Adding Action to Mission Courses
Copyright © by George Patterson
“I have finished learning about missions.
What should I do next?”
After learning about missions in ‘Perspectives’ or similar
courses, students often ask how to apply what they learned. Sending churches,
instructors, organizations and field workers can take actions like these.
Course coordinators in
churches, schools and mission conferences create a ‘launching pad.’ Mission course coordinators urge all
participants not only to learn or teach, but also to help launch the real
work that alumni are only beginning when the course ends. Alumni or their volunteer
helpers, who receive guidance from course coordinators, keep moving and
influencing others to fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. Without guidance
few alumni stay focused on strategic and reproductive mission work.
Instructors link theory to action, always. Patterson recalls a fictitious tale that
portrayed a savage splitting a soldier’s skull with a hatchet. “The soldier
kept fighting bravely for several agonizing moments with the embedded hatchet
neatly dividing his brain in two!” Do mission instructors split brains? Do we
pour data into one part of a student’s mind to be stored, without linking it
to the part that moves muscles in purposeful activity? Let us remove the
hatchet by helping students to define action plans for every applicable item that
we teach. Let us not only load the truck but also start the motor!
preferably in partnership with culturally-near workers. Then, they plan to
take action to reach them. This may require research.
missionary trainees and volunteers who help with mobilization form small
mission activity cells.
Form (or reform) a small group in a sending church — or among several
churches — pray, plan, and practice skills needed to carry out any of these
activities that apply:
- Secure and enhance staff support and zeal, without which little can be done.
- Integrate mission into congregational plans, prayers and budget.
- Provide materials and information for churches, agencies and field workers.
- Provide brief, poignant reports to pastors, to announce to the congregation.
Perspectives or similar
mission courses, among churches.
- Prepare church planters to work where authorities are hostile. Let the
cell be a tiny training church that does all the ministries that the New
Testament requires of a church.
skills needed to worship, teach, evangelize, train leaders and organize
in a different culture. (New missionaries on the field seldom do what they
have read in books or heard in lectures; they mostly do what they have done before, in their home
church.) Skills that need practice may include:
Integrating evangelism, church development and mercy
Evangelizing through families and networks of
Organizing so that believers and congregations
serve one another.
Interacting with highly relational small group
Including children as active participants in worship and
Building a foundation of obedience to Jesus’ commands.
Adapting worship, including Communion, to tiny groups.
Mentoring leaders the way the apostles did, to
acquisition and bonding in love with the people and
To download free training materials on these topics, visit
To obtain proven materials on learning a language and bonding
with a people group, visit
Mentors in churches and agencies mobilize bi-vocational
‘tentmakers’ who support themselves (without merely pretending to do so).
- Most of the
remaining neglected people groups (about 1/3 of the world’s population)
live where authorities ban professional missionaries. The Lord uses
workers like Aquila and Priscilla who have vocations that
- Consult with
Christian businessmen and other experienced persons who might advise and
expedite the small businesses or other viable vocations.
Students gather at the end of the course to agree on
a final objective toward which all activities move, to
harmonize the focus of workers at home and abroad.
- Find resources to
train pastors while planting churches
- “Come, Let Us Disciple
the Nations,” an interactive CD-ROM missionary training course, can be
downloaded from <http://www.AcquireWisdom.com>.
- Here is a sample statement
of final objectives, with explanations:
Our final objective: Indigenous churches1 multiplying2 within a people group3 that is currently neglected, receptive and reachable4, led by local leaders at all levels5, obeying Christ6 and doing the ministries that are required by the New Testament7.
Explanation of the above Statement of Objectives
churches” = congregations of any
size of genuinely-repentant believers in Jesus (not mere ‘preaching points’
or ministries operating outside of the Body of Christ), rooted in the culture
of the field and sustained by nationals without outside funds or control. Exceptions
include emergency relief and specialized ministries. Related activities might
include the following:
enlist prayer partners to intercede for a specific, unreached people
- Missionary trainees in big cities seek to work with people of the
same culture, if possible, before they go to the field.
