HOW DO YOU START MOBILIZING A CHURCH?
Mobilization is a very critical issue in the church, especially as the goal to reach the unreached grows clearer and the mission vision of many churches grows blurred, introspectively inward and local. Mobilization agencies like Caleb Project need to develop more tools and have more access to churches, college campuses, and youth conferences. The target for mobilization should be "busters" and younger to develop as missionaries and "boomers" to develop as senders and supporters. And may the Lord give the increase to his glory.
I am sure there are other perspectives. One useful resource tool is Paul Borthwick's book, "A Mind for Missions," that presents a good primer for mobilizing the church for missions.
From: Bill Stearns < email@example.com>
There are tons of odds and ends of materials, opportunities, ideas out there. But the basic "Where do I start?" has always been a bug-a-boo. Fanatic mobilizers who just finished Perspectives advise, of course, to simply have everybody take Perspectives! Somebody who's just finished a good resource insists their resource alone or seminar or whatever will do the job. We had to wrestle with this stuff as Bob and we did Run With The Vision. What we jointly came up with was a pattern of helping fellowships...
Stage 1: no commitment->Catch The Vision
Required input: mostly breakthroughs about what God is doing globally to encourage people to lift up their eyes. No mention of the M-word ["Mission"] should occur at this stage. When enough of a fellowship start asking, "How do I find out more?"-type questions, it's time (maybe after six months or two years of drip-drip-dripping breakthroughs) for an event to move into stage two. Some of the resources to mark that "event" are A View From On High (Caleb Project), a special speaker or mobilization team presentation or A Sunday for the World (Gospel Light/World Christian)--which I just sent off to Gospel Light for their final OK before issuing a pilot version this fall, with the real, Gospel Light version coming out next April or May. This event isn't designed to get people into missions, it's to get people to 1)pray with new insight and 2) sign on for Bible study about God's global plan.
Stage 2: Build that vision--centered around resources, not ideas.
Destination 2000 video course, Catch the Vision course, A Vision for the Nations (recently announced as available from USCWM 800-MISSION) are specifically designed for this stage for adults. The Build stage for kids has lots of good stuff as well, as has been listed in Kid's Resources from Kevin Guttman et al. here on the forum. High schoolers have, as far as I know, only ACMC's "What's This Mission Thing, Anyway?--or something like that!" (Sorry for slaughtering the title, ACMC folks, I don't have it and really haven't reviewed it! But it and several denomination-specific curricula attempt to help youth build their vision in a Bible study (Sunday School) format. Good news: Kevin Johnson with Bethany House has just got a green light on a Junior High killer book we'll shape into a curriculum for this stage. Each of these resources points to other key things to help build vision--prayer training tools, other books, mag's and newsletters, etc.
Stage 3: Helping them act on the vision
--Formation of a mission accountability structure (whether pairs or triplets or home groups or a monthly mission fellowship. This is a weak area of resources; there's too much stuff on the one hand and maybe not enough excellent ongoing stuff on the other).--Formation of a structure of training and short-term involvement. (Again, there's a lot of good stuff, but I'd like to see someone in this field take accountability to provide on an ongoing basis input for churches doing short-term training and trips).--Focusing on a people. Here, finally, is where we've seen the Adopt-A-People idea fits. Great resources now exist from USCWM's AAP Campaign and the AAP Clearinghouse as well as dozens of agencies.
[This introductory process to mission] is exactly what we're doing in the upcoming "What's After October?" Seminar as well as in the "Make A Difference: Mobilizing Your Church to New Mission Vision" video training package coming out from Proclamedia and a consensus of mobilization groups.
From: Justin Long <JDavidLong@aol.com>
Start with a small cell group of interested people who can meet on a regular basis and consider ways of mobilizing the church. Individual ideas will be as varied as the individuals participating, and what works in one church may not work in another. There are plenty of simple things: conferences, events, awareness seminars, etc. But the point of the whole thing is that one has to raise the AWARENESS of the church for world missions. Anyway that this is accomplished will be good.