Mobilization is described by Todd Wilson and Rob Wegner in Made for More this way: “The role of the local church is to be the mobilizing home base. This empowers all disciples to discover their personal calling and then deploy them to express the fullness of Jesus into every corner of culture and into every sphere of society.” You must ask this question up front, in your life and in your church: “Is the Great Commission in the driver’s seat?” Mobilization moves your church from spiritual health to living on mission, with the ultimate goal of the multiplication of disciples, leaders, groups and churches.
Matthew 9:37 makes the issue very clear — there is an abundant harvest ready to be harvested, but there is a labor shortage. This is not only a crisis in quantity (laborers are few) but also a crisis in quality (laborers are not equipped and ready). Both of these areas are crucial to a proper evaluation of your congregation. The issue is not only quantitative (how much ministry you actually provide) but also qualitative (how well you provide that ministry). If the Great Commission is in the driver’s seat, disciples are being made who make disciples. Something is wrong if our goal is making more disciples and there are not any new disciples.
Are you willing to do the hard work of making the following primary missional paradigm shifts? Mobilizing your people from internal to external in terms of ministry focus. To mobilize your leaders from program development to people development in terms of your core activity. To mobilize your congregation from being church-based to becoming kingdom-based in terms of leadership agenda. Spiritual renewal and strategic initiative work side by side and are both necessary. Spiritual renewal occurs through the Word of God, prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Strategic initiative occurs through prayerful planning and intentionality.
Developing a strategy requires building a track to move forward. Mobilization runs on two rails — building biblical knowledge (what you know) and building biblical character (who you are). Biblical knowledge is your biblical literacy and I.Q. It stresses the importance of handling the Word of God correctly (II Tim. 2:15). This foundational rail must be laid well and properly. The other rail running parallel to biblical knowledge is biblical character and behavior. This is the application of obedience to the knowledge you have learned. Spiritual renewal shows you the next steps of strategic initiative in how you will obey His mission.
In Total Church, Tim Chester and Steve Timmis stated, “Being gospel-centered actually involves two things. First, it means being word-centered because the gospel is a word — the gospel is news, a message. Second, it means being mission-centered because the gospel is a word to be proclaimed — the gospel is good news, a missionary message.” Placing the Great Commission in the driver’s seat means that your church joins God on His mission. It is not just ecclesiology (what the church does) but deeper theology (who God is). Being missional is your church partnering with God in His redemptive mission in the world.
These two rails have a goal that helps to accomplish mobilizing “every disciple into every corner of culture and into every sphere of society.” Kenneth E. Priddy defines the goal of building biblical character like this: “To help leaders study the Bible, know the Bible, teach the Bible and apply Scripture to life.” He defines building biblical character as helping “leaders develop and demonstrate strong biblical character in their lives, reflected in godly behaviors, decisions and relationships.” Together, they require an obedience mechanism through accountability that only occurs best in relational discipleship.
About 15 years ago, I asked my good friend, Steve Ogne, to help us put together our very own BMA Church Mobilization Toolkit. In that toolkit, he wrote out a Mobilization Covenant for every church that would begin the journey down these tracks. Here it is: “Goal — To confirm the ownership of the senior leadership, including pastor and elders and/or deacons, for the mobilization process. This tool is best used with the deacons/elders and staff. Instructions — read, discuss, pray and commit to the following (it may take more than one meeting!)”
“We the leaders of (insert church name) covenant together to begin a process of intentional ministry mobilization that is being offered to us by the Baptist Missionary Association. We understand that the primary goals of the process are increased health, increased local mission and the multiplication of new churches. We understand that the Health Phase of the process will require us to take an objective look at our current reality, see a preferred future and align our ministry accordingly. We understand that the Mission Phase of the process will require us to focus on lost people, intentionally make disciples of lost people and multiply leaders who can do the same.
“We understand that the Multiplication Phase is designed to engage our congregation in the process of church planting. We understand that the process will require flexibility and a level of change that will not always be comfortable, and we agree to support that change with our time and our treasure for the sake of God’s Kingdom. We understand that, if all goes well, we are launching an 18 to 36-month process that will require some financial investment on the part of the church. Finally, we, the leaders of (insert church name) covenant together to positively participate and positively represent this process to the congregation.”
In church mobilization, if you are going to move your congregation forward, the rails are Building Biblical Knowledge and Building Biblical Character. Now you can begin laying the tracks down, utilizing the strategic initiative of Living Missionally, Making Disciples, Mobilizing Ministry, Leading Ministry and Planting Churches. Are you ready to mobilize? Are you preparing to mobilize?