Mobilization moves your church from spiritual health to living on God’s mission daily. The tracks for moving the church forward in God’s mission are built on the rails of 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. 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.
The first track that must be laid down and established is living missionally. Mobilization requires moving your church from being inwardly focused to being outwardly focused (see Luke 15). How will you strategically connect with your community and those who are far from God? Being missional is your church partnering with God in His redemptive mission in the world. It is discerning how you will increase your ministry footprint in a culture that is far from God. Is your ministry capacity increasing? You never pray more like Jesus desires you to pray than when you ask Him to send forth laborers into the harvest.
This demands more than holding services and conducting Bible studies. Churches have a lifecycle with three stages — inclining, reclining and declining. An inclining church is healthy and growing. The ministry capacity of an inclining church is always increasing. A reclining church has leveled off and, if not careful, begins to accept the status quo. The ministry capacity of a reclining church is maintaining. The declining church is in danger of dying if revival and renewal do not occur soon. The ministry capacity is decreasing quickly. How would you describe your ministry capacity?
Ministry is important in many areas but allow me to focus on two: Quantity and Quality.
First is quantity, and the question is, “Do we have a labor shortage?” Yes! Is this because there are not enough people to do the job that needs to be done or is it the lack of motivation or equipping to do the job God has called you to do?
Then the question of quality is, “Are we providing ministry that is motivated by excellence?” One definition of excellence is doing the best we can with what we have. There is always room for improvement.
Your prayer and desire should be to focus on both of these areas to minister well to as many people as you can.
Quantitative ministry answers the question of how much ministry your church provides (Worship, Discipleship, Connection Groups, Ministry Teams, Service Opportunities, Outreach Events). Qualitative ministry answers the question of how good a job you are doing in these areas. More missional leaders create more missional opportunities. More missional opportunities create more missional ministry. More missional ministry creates more missional disciples. This process is hopefully unending (II Tim 2:2) and always repeating. It begins with getting outside the walls of the church and building relationships with people who are far from God.
This will require faith and obedience. Habakkuk 2:4 makes it clear, “The just shall live by faith.” In context, the prophet is stating that there is hope for those who will hold firm to their trust in God as calamity comes. Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
Increasing your missional capacity will require a high-risk faith. That kind of faith is believing God regardless of the situation or your feelings. This high-risk faith is Holy Spirit led risk. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place… not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8). Now that is faith!
Dying churches exercise no-risk faith. They are committed toprotecting whatever limited resources they might have. They struggle to put anything at risk while holding on for a rainy day and being paralyzed by indecision. Fear and apprehension rule the day. Ironically, the decision not to make a decision is a decision and, quite often, the wrong decision. Status quo churches exercise low-risk faith. They are committed to being cautious, guarded and prudent. They seem to be willing to try new ideas, but only in situations they can control. Most decisions are resource decisions, and they focus on maintaining what they have.
What is God doing in your church that can only be explained by the power of God? Healthy, thriving churches exercise high-risk faith. They are committed to following God wherever He leads, regardless of contingency. No risk is too high when God’s leading is ascertained. Prayer and obedience are values with much time and energy being invested in pursuing God’s will. The expectation is that God will, in fact, guide and direct you as you seek Him. It is a faith journey that is willing to risk everything, except faith. There is a willingness to move forward, even when the outcome is uncertain and the decision appears risky.
Living missionally demands sacrificing your comfort zone and moving your church from a congregation focus to a lost community focus. Are you able to identify ways you are equipping your people to live missionally? How are you mobilizing your church for mission in your city and community? When is the last time you led them on a mission trip in your neighborhood?
If you are not careful, all your training and equipping will focus on serving one another in the church. What will your church do to help your leaders and congregation live missionally every day, in every corner of culture and into every sphere of society?