abdicated their responsibility to do missions to a mission sending agency. The churches responsibility was reduced to “pay, pray, and stay out of the way.”  (108-109)

Does this sound like your church?  If so, you’re not alone.  Most of the churches that I have worked with find it much easier to pay, pray, and stay out of the way rather than personally getting involved in the mission.  The church that is actively engaged in praying, giving, and going is certainly the exception, not the rule.  But my prayer is for a few more exceptions, and I hope that is your prayer as well.

So, how can you lead your church to pray, give, and go?  Well, that’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?  (Some of you may get the reference; I had to look it up!)  The fact is there is no easy answer to this question.  But, one of the goals of this blog will be to revisit this issue again and again in order to start a dialogue among pastors and church leaders.  My hope is that as others share, you may learn something that may help you in your particular ministry situation.

This is certainly not the silver bullet, but here are some quick recommendations.  (After #1, the rest are in no particular order.)

  1. Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers from your church into His harvest (Luke 10:2). Start here, but don’t stop here.  Keep praying!
  2. Begin to cast a vision in your church for the lostness in your community, town, city, or state as well as North America and the world. Utilize any available denominational resources as well as Census Bureau data to help discover these numbers.
  3. Identify church members who are passionate about doing missions. Find these people and get them in a room together.  Amazing things just might happen!
  4. Start small. Consider involving your church in a local ministry such as a homeless shelter, pregnancy care center, or food pantry.  Just give your members the opportunity to go outside the four walls of your church building, and see how God stirs their hearts for something greater!
  5. Be patient. The culture of your church won’t change overnight. Be patient and celebrate the small victories!

What would you add to this list?  How have you led your church to pray, give, and go?

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