As we prayerfully discern the future of mission here at Pleasant Hills Church, here is a list of articles about mission that I hope will educate, challenge, and encourage us as individuals and as a team. I have not read each and every one of these articles. These are some titles from trusted sources that I found intriguing.
Do not feel pressured to read everything here. Instead, simply choose a few titles that seem important or interesting to you.
Once you read an article, please fill out the brief "Mission Articles Response Form" by clicking the button above. Responses should be brief. Sometime soon, we will have an opportunity to look at a summary of all of these responses in order to guide some long-form discussion and planning.
The articles are not listed in any particular order.
Mission Partnerships from a Field Worker's Perspective (NEW)
Basic theological framework for mission partnerships
An overview of what's important within a mission partnership, including expectations of churches and mission partners.
Wise Missions Stewardship:
How 3 churches approach global ministry funding
In this Postings, Matthew Philip leads us off with some of the principles that guide his church’s practices for raising and stewarding global dollars. David Harrop and Jeremy Zilkie add valuable suggestions...
Increase Your Impact:
Power up your focus by tapping more of your church’s God-given potential
Historically most churches’ missions programs have been invested primarily in supporting missionaries. While the relationships may be decades long and built around deep friendships, in almost all cases the church’s support decisions are based on the missionaries’ gifts and passions rather than the churches’. Church members are often involved only through giving and prayer. In recent years, many churches have chosen to adopt a strategic missions focus because they want to be passionately engaged as a congregation with a specific God-sized vision and goals…
Maintain Your Momentum:
25 ways to move church missions forward during Covid, and 8 types of people who might do it
No one wants to waste precious time just bemoaning COVID limitations. So how can church missions leaders creatively use this unique period to invigorate their missions programs now and into the future? Here are 25 idea starters. Before you say, “But everyone is too busy!” consider our list at the end of this article of those who may have extra time and energy right now to harness for missions!...
How churches help them retire well
"Hidden immigrants" or "third-culture retirees" is how retired missionaries sometimes describe themselves. While they are similar in some ways to any Western retiree, most retired missionaries deal with additional unique feelings and adjustments…
Don’t let your leadership team get sidetracked and miss high-impact priorities
Are you finding it difficult to keep your congregation engaged in missions? Perhaps it is because your leadership team is investing time, energy, and resources in “missions distractions”—less-productive efforts that keep you from focusing on the most effective mobilization priorities for your congregation today. This issue of Postings highlights common distractions to avoid as well as ways to escape the distraction trap. We conclude with a list of often-missed but high-impact priorities for your leadership team…
Merging missionary and sending-church expectations
A missionary and their sending church should have a strong family bond. But like many physical families, the family connection between workers and their sending body can suffer from unexpressed or misunderstood needs and expectations. For harmonious church/missionary teamwork, both partners need to be intentional about communicating their expectations and grow in their ability to serve their partner well…
Life Stages and Missions:
A tool to engage every decade’s global potential
Our society has spent a lot of time analyzing the characteristics of each generation. Such critiques often are valuable, but life stages also define important opportunities and obstacles to missions involvement. To highlight ways to engage key missions potential in your church, we suggest studying each decade and its unique characteristics. Generational and contextual differences shape some of these decade markers…
Disrupt Your Missions Budget Thinking:
How to approach your missions budgeting with fresh perspective
Disruptive forces are changing many areas of life, and your church’s missions budget may be feeling the impact. In some churches, societal disruption is creating a climate where their investment in missions is increasing, while other churches report that their overall church income is down and/or their missions budget is being reduced. Still other churches are aware that they should adapt, but consider all their missions funds to be locked into “forever” commitments to global workers…
Two churches’ hard work serves the strangers among us
While the flow of refugees into the US has dramatically slowed, hundreds of thousands already here struggle to find their way in a strange land. Meanwhile, a LifeWay Research study quoted in Seeking Refuge found that just 8% of Protestant US pastors say their churches are currently involved in serving refugees locally (pg. 47). Regardless of what region or country you live in, chances are that God has brought the nations to your church’s doorstep. How can you grasp this unprecedented opportunity?...
Trust God More:
Setting goals to expand your church’s global impact
Your church is probably gearing up right now to launch a new ministry year. This season is also a great time for you and your other missions leaders to prayerfully take stock and consider a reboot of all or part of your global programming…
Do you have a core missions message for your church?
Church missions programs have a lot of complicated moving parts. Most churches have lots of missionaries doing different things in different places, as well as both global and local projects. There are hard-to-remember names, “strange” missions terminology, and unfamiliar abbreviations. When we expect our congregations to “know our missionaries,” we are asking a lot of people already on information overload…
A New Kind of Missionary:
Releasing your church’s global Influencers
Like many churches, North Park is on the edge of our seats as we witness the rising advance of the global Church. We sense a new mission season at hand, and it is causing us to rethink our role. While our commitment to sending has grown deeper, we are asking questions about what sending means in this globalized world…
Bridging the Vision Gap:
Connecting the church to passion and purpose
“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” the writer of Proverbs warns us. This Postings addresses two vision gaps that can quietly suck the life out of the missions engagement of a local church…
How to overcome five church missions impasses
Do you or your missions team sometimes feel stuck? You’re not alone! Many churches wrestle with similar feelings. The enemy would like you to believe that you can’t do more in global outreach. Refuse to accept the status quo! Here are five common places churches bog down and some ideas to get moving again…
5 Marks of a Mission Healthy Church:
Shaping and measuring your global impact
How do you measure the missions health of your church? What benchmarks do you use? Are you celebrating areas where you have made progress? How do you target important areas to improve? Some church leaders are happy just to maintain a certain budget level or to keep doing what they have always done in missions. Others write off their missions program as entirely ineffective but feel helpless to even begin improving it. Responses at either end of this spectrum can derail a church’s efforts to have the global impact that God wants for them...
