5 Cs That Help Shape a Missional Culture in Your Ministry

Changing the culture in any ministry is difficult work.

How do you help shape a missional culture in your ministry?  How are you creating an environment in which mature Jesus-followers “live in the world without being of the world, for the sake of their neighborhood?”

Here are 5 C’s to help put it a little more within reach.

Change Your Language

If you want to shape a missional culture, the words you choose should inspire people to act and live as missionaries right where they live.   Your language should be catalytic.  If it’s not, change it.  Be relentless in finding the right words that catalyze missional living in your people.  For example:

We are taking a fresh look at our Value Statements at the Church because we want our values as missional motives to propel every Jesus-follower to take action as missionaries right where they live.  We want them to be more than cool phrases that we teach people in our new members class.  For example:

We refer to our hub administrative staff as our “Mission Support Team” because we want every Jesus-follower at the Church to have the support they need “out in the mission field.”

What language do you sense you need to change?

Celebrate Stories of People on Mission

If you want to shape a missional culture where you lead, then celebrate missional activity.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?  Pay attention to what gets the attention in your local ministry.  Catch people living out their missional calling, then broadcast it in every way possible.  For example:

We created a web-site where we gather missional stories. I periodically interview people on mission in the message on Sunday mornings.

What are some ways you can celebrate the missional activity of your people?

Conduct a Campaign

There are times in ministry when we rally the troops and focus our energies for a season to accomplish a congregational sized goal.  We do it for capital needs all the time.  Is there anything more crucial to a ministry than helping people come to grips with their baptismal identity as missionaries?  Then why not launch a campaign?

Figure out the BIG ISSUES or KEY HIGHLIGHTS that are needing attention in this season of your ministry, rally the troops, and focus your energies there for a season.  For example:

We are on year three of our 3-year Vision Campaign called “1impact”.  This was an intentional season of focus as we pursued our vision “One Church, Regional Impact.”

Even as we close this season, we are beginning to rally the troops again as we consider the BIG ISSUES/ KEY HIGHLIGHTS we will be facing in the next 12-36 months at the Church.  Here’s my Top 10 at the Church:

  • Realizing Growth while embracing a “Low Cost-Low Risk Model” (Low Cost Building and Staffing Solutions)
  • Funding the Vision (Growing Generosity)
  • Multiplying Missionaries
  • Multiplying Discipling Relationships
  • Raising the Bar on Service (Inside and Out)  lifeServe is our weakest strategy component
  • Getting Fitchburg Fired Up to live as a Site
  • Releasing Dependency on Staff/Pastors
  • Multiplying lifeGroups as vibrantly functioning “missional communities”
  • Fully integrating a communication’s strategy that effectively engages everyone
  • Finding our niche and celebrating our approach to Children’s Ministry that is home-centered, community supported, and non-programmatic

What do you need to focus on over these next 12-36 months?  Could a strategic partner like Auxano Campaigns help you focus?

Create Opportunities and Tools for People

People need their local church to support them as they live out their missional calling in the world.  For example:

We created a simple, yet helpful piece called “Cultivating Spiritual Friendship Guide.”  It has surprised me how a simple tool like this can actually help someone be more confident in living the missional life.

Our Sunday morning “Bible Class” at our Fitchburg Site is called faithBuilders.  We use it as a time to equip and challenge Jesus-followers to live missionally.  We’ve used tools like “I Once Was Lost“, to help people in their relationships with those who are far from God.  We have found that our members don’t really need more information about the Bible as much as they need support to live out in obedience what they have already been given.

What tools would really help your people live on mission?

Capture Your Church’s Uniqueness

You need to stop trying to copy other ministries.  Are you conferenced out, growing weary of attempting to plug-in other leaders’ approaches?  Are you ready to do the exhilarating work of figuring out your mission in your community?   Ready to be set free to live out all that God has designed you to be?

We captured our uniqueness by answering five questions.  You can too!

  • What‘s our unique calling in this community? What are we doing?  What have we been uniquely designed to do?
  • Why are we doing this?  What’s our motivation?  What unique core practices demonstrate those motivations?
  • How are we going to fulfill our unique calling?  What’s our methodology for carrying out our unique calling?
  • When are we successful?  How do we know we have accomplished our unique calling?
  • Where is God leading us?  What is the vivid and compelling picture of our future, and what milestones must we pursue to get there?

How would you answer these 5 questions?  

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Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer

I am Jeff Meyer, and I start fires. Ever since that basketball game in college when I came off the bench and lit a spark for my team, I have carried the nickname "Fire Meyer." (Until that point in my career my jersey #22 never saw the floor in an actual game. Perhaps the #22 was a symbol of my life calling: 2 Timothy 2:2?) I live to see sparks ignited and connections made. I long to see the church wake up and live. I long to see Jesus-followers display passionate commitment to Jesus. Jesus' invitation to follow Him was an adventure of epic proportions. Can we recapture that today? I long to see communities transformed into healthy places of wholeness. I believe that communities are transformed when Jesus-followers are stoked and respond. Perhaps you've heard it said that the church is the hope of the world. I believe that a responsive Jesus-follower is the hope of the world. "Igniting connections" is my way of setting off some inspirational sparks; sparks that ignite a passionate response to the call of Jesus.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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