Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The role of the local church in missions?

Two thousand years ago, Jesus gave the mandate to make disciples of all nations. God's people, the church, were given the responsibility to take the good news of the kingdom to every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. These days the majority of missionaries get screened, trained, and deployed by missions agencies or organizations. Most churches have been working off of a pardigm that says "send off" rather than "send out". There has been a strong trend of "outsourcing" missions work to agencies and organizations, but there is a little bit of a rumbling in the Christian world and things may be changing...

Some friends of ours at LifePoint Church had a meeting with the International Mission Board (IMB) last week to cast their vision for the "sending church model". Basically, they are asking about a fundamental switch in missions strategy. What if instead of us sending our people to the IMB (or any other missions agency) to get equipped and sent out, the IMB (and other missions agencies) came alongside of the church by providing training and resources to help congregations send out their own church planting teams to serve among the nations.

The P.E.A.C.E. Plan out of Saddleback has a very simlar vision in that they want to send out small groups of people from local churches to help fulfill the Great Commission and tackle some of the giant problems in our world without the need for a missions organization to be "the middle man". How about you? What do you think is a healthy relationship between mission agencies and local churches? Are there any models that would work for house churches, traditional churches, and megachurches alike?

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