In the comments of the last post, Jim asked this question:

“I’m just beginning to try to help my established congregation turn itself into a missional focus.

I really like the notes and presentation, but where I struggle is where your presentation leaves off…what does this look like practically…what are the practices your community is a part of…in what ways is your community different in appearance, look and action than what I see going on in my established non-missional congregation?

just looking for some practical, concrete things I can point to as I think about helping my congregation move in another direction.”

This is really a great question!  I began to make a comment but realized it was really long and figured it may as well be a new post. So here are my thoughts…

I was going to write in the last post that i felt like the weakest part of the class was the end. That’s mostly because I had less time than I wanted to have to prepare this part.

I also stayed away from the concrete things so as to hopefully ignite the imaginations of those in the class without giving them the answers. that would have been too easy :). That said, if I were to teach the class again, I’d probably have some more concrete examples to work though.

I would say this, the ways it has looked at the well is by beginning in small, small ways. Its been a four year process for us and its clear we have a lot more work to do.

Some examples:

  • Getting face to face with poverty in your own town or city will do more for mission than anything else. find a way to regularly get a few of your people interacting with the poor. They won’t put up with the status quo anymore. Some of the most effective ministry we do has come from small pockets of our congregation having regular experiences with those in need.
  • Find a few people who have realized that the way we are living economically in our culture is terrible and encourage them to find ways to begin living differently.
  • Invite your small groups to be more than bible studies, encourage them to serve in the community.
  • When you talk about budget and money, make sure its all connected to mission. if you can’t, then reorganize your community a bit to actually be about mission. if people don’t see how your church is affecting others, giving will be down. which means, if your church isn’t giving outward… your giving will be down. the problem is either that the church isn’t giving or that the congregation doesn’t see the connection between their giving and the mission.

These are just some examples off the top of my head. Basically, creating change within a church (especially one with a lot of history) is a long and trying process. I believe the biggest thing leaders can do is to start with small “mustard seed” experiments and see where the Spirit leads.

A good book would be The Missional Leader by Alan Roxburgh. In his book, Alan has some great thoughts on cultivating conversations in your church that call forth the mission God has for the congregation.

Anybody else have anything to add?