How a Second LCMS District Engages in Mission Partnership
By Mike Ruhl | August 1, 2016
Reflect with me for a moment on the dynamic word collaborate. Traceable back to the late (1870-1875) Latin collaboratus, this spine-tingling word means to work – one with another; to cooperate willingly in work. We can easily spot the connection of co (with) and labor (work) in that word … willingly working together toward a common purpose.
In the year 2000, LCMS National Missions (Synod) created the Center for United States Missions as a collaborating resource for the LCMS Districts in the creation of synergy for new church reproduction. As the Holy Spirit empowers and guides each LCMS District in the discerning of its own unique and indigenous vision for church planting, the Center for United States Mission was / is poised to collaborate (work together in partnership) with districts in the partial fulfillment of the Great Commission through the multiplication of new churches in that district. Therefore each collaborative relationship will be different and unique, based on the context of the district mission field.
In the July 1 issue of Mission Moments, you had the opportunity to learn how one LCMS District receives collaborative support in their unique vision of mission. You may read it by clicking here. That district chose to recruit 35 church planters, provide them with Church Planting Essentials training, and then to gather the church planters into a district network that meets 3-4 times per year in a central location for cutting edge church planting in-service training. The district recruited the 35 church planters – and the Center for US Missions collaborates by providing essential church planting training and by organizing the 3-4 annual church planting in-service trainings.
Take a look at another collaborating LCMS District:
You will be interested to take a quick look at how a second LCMS District is collaborating with the Center for US Missions in ‘living out’ their unique vision for new church reproduction. This district chose to organize a Church Planting Task Force with a laser-focus on new church reproduction. All members of the team have incredible passion for and direct or indirect experience with church planting and together the team set a goal for seeing at least 5 new missions opened per year.
This LCMS District then planned Regional Congregation Mission Convocations in each of the four regions in the district. Pastors and congregation leaders gathered to receive encouragement and resourcing in mission work, exposure to 25+ models for church planting and mission principles which guide and empower the planting of a new mission. These regional convocations helped to create a ‘church planting buzz’ in the district.
After identifying overtly missional congregations in that district, the Church Planting Team has developed a creative and motivational Every Circuit Visitation Process – validated by the District President and District Mission Executive and presented to each circuit by members of the Church Planting Task Force. The Every Circuit Visitations are relational and interactive, designed to listen to the hopes and dreams of the circuit churches, share a brief church planting Bible Study, and feature brief videos from district and synodical leaders – all in support of new mission reproduction.
At the present time, this LCMS District is also sponsoring Church Planting Learning Communities, comprised of pastors and congregation leaders who are interested in pursuing a particular church planting model. These learning communities are led by LCMS Pastor-Church Planters from around the country whom the Lord has blessed with exceptional spiritual and numerical growth in their new church plants. These ‘field missionaries’ share biblical and practical insights in how to plant a new mission according to a particular church planting model (such as Missional Community, Multi-Site, Mosaic (multi-ethnic) or Daughter Church Planting).
In his leadership classic work, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, author Stephen Covey uses the word synergize to summarize the Sixth Effectiveness Habit in the Interdependence Level of Effectiveness. This word also means ‘to willingly work with another’ toward a shared goal or purpose. Covey reminds us (paraphrased) us that you can do something by yourself – and I can also do something by myself. Obviously one plus one equals two. But all of you – plus all of me – working collaboratively – can equal more than two … it can equal twelve, twenty-two, two hundred or two thousand. And numbers like that become energizing and exciting when ‘counted’ in terms of Kingdom Impact and the ultimate salvation of human souls.
May Almighty God bless your collaborating – working together with others – for the sake of making new disciples and new church reproduction.
It was Jesus Himself who declared: I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work (John 9:4, KJV).
Questions for Discussion
1. With whom (individual, agency, ministry) are you collaborating in order to maximize Kingdom Impact in your ministry?
2. What are 3 – 5 ‘essential attributes’ you look for in a candidate for collaboration?
3. How has your ministry been blessed and amplified through high integrity collaboration?
4. What specific ministry needs do you have which could be met through a collaborative mission partnership?
5. What specific ministry resources can you bring to others in a collaborative relationship?
6. How can the Center for U.S. Missions collaborate with you to reach your church planting goals?
Resources You Can Use
An organization often contains many cultures. This is true even if your organization is located entirely in one country, or even at one site. Read the article by Roger Schwarz in Harvard Business Review: Getting Teams with Different Subcultures to Collaborate.
Read this article by Carol Kinsey Goman in Forbes Magazine, 8 Tips for Collaborative Leadership. Go to Forbes.com and enter the above article title in the search bar.
Explore the services and resources available at the Center for United States Missions.
Mission Moments is the e-newsletter sent by the Center for U.S. Missions to bring information and encouragement to all who desire to share God's great love in Jesus Christ with others. Permission is given to copy this article for distribution within your congregation or organization. Please credit the author and the Center for United States Missions. For more information contact the Center at (952)-221-0362, or visit our website: www.c4usm.org
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