1. The world starts here
Regardless of where we live or what our occupation is, all Christians are full-time mission workers. So why not celebrate and emphasise this? Also avoid the common barrier of the secular/spiritual divide – what belongs to God and what is ours? The Great Divide, produced by the LICC, is an excellent booklet on this subject and includes study questions for home groups. It is available from licc.org.uk/the-great-divide.
Ensure that the world is central to church life and mission is not marginalised:
Involve the church leadership – the world needs to be part of the church’s vision.
Include world prayer in other prayer opportunities rather than just having separate mission prayer meetings.
Avoid a separate world mission budget that only enthusiasts give to.
Ensure that special mission events are not the only way mission is promoted as that can cause mission issues to be put off until the next mission event.
3. Affirm existing links
Find out more about places church members are going with their jobs, long-term mission, short-term mission trips or while studying. This could include interviewing members of the congregation with connection to the area. The Global Connectors World Prayer Map website worldprayermap.co.uk is regularly updated with prayer points for countries around the world and Operation World is an excellent prayer resource.
4. Invest in partnerships
Partnerships can often be developed naturally out of existing connections within the congregation. Alternatively, why not ‘twin’ your church with a congregation with a church in another part of the world? You could hold a twinning event to launch the partnership and pray for them regularly and encourage people in the congregation to write – especially if they know the language. Eventually this could lead to each church planning a team visit to the other.
5. Find out about local communities
What different communities are there in your area? What not find out more about these groups with a view to future outreach or at least informed prayer? Your research might include interviewing members of the congregation with links to particular communities, contacting other churches or mission agencies with experience of working with similar people groups, or simply encouraging the congregation to get to know their neighbours.
6. Equip the congregation
Teaching programmes need to include world and mission issues and celebrate what God is doing. More specifically, Kairos www.kairoscourse.org is a really helpful tool, both for broadening people’s view of mission and helping them discern their own place in the mission of God.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE DECEMBER 2011 ISSUE OF SPHERE, A PUBLICATION OF Global Connections
Global Connections are a UK based network who seek to serve, equip and develop churches in their mission in order to fulfil our shared vision of ‘Mission at the heart of the Church, the Church at the heart of mission’. www.globalconnections.co.uk
DNA Photo: SNRE