Are you looking ahead at your local church year? Here are some helpful things to consider!
How does your church mission year weave in with the whole congregation in worship, discipleship, prayer, outreach, and fellowship? The church mission committee, or perhaps the executive level church group, should make sure that mission is more than a small group movement, more than replicating history, and more than only projects and funding. Help your congregation experience what it means to be the Body of Christ in the mission of God and develop a full range mission portfolio!
We’ve got to adjust some of this soon to show the next year and catch up with new appointments, but this basic template offers a great starting point for planning. If you have questions, or don’t think this is advance enough for you, contact me and we can easily adjust for your context. See http://www.ngumc.org/churchofexcellenceinoutreach
Scott continues to serve as a mission field agent dividing time between North Georgia Connectional Ministries and our UMC Global Ministries yet with focus in both roles on congregational effectiveness in mission. Whether your church is new to mission or advance, and no matter the church context or size, Scott can assist you in your next steps. Scott is available for consulting, teaching, preaching, and helping your congregation advance in God’s mission. Note that some of the recurring themes in these conversations includes how a congregation better engages the community, the ways the global mission movement is expressed in the local church context, and how mission becomes a focused, congregational movement rather than a dart board pattern of small activities.
Many churches find that an annual event that helps the entire congregation focus on mission can be a helpful experience as prayer, worship, discipleship, and the whole life of the church considers the mission of God. This can also be a very strategic launch pad for the next year of mission! Use the opportunity to evaluate church engagement through prayer, study, participation, and giving to mission at local, state, regional, national, and international levels. Many churches are finding they are spread too thin, and use this opportunity to concentrate on fewer mission partnerships which will engage the whole congregation as they continue to love God and love neighbor. Scott is available to share ideas or assist with this process, or can be your “one stop shop” for UMC Global Ministries and mission resources.
It is extremely important for a congregation to be ready BEFORE disaster strikes your community or county. You can’t easily set up a shelter the day of a tornado. Establish relationships and communication with your local emergency services, and your local Red Cross, and your North GA conference disaster response team before the day of an event. We are all partners who assist with training and best practices and the essential networking and chain of command which are vital in the event of an emergency. Oh, and you can also make this a unique church experience as you might review your safety plans, run an emergency drill, check to see if you have essentials for an emergency, run a mock shelter, or consider ways to be available to your community.
Plan a special mission training, showcase a country or missionary or topic, have a cluster or district outreach impact event, or offer some exciting mission event for your church, cluster, or district. We have many resources in North Georgia with strong United Methodist experiences available to come to your location. Our Connectional Ministries approach with UMVIM, disaster response training, and any topic of local, national, or international mission is to go to your location when requested. Know this as a standing offer as we seek to assist you in your next steps in God’s mission.
Pastors be sure that your mission teams – local, national, and international- conform to the church expectations for Safe Sanctuaries (assume there will be contact with children, youth, and vulnerable adults and have everyone on your team vetted), that every team member has adequate insurance (this is no longer to be assumed and most policies are not adequate for international coverage), that your team has contingency plans if there are significant issues, and that you have the helpful accountability both at home and in other countries (that is, you have a team beyond your “away” team available before, during, and after a trip). Make sure your mission team leaders are trained and using the resources such as UMVIM. We have trainers available to go to your congregation or district and share best practices, the networking which is available, and help you increase the good you can do while doing no harm.