Church Denominational structure as it relates to Mission Mobilization
EPISCOPAL CHURCH MISSIONARY COMMUNITY
ECMC, P.O. Box 278, Ambridge, PA 15003 has all kinds of resources to help Episcopalians who care about world missions, including:
-ReachOut Bulletin (bi-monthly)
-Mission Awareness Seminars
-Triennial mission conference called "New Wineskins"
-One-week intro-to-missions course
-Bi-monthly Episcopal missionary Prayer calendar
CHURCH: DENOMINATION DIRECTORY
QUESTION From: Harold Britton <HBritton@cproject.com>
Is there a good up-to-date book/resource on Christian denominations, their distinctives, perspectives on mission, links and posture for cooperation, etc. MARC does a good job with North American Mission Handbook for agencies, but what about denominations?
ANSWER From: Keith Hersch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Regarding the question on book on denominations, Abingdon Press puts out an annual directory. Not that specific, but a good starting point if you want to know how to get a hold of denoms. that are out there. Abingdon, in fact puts out a number of good Christian reference books.
CHURCH: DENOMINATIONAL AGENCY CHANGE
QUESTION From: Daniel Bianchi <email@example.com> I'm in the process of preparing a proposal to change a denominational administrative missions office into a vital sending agency... I would appreciate suggestions, advice and any comment that can help me...
ANSWER From: Denis Shuker <firstname.lastname@example.org> The answers already given are excellent. I would add - do all you can to send the chairman of the board plus some key staff to a mission field where God is working and let the Lord open their eyes to the great needs on the fields and do His work in their hearts - then step aside when they get back as the Holy Spirit works in and through them to bring His transformation.
ANSWER From: "David Hackett" <email@example.com> Chris pays Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship (PFF) a compliment when he mentions that we have had an impact on the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s commitment to frontier mission. We'd like to expand on that to anyone interested, because we believe that PFF has had a remarkable and continuing impact on PCUSA mission. Our Executive Director, Harold Kurtz, says in reply to Chris's note: "If they are serious, they ought to contact PFF because few people realize how deeply we have changed our denomination's focus. Most independent mission people are startled to hear that we have been able to get our leadership to adopt the AD2000 & Beyond goal as one of our denominational goals." In addition, our PCUSA under PFF's influence and encouragement has made a commitment to have active frontier mission evangelism underway among 200 UPSs by the year 2000...
ANSWER From: <GFritz@cproject.com> Dr. Robert Clinton of Fuller Seminary, School of World Missions teaches a course called Change Dynamics each December that is geared for your type of situation. If you can't wait for the class or find it too expensive, I suggest you buy the book/manual. It will take you many hours to work through the entire model, but I am confident you will find your investment worthwhile. The book is called _Bridging Strategies, Leadership Perspectives for Introducing Change_ and is available through Barnabas Publishers. E-mail Dr. Clinton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANSWER From: (Chris) I did try to change a denominational administrative mission agency once and fell flat on my face in the effort. Chalk it up to naivete and inexperience in denominational politics. The key in my opinion is that the agency has to want to change in the first place. If there are vested interests guarding the fort, a full-scale assault will result in bloodshed and bitterness, not to mention division and schisms. Denominations have been fought and lost over their mission agencies.
Doug Lucas of Team Expansion <DougLucas@xc.org> is a successful change case study where a denomination who wanted to change hired Doug to bring more mission vision to the denomination. Another example of denominational mission change are the Southern Baptists and to a certain extent the PCUSA who has an excellent mobilizing agency called Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship.
As far as denominational sending is concerned, another key is that missionary care needs to be more important than denominational politics. Small denominations with under-staffed offices rarely do a good job caring for their missionaries. They are usually too busy defending their existence to the denomination or taking care of burned out, bummed out missionaries. These offices usually look for seconding deals with established mission sending agencies to provide the necessary care.
I don't know in what direction you would want to change your denomination's mission agency, but a good grassroots following would be affirmation of God's leading, following an extended season of prayer. You might ask God to send a dream to key denominational leaders similar to the one he sent Peter before he visited Cornelius. I believe the effort to change a denomination's mission sending agency is worth trying, even if the going is tough. When the issue of 2.5 billion lost souls is considered, and God's glory tarnished by church bureaucracy and mediocrity, then there is little choice but to seek change - and to God be the glory for renewal and reformation.
AMSWER From: <NateWilson@XC.org> I'd also contact Eddie Payne--his work in teaching the Perspectives course to students at a Free Will Baptist Bible College raised up a generation of FWB missionaries raring to go to the unreached and opened up the Denomination to consider expanding beyond their focus of reached fields!
Response From: Daniel Bianchi <email@example.com> Over the last two months I was travelling in Argentina, Brasil and Paraguay for the ministry of missions. Since you all have kindly replied to my question, I thought I'd share the general outline in what I´ve been working...
Background information: The mission outreach of the Baptist Convention (BC) in Argentina for a long time had a focus on national or domestic ministry. There were neither plans nor opportunities for sending out to cross-cultural ministry. At the same time the missionary vision of the churches was slowly growing. As people responded to the calling they didn't find an open door through the mission denominational structure. Today many churches are doing their own missionary program.
Present situation: The potential is great for sending. There are churches and leaders with commitment--many opportunities for involvement and people eager to participate. At the same time the structure needs to change to an executive agency in order to fully devote efforts and strategies and resources for the sake of obeying the commission.
First steps: During the last year I had interviews with members of the executive board of the B.C. This, I did, in a one-to-one basis. Thus I had the chance to sit and share my concerns and vision for the work.