Having worked in a church, and now from working with hundreds of churches in global mobilization, it’s often the very group of people who are supposed to champion missions who become the obstacle.
Missions committees are those things in churches we seem to need but don’t really know why they are there or what specifically they are supposed to accomplish.
The idea of a missions committee dates back to the days of missions conferences in churches. Their responsibility was to put on those week long conferences to raise the missions awareness. They put out the flags, arranged the schedule for the visiting missionary, and set up the missions banquet. Now most churches have done away with the traditional missions conference, so we needed a new job for the missions committee.
As missions conferences became obsolete, short-term missions and local church run missions initiatives became more prevalent; and something new for the missions committee to do. Missions committees are typically made up of people who have been on a short-term missions experience. They understandably come back so impacted, and they don’t know what to do with their new found passion. The Pastor doesn’t know what to do with them, so they are put on the missions committee. Another way you get on a missions committee is if you have a son or daughter, or niece or nephew, who is a missionary. And what you end up with is a group of people all with different agendas who try to influence the church to experience what they have or support what they feel is most worthy of support. We also hear church leaders say things like, “We have no focus in missions, we make up a new focus every couple of years.”, “How do we say no to so many worthy things?”, “We are just a small church; we can’t do anything big.”, “We support other missionaries and denominational missions, but we never really hear anything from them.” This is likely why your missions committee is so frustrating and frustrated.
But the real issue isn’t the missions committee. The real issue is the church leadership that lets them function this way. If this describes your missions committee, my recommendation is to fold it until it has a purpose and is empowered.
Over 12 years, we have played a role in seeing missions committees transform from an ineffectual bureaucratic cog in the church wheel, too focused teams of people with missions experience effectively engaging their church in changing some part of this world. We’ve helped missions committees become the highlight in the life of the church, responsible for increasing the spiritual temperature of the congregation.
Our process is a valuable, third party consultation with the key leaders in a congregation that results in a long-term partnership with other leaders in the developing world. When missions committees have focus and direction, they have the ability to say “No” to lots of great things. They are extremely helpful to a church staff and board, and they drive fundraising for missions because of a sense of healthy ownership.
We are here to help you with your international project, not the other way around. If you are interested in hearing more about how we can help your church become focused and directly meaningfully engaged internationally email us at firstname.lastname@example.org