By Peter Meier | September 15, 2018
Today’s blog is an edited version of an earlier Mission Moments written by Rev. Mike Ruhl, former Executive Director and Director of Mission Training for the Center for U.S. Missions. Mike submitted this final article prior to his retirement from the Center in December of 2016. The counsel he gives is well worth sharing again today!
There are many LCMS congregations, mission leaders, and pastors, who have taken the first step of receiving formal training in the best practices of starting a new church or ministry. Those churches have prayed about new church reproduction, gathered knowledge and insights into the why and the how of starting new, and even discerned a specific community and cultural group to reach. They’ve done this at one of the Center’s Churches Planting Churches trainings, or perhaps they’ve begun to explore multiplication at a Mobilizing for Mission seminar.
Those things in themselves are the marks of a courageous congregation which has grasped Jesus’ mission vision, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Those congregations are encouraged to go ahead and take the next steps in realizing the dream of starting a new faith community.
Here are seven “next steps” which already-trained congregations can take toward multiplication:
1. Intentional Listening Prayer. Engage church staff and other ministry leaders in intentional prayer to affirm and confirm the call of God to “start new to reach new.” Pray specifically for your target community (people and place), for the mission leader or planter whom God will raise up, for God to provide the needed resources, for His Kingdom to come and His will be done in your area.
2. Develop and Detail your Strategic Involvement Plan. Build on the preliminary training you have received by contextualizing the principles and best practices you’ve learned into your unique congregation culture and the unique culture of the mission field you’ve identified.
3. Make Appointments. Spend quality time with key leaders and influencers in your church to share the dream of starting new. Enlist them as champions of this mission vision and action!
4. Mission Leader Growth. Identify quality church multiplication literature and get it into the hands of key leaders. Study these together and make application to your context. You might use books like Todd Wilson’s Multipliers, Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im’s Planting Missional Churches, David Jackson’s Planted, Tim Keller’s Center Church, or ask us for a reading list!
5. Decision. Make the confident, courageous decision to move forward to start a new faith community – a new ministry, a micro-church, a multi-site, a new church plant. Formalize your corporate commitment to follow through and realize the “burden” or the “dream” God has given.
6. Coaching. Contact the Center for U.S. Missions to provide you with a certified coach to guide you and your congregation in taking strategic steps forward.
7. Celebrate. Make sure your congregation sees forward momentum! Communicate wins, celebrate, and give thanks to God for each step forward in multiplication!
We delight in giving thanks to the Lord for the hundreds of congregations which have taken the first step toward multiplication by sending a group to one of our Mobilizing for Mission or Churches Planting Churches trainings! These churches have invested in training and developing initial plans for starting new faith communities to reach new people in new places. And we continue to pray and praise God for the courage of these congregations to take next steps toward multiplying the church – making disciples who make more disciples who gather in groups of disciples!
If your congregation hasn’t taken advantage of the Churches Planting Church or Mobilizing for Mission trainings, give us a call, and let’s schedule an opportunity to take the first step!
God’s Kingdom is on the advance! What is your next step?
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