Take Time to Refresh Your Missions Team:
A dozen ideas to reinvigorate your leaders
Your team probably invests lots of energy to refresh your missionaries. But who refreshes your missions team? Use one or more of these suggestions to combat burnout and head into another busy ministry year with renewed vision and joy…
A Support-Sending-Partnering Continuum:
Stages of missions ownership
As church leaders and mobilizers, we are also eager to measure a congregation’s growth in missions engagement. This month’s Postings provides something of a growth chart to help you evaluate the “height” of your involvement with your missionaries. Begin at the bottom of this list and measure how far you’ve grown!...
Strong Families Share Mission
Most of us yearn to be part of a strong and healthy family, but what exactly does that look like? Perhaps we imagine a warmly lit room with family members sitting together. In our modern, urbanized society, the family home has become a place of retreat from the world... But this vision of family life is relatively new. Before the industrial revolution, the family was a productive unit: the home was a place of work. What bound families together was not simply being together, sitting face to face, but doing together, working side by side…
Gospel Clarity for Missional Calling
How do you keep the gospel clear and focused on missional calling when so many competing forces, influences, and voices speak into your life, ministry, and church? I am learning that gospel clarity is tied in large part to how we understand our cross-cultural mission in very practical ways.
Mission in an Upside-Down World
Christopher Wright pens the latest entry in CT’s Christian Vision Project. Whereas last year’s unifying question was “How can followers of Christ be a counterculture for the common good?” this year’s question is “What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God’s mission in the world?” Dr. Wright is the international director of Langham Partnership (known in the U.S. as John Stott Ministries). He has authored widely respected works on Deuteronomy, OT ethics, Christ in the OT, the Holy Spirit in the OT, etc. His most recent book is The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative…
Why the Missional Church Isn’t Enough
The missional church in the United States is not missional enough. The local focus of mission is shortsighted. If we only make disciples who make disciples in our cities, thousands of unengaged, un-discipled peoples of the earth will not hear the gospel. To be sure, many ethnic groups are migrating to cities, which brings some of the nations right into the neighborhood. However, there remain many ethnic groups that do not migrate to Western cities. Western churches must send missionaries, not only across the street, but also across the world…
A Plea to the Mission Minded
There is a people group whose language you may not want to learn, whose customs you may find distasteful, whose dress may offend, and whose values may disappoint. They are worshipers of idols. They raise their children in poverty. Many Christians consider this people group either unreachable or beyond the sphere of their calling. Why? Because their language is that of white suburbia…
Our Missional Amnesia
How much investment should be made to bring the gospel to places it’s already been, like Europe [or America]? Some of us may feel disinterest or even disdain because such places, it seems, have squandered Christ’s riches. Yet when we look at all the “reached” places and decide strategically to move on, we may have a case of missiological amnesia. God, on the other hand, never forgets…
Defining the “Mission of the Church”
This month’s issue of Credo magazine is about missions and the church. I was asked to contribute a definition of “the mission of the church” for inclusion in the magazine. It took me a while to think about how to form a definition that showed the relationship between the church’s identity and mission. In the end, this is the definition I offered...
Living Intentionally and Missionally as a Family
Ed and Mel Zwyghuizen have three children—Gabe (19), Christian (17), and Greta (15). Together, they are known as Team Z. The kids are students, Mel is a high school Spanish teacher, and Ed is an architect at Gen1 Architectural Group, a name inspired by the creation account in Genesis 1. They live in Zeeland, Michigan, just outside of Grand Rapids. Their family is featured in For the Life of the World: Letters to Exiles, Episode 2: The Economy of Love…
Family in Mission: Theology and Praxis
“Most often we are told to simply tell people the truth about God; thus conventional churches focus on preaching and proclaiming the gospel, whereas missional churches seek to demonstrate the gospel and manifest God’s truth to the world” (p. 82). This dichotomy between proclamation versus incarnation forms the backbone of Johannes Reimer’s Family in Mission... He unpacks this idea as it relates both to the church and families...
Prayer and Mission are Inextricably Linked
Our life as a follower of Jesus Christ is a spiritual battle. It is an ongoing conflict to advance the cause of Christ in our own lives and the world around us. But we do not fight this war, this spiritual battle on our own. We fight it together with other Christians in the church and under the leadership and command of Christ. And we fight it with powerful weapons that God has provided for us. Prayer connects us with the unlimited resources of our Father in Heaven. In evangelism we clearly see the need for prayer for this spiritual battle…