Thursday, April 30, 2009

The role of the Church in Missions

I am still thinking of some questions regarding Acts 13 and being “sent”. So this is a question blog. I am fortunate and grateful in that I come from a strong mission sending church.

When I think about my own “sent ness” I sometimes wonder what role the church played in it?
It seems the Church and the Holy Spirit both played vital roles in the "sending".

Before I was SENT

Did they confirm my calling or did an organization? or both?

How did this confirmation take place?

Was it filling out forms, references, affirming my calling through my actions in the context of the local church?

Did they confirm my giftedness? If so, how?

Did they lay hands on me, pray for me and send me out as their missionaries?

Once on the FIELD

How do we continue to communicate? Is it one way communication or do both the missionary and the sending church initiate conversation?

Do I send them regular prayer updates?

Am I able to speak into their mission efforts back “home”?

How can I serve my sending church?

Do they hold me and my family accountable spiritually?

Do they give us pastoral care even while on the field? If so what does this look like?

How do they relate to us strategically?

Who takes the lead in the mission strategy?

The church?
A mission organization?
A missionary team that is sent out?
All three?

What happens when the missionary’s calling and the church’s strategy no longer match? What gives?

Obviously I believe that the Great Commission belongs to the local church. I believe as Acts 13 speaks of that the local church is central to our missionary efforts. How can the local church fully participate overseas?

I would love to read your comments or perhaps you have even better questions.
As I put together my next series on "missional partnerships" I will attempt to answer some of these questions.


Grady Bauer said...

Good post. The sad thing is when you realize that your home (sending) church doesn't really care to do much beyond get an occassional email. How do you find a good church to be based out of when you have so little time to spend in the US? That's where we find ourselves right now.

Larry said...

I have been giving some thought to this. Unfortunately you are not the only ones. I know of several where their home church have went another direction strategically. I will sometimes hear where they do not think Europe is that strategic and they want to direct all of their efforts to the 10/40 window. What do you do?

I have thought about posting some "Wanted" ads to help people out. I see what you are asking being different then simply finding a new partnership church. I think it is important / vital to have your sending church really be behind us. The sending church has so much to offer: member care, accountability, strategy, etc... We need this from our home churches while we are on the field.

I think it is hard to find a "sending" church while you are on the field but perhaps a new partner church would develop into a "Sending" church as time allows you to connect with them stateside. I don't know that I have solved the problem or even have come close. Let's keep talking.