For years the church has practiced a church-centric philosophy of ministry where the goal was to create healthy members for the betterment of the church. But in recent years there has been a paradigm shift where churches are embracing the need to be mission-centric, in that the goal for the church is to create missionaries for the betterment of society and cultural transformation. In the early 90's I fully embraced the purpose driven model, of which I am still an advocate, because it is built on a solid missional principle know as modular training. But I offered a small modification to Rick Warren's concentric circles model:
- Community: Those living around your church who never, or occasionally, attend.
- Crowd: Those who attend your church regularly but are not members.
- Congregation: Those who are committed to both Christ and membership in your church family.
- Committed: Those members who are serious about growing to spiritual maturity.
- Core: Those members who actively serve in ministry and mission in your church.
- Commissioned: Those members who are sent out of the church as missionaries, church planters, pastors and change agents in our cultural.
I fully believe that Rick Warren would embrace this modification because he wrote in the Purpose Driven Church, "A church's health is measured by its sending capacity not its seating capacity. Churches are in the sending business. One of the questions we must ask in evaluating a church's health is, ‘How many people are being mobilized for the Great Commission?’"
Reggie McNeal reinforces this paradigm shift in his book, The Present Future when he writes, “The first Reformation was about freeing the church. The new Reformation is about freeing God’s people from the church (the institution). The original Reformation decentralized the church. The new Reformation decentralizes ministry.” The only way we can decentralize ministry is by seeing each member as a missionary to be sent by the church into their personal mission field.
How do you develop an equipping strategy that will create missionaries? Stephen Covey in his book, Principle-centered Leadership, provides a simple outline. He writes, “An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.” To build an effective equipping strategy you will need to answer the following questions:
What knowledge needs to be imparted and embraced?
What desires need to be championed and captured?
What skills need to be learned, practiced and mastered?
What opportunities need to be provided?
Working through each of these questions can provide focus, alignment and practical steps for effectively equiping your people in missional engagement.
Let me end this post with Rick Warren's probing question: How many people in the last year have been mobilized for the Great Commission through your church?