The “Reimagine” project seeks to apply New Testament principles to present-day modes of church practice.
How will you reimagine missions to meet the realities of our current situation? What innovative practices can you utilize while still upholding the core teachings found in Scripture? Below you will find some information, tools and resources to help you begin to reimagine.
At the outset of 2020, churches were preparing for different types of missions activities. Summer mission trips. “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiatives. Students were fundraising to serve through GenSend or IMB Students. Missions committees were planning for communitywide Vacation Bible Schools, block parties and other missional events in underserved neighborhoods. Missionaries were preparing to deploy overseas. Church planters were launching their first public gatherings.
As COVID-19 began to spread to our part of the world, all these missional activities came to a screeching halt as travel bans, regulations on gatherings, and stay-at-home orders were established throughout the world. What do we do now? The mission has not changed, though our circumstances have. How are we to go and make disciples of all nations in this environment? How do we lead decentralized churches to minister the gospel to their neighbors and the nations?
We will face a number of challenges in missions in the days ahead. We may have a proclivity toward self-preservation rather than selfless sacrifice for the sake of the nations, posturing to shore up the home front rather than spending our time, talent and treasure for those who have not yet had an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. We may also be inclined to return to overly programmatic and pragmatic approaches to missions in a post-pandemic environment, seeking to make up for ground we perceive to have lost in the down time.
Tips & Tools
Whether we succumb to fear and focus inward or seek to overcompensate in our own strength for the perceived slowing of missionary advance, we must return and trust our sovereign Lord who has promised a “people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” around the throne of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9). During this season, we need a mindshift when it comes to missions. We need to pivot away from overly programmatic and pragmatic approaches to missions and begin to see the people of God as the primary means through which God has determined to see His glory spread throughout the whole earth, by preparing and equipping the people of God as ministers of the gospel.
The clear biblical pattern and expectation is for every disciple of Jesus to reproduce through the making of disciples. Similarly, the clear biblical pattern and expectation is for every church to reproduce themselves. Disciples make disciples; churches plant churches. Reimagine a church that recognizes that their salvation is not for themselves, but that they have been blessed to be a blessing. Reimagine a church whose missions strategy is its people, where every ordinary follower of Christ is actively ministering the gospel among their friends, family, neighbors and the nations.
Tips & Tools
Mission: God’s and Ours According to the Scriptures
Patterns of Mission from Acts and the Gospels
Bible Exercise: Extent and Means of God’s Mission through the Whole Bible
Biblical Mission (pgs 156-166), from “12 Traits: Embracing God’s Design for the Church” by David Platt (and associated sermon).
Six Components of the Missionary Task by the International Mission Board