Is it Time to Clean Out Your Congregations’ Missions Closet?
September 8, 2020
By Rev. Alexis Coleman
Lydia’s Place/1st UMC Asheboro
When Shelter at Home orders began to go into effect, many people cleaned out their garages, closets and dresser drawers. It was enormously satisfying for most people I knew but cleaning out is a process. Each item must be examined individually. Typical questions might be:
- What is the purpose of this?
- Do I need this?
- When is the last time I wore it?
- Does it still fit?
- Will I miss it? How much?
The same thing often happens with the missions in a congregation, particularly at this time of year when pastoral moves have taken place. New pastors ask a lot of questions, trying to understand the culture and context of their new appointment. As they try to get the lay of the new land they’re in, pastors typically use phrases like:
- “Tell me about…”
- “Say more about…”
- “I’d like to know more about…”
- What are we and our church trying to accomplish? (i.e. what is our mission and vision?)
- What outcomes do we expect to see? (i.e. how will we know when we’re successful?)
- What is the scripture that most guides our missions work? (i.e. what is our theology of missions?)
- How important is relational ministry to us? (i.e. do we want to build relationships with the people we are serving? Do we want to be in partnerships with the organizations we are supporting? What do partnerships look like for us?)
- Are we willing to stop doing some things we’ve always done in order to bring transformation to our community?
- Does the work of this organization or ministry still fit the mission and vision of our congregation?
- Do the ministry report outcomes or does it report inputs and outputs?
- Is it helping to transform lives or is it creating dependency?
- Does its theology align with our team’s theology and our congregation’s theology? If not, are we all ok with that?
- Can we build a community that more closely resembles the Kingdom of God through our support of this organization or ministry?
- What would happen to the organization or ministry if our congregation no longer supported it?
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