Ok, so, you’re in a church and want to see people making life changing decisions for God. You want your church to be a place where ordinary people come in and missionaries go out. But how do you create such an environment?
It may not be as hard as you think. Of course, something that I’ve learned throughout my relatively few years is that even though something might be easy, nothing is ever easy. Your church might have a number of “roadblocks” to get to this place but I think a lot of that has to do with the way that we’ve structured our churches these days.
Without further ado, how to create a sending culture in your church. Pat Hood, author of The Sending Church, outlines 6 heartshifts that are critical to becoming a sending church.
- Imagine a Jesus Movement-Imagine what God could do if all of our churches thought missionally. More importantly, imagine if all of the sending churches worked together and encouraged, prayed for and learned from each other(this is basically what Here2there has created our H2T Network for).
- Start Thinking Upstream-Churches have a responsibility to send people and stay in their lives.
- Think And Act Like A Missionary-If you were on the mission field how close would you want your churches to be to your work? The church must be connected to the work being done.
- Join What God Is Already Doing-God has a specific, strategic plan for every church and every believer in every church. Seek the Holy Spirit to find out where they are leading.
- Discover Your Church DNA-God has filled your church with the people that He intended to be there. Find out who they are, what they do, what they love and what they are good at. There’s a good chance that will lead you to the WHAT of your church’s calling.
- Collaborate-Find other churches who are sending and learn from them(again, the H2T Network is designed to help out in this way).
Let’s take a look at the very first sending church. Acts 13:2 says, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”(NKJV)
Some other versions say the church was worshiping the Lord so I looked up the original language to find out more. The phrase ‘ministered to’ was translated from the original Greek word leitourgeo. It is defined as doing a service or performing a work which apparently has three different possible meanings the most likely of which in this case praying or teaching or aiding other’s with resources.
The way I see it the church in Antioch was doing one of two things or possibly both. Either they were together in prayer to God seeking guidance on what the church should do or they were or they were doing works of service aiding people with what God had given them.
If we look at the prayer option we see that prayer has again and again been the catalyst for the expansion of missions at minimum 3 different times in the history of Christianity. Lifepoint Church in The Sending Church held a sacred gathering that called the church together for specific prayer asking the Holy Spirit for direction and that led to a large number of people feeling the same call that Paul and Barnabas heard.
If we look at the works of service option we see that the church was in the community focusing on their “Jerusalem” so-to-speak.
Either way, the church in Antioch was not focused on just meeting together and being fed spiritually. They were either focused on God in prayer or focused on their neighbors in service.
AND THAT IS WHEN WE SEE THE HOLY SPIRIT CALL PEOPLE OUT.
What is your church doing to point people to the mission of God? Is your church more of a come-and-see or come-and-pray/do?