Phase 3: Planning and Doing God’s Mission

God’s mission is worth doing right and doing now.

No one takes a vacation trip without some planning. At very least you need to know what roads will get you where you want to go. To be really secure you will want to reserve your hotels, get tickets to events in advance and call friends and family you want to visit to make sure they will be around.

On the other hand, churches often think that they can achieve God’s mission if they just catch a vision, and pray and work hard. Why do we give more care to vacations than to God’s mission to rescue the world?

In order to truly honor God with our churches we will need to create and carry out an effective mission plan. This will mean living out plans that are goal’oriented, effective, and owned by the membership of the church.

  • Goal’Oriented Plans. Do your present and proposed ministries actually help you reach the people God has designed you to reach? This can be a painful question. Most churches have “legacy” ministries which, at some time in the past, were very, very effective in reaching those outside the church. Now, however, those same ministries simply serve us. They may be able to be redesigned to once again serve God’s purposes. If not, we need to evaluate how much of God’s resources found in our “time, talent and treasure” we can afford to allocate to them and still remain faithful to God’s design and mission for us.

    In addition, many programs are available that seem well designed. And many people have ideas for new ministries. We need to always ask, “Does this program actually fit the needs of those we are seeking to bring to Jesus?”

  • Effective Plans. Simply stating, “We will begin a children“s choir will not help you make it happen. That is a goal, not a plan. Each step of the way will need to be mapped out. “Who will lead it? How will we fund it? How will we draw children from the community? How will this draw them and their parents closer to Jesus?”

    Many of our congregation members in business know about SMART goals. This simple criteria allows us to make sure that the goals will be effective

  • Congregationally Owned Plans. In order for your church to effectively carry out this plan, the member of your congregation need to own it as “Their” plan, and not just the plan of their leaders. People will walk through the motions of carrying out a plan handed to them from on high. Very few will become enthusiastic about such a plan. Therefore, wise leaders gain ownership for the plan. This, of course, starts with discerning God’s Design and God’s Mission for your church. If you have not involved the church members in significant ways all along this path you are unlikely to find them owning the plan. Once you write the plan I would suggest input and a vote on it at many levels

    • Church Staff
    • Lay Leadership
    • Congregation Members
  • Finally, start implementing the plan. If you really believe that this plan embodies the best understanding of God’s will for your church, why would you wait. God is calling.

    “But, shouldn’t we wait until we get a pastor?”

    No! There are two good reasons not to wait:

    1. God wants you to serve him even when you don’ have a pastor.
    2. Churches, espeically those in decline, more easily attract a good, effective pastor when the pastor sees that this church has already begun doing what is needed. No one likes pushing a stalled car out of the ditch. But everyone wants to climb in to a car headed out on an adventure.

Ok, you have your plan and are starting to follow it. What now? Phase 4: Describing and Seeking a Mission–Shaped Pastor