- Sending churches and agencies 1) Send short-term workers to gather
information and prepare for more serious work. 2) Include on teams field
workers who are culturally near to the adopted people. If culturally-distant
workers present Christ initially, they can stigmatize Jesus as foreign
and stifle the work for years.
- Missionaries 1) practice and impart to national workers culturally relevant
methods and appropriate technology that allow churches to multiply
without outside funds or control. 2) Teach Christian stewardship to
national believers from the beginning.
- National leaders quickly take the initiative and responsibility
for leading their flocks, coordinating regional work and training newer
= national churches reproducing in daughter churches in a church planting
movement, with the Holy Spirit's power, as illustrated by Jesus in Mark
- Missionary trainees 1) practice
multiplying small groups. 2) Carry their church's spiritual
DNA to reproduce daughter and grand daughter churches on the field. 3)
Equip new national churches to reproduce rapidly.
- Sending Churches 1) pray fervently for workers and people who
need Jesus. 2) Commission with laying on of hands, praying for the Holy
- Emergency relief and development workers initiate such movements by integrating mercy
ministry with evangelism, church planting and leadership training.
- National workers participate in planning to phase out outside
help and control.
- For guidelines: Church Multiplication Guide,
Patterson and Scoggins.
a people group” = the largest number of people among whom the gospel can
spread unhindered by barriers of government, economic differences,
worldviews, race, mountains or anything else that might stop the flow.
- Sending Churches 1) work with mission organization that shares
the objective. Avoid selecting an agency simply because it is familiar.
2) Recruit workers who will see the task through to completion.
- Missionaries avoid destroying cultures by forcing them to mix in ways that
cancel out weaker cultures.
4 “That is currently neglected, receptive and
reachable = lacking a
movement capable of reaching a receptive people group for which your
organization has the means to initiate.
- Sending churches gather information to send workers where these
- Field workers ‘shake the dust’ (leave a neighborhood) if
people fail to respond to Jesus in a reasonable time. Most workers who
do this do not have to change their place of residence but simply shift
down to a lower economic level or sub-culture. Caution: lack of bonding
by missionaries causes most failures, not rejection of Jesus.
by Local Leaders at all levels” = nationals of the local culture lead the
- At first outside
workers train, mentor and model vital skills for new leaders, in a way
that the new leaders can easily repeat as they mentor newer leaders in
their congregation and in daughter churches, as seen in 2 Timothy
- Classroom teaching
alone does not achieve this type of reproductive mentoring.
- Arrange for Bible
translation if needed.
- Demonstrate humble
servant leadership for nationals who serve as regional overseers.
- For help to train
leaders and multiplies churches, see
Christ” = making disciples the way Jesus said, by teaching them to obey
all of Jesus' commands (His Great Commission, Matt. 28:18-20).
- New believers do all that our Lord Jesus Christ commands, like the first
church in Jerusalem did in Acts 2. The first 3,000 converts right
away repented, were baptized, prayed, broke bread (Communion), learned
and applied the Word, witnessed, gave generously, served the needy and
fellowshipped with fervent love.
- Church planters make disciples the way Jesus said, and
normally churches will multiply.
7 “Doing the ministries that are required by
the New Testament” = naming
and equipping elders to tend to what is still lacking in the new churches, as Paul told Titus to do.
- Sending churches let missionary
trainees practice all ministries that the New Testament requires of
a church. On the field these workers pass the skills on to national pastors.
- These essential ministries include: Evangelism — Prayer, healing,
family devotions and spiritual warfare — Stewardship —Counseling people
with personal or family problems — Strengthening marriage and family
life — Correcting and restoring offenders — Caring for the needy —
Teaching, applying the Word, training shepherds, mentoring — Organizing
so that all members participate in gift-based ministries — Fellowship
within and between church bodies — Watching over the spiritual life of
the flock, warding off wolves — Group worship — Reproducing daughter
churches — Training and sending workers to neglected regions.
- For help: Download Developing
Christian Community free from…
< http://www.MentorAndMultiply.com > item #