If you’re a regular reader of this space you know that missions are important to me. In fact, if I could only have the church do one thing, I would skip worship, Sunday School and (gasp!) even committee meetings and just do missions. But clearly missions would be more difficult without the other things.
How audacious is your mission vision? If the best you can do is hope to grow your missionary support from $100 to $105, I appreciate the effort but you may want to lift your eyes a bit.
Put another way, if your church closed, who other than your congregation would care? What is your signature mission project?
Many churches have a strong food program that brings folks from the community to the church for food, perhaps a hot meal, perhaps some groceries of eve both.
Some have audacious missions because of the duration. It may be a decades-old relationship with the Urban Mission in Steubenville or Appalachian Service Project or a local shelter for the homeless or battered women. The long-term relationship not only gives a chance to serve but a chance to connect, building relationships as well as advocacy and leadership.
Some projects are audacious because of the depth of commitment. Royal Family Kids Camp, for instance, has church volunteers serving as camp counselors, cooks, lifeguards, nature lodge interpreters for a camp full of children in the foster care program looking for a week of sunshine, fresh air and Christian experience.
The most audacious I’ve heard of is Ginghamsburg UMC near Dayton committing to developing an entire sustainable agriculture system in the Sudan to employ and feed 5,000 families. It was helped by a $300,000 Christmas Eve offering (tell me that isn’t audacious).
The advantage of audacity is it takes commitment. Carving out a few bucks from your budget to send to folks is need is good. But any of the projects above also require volunteers, planning, expertise, real commitment on the part of your church members. This commitment is good for the mission project, but it’s even better for the souls of those involved.
Back to my opening statement, mission is, I believe, more effective in moving your people along the trail of discipleship better than sitting in worship or even small groups.