MISSIONS TEST 2: Means, Motive & Opportunity
Dony K. Donev, Cup & Cross Ministries International
The following World Missions series were sparked by a partial sign with the words “Missions Check,” we saw in Atlanta on our way to a mission’s trip to Europe just a weeks after the great tornado of 2011. We’ve observed the events that followed for over a year now, thus launching these series with a purpose. After serving in various ministry positions around the globe as a part of the Church of God for over 20 years, we have built a solid platform as a response to current problems and issues on the mission filed. In the past seven years alone, our ministry team has survived several consecutive denominational splits, and coming on the other side still preaching Jesus Christ and Him risen, this is what we have to state…
In times of hardships, when every church, family and person are tested and tried, missions must remain the front line of our church, the harbor for the lost and the heartbeat of God within us. In fact, missions are the only spiritual process that keeps a church alive during crises. For without a heartbeat after the Heart of God, a church is simply dead and dying…
But how do we know if our church is indeed missional and not mission-minded in name only? How do we know if we pass the MISSIONS TEST? Here are several guidelines:
(1) MEANS: Follow the Money
They did in the book of Acts right when the first mission wave in the early church was gaining speed. Literally! And while money is not the foundation of missions, merely its means to accomplish the plan of God, it sure helps to have it when you are in the mission field (speaking of one’s own experience).
The transparent report of church’s finances show a lot about the church itself. If the larger flow of finances is pointed inward, being used for church and family only, your church is not missional. To put it simple, the moment you vote to decrease money for missions, you are decreasing the mission’s outreach of your church – how far your church reaches with its mission. Yes, overspending must be always eliminated and smart stewardship of any missional budget is essential, but they should never alter the flow of finances to missions toward the internal needs of the church; because the rerouting back to the intended recipient will be virtually impossible. For such shift inevitably affects not just numbers and members, but the very ecclesial identity redefining the church from a missional extravert to a cognitive introvert congregation.
(2) MOTIVE: Follow the Structure
The missional structure of a church is initially invoked by an internal, organic, process of motivation produced by our very identity as a people of God. Prominent psychologists today tell us that the internal motivation is that pure, primitive, productive force which drives us from within. And it is no different in missions, where a fine line between calling and career is drawn. For once Missio Dei becomes a professional occupation for a primary payout, the point of missions has already been lost. And if the point of existence for a church structure is not the mission to the world, the church is probably not fit for the Kingdom. So Jesus told the rich young ruler.
A lesson learned from the drying banks of Rio Grande. We can trim a river, direct it and guide it to serve our needs, to produce power for electricity, to provide watering for farming, but it will soon loose its God given source of internal power to flow and will dry out. Altering the natural structure of missions if and when needed, must be done with the understanding that it may ultimately dry it out from within. Therefore, changes in the structure and praxis of missions should only be driven by a return to the first, primary model invoked by the search of God’s heart for lost men and under the direct leadership of the Holy Spirit.
(3) OPPROTUNITY: Follow the Spirit
Spiritual power comes from one source only – prayer in the Spirit. Spiritual power for missions must be prayed for, waited for, expected and exercised, anticipated and acted upon. And while individual prayer affects both the person and the church, nothing moves the Heavens like the continuous, corporate prayer of a congregation. This is what we learn from the day of Pentecost. And based on this, is the true test for mission readiness: The last time you had a church wide meeting, with the sole purpose to pray for the missionaries you’ve sent, is the moment your church ceased being missional. For being missional is “not an act, but a habit” – not a price, but a process. And not a single goal, but one constant going and striving toward the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
As a partner in the Great Commission, our church must carry a message, not merely a political involvement or social concern, but of a spiritual message, both in origin and in practice. For if you preach what you’ve not prayed through, you preach nothing but yourself. And if you have no message to share with the world, your mission endeavor is but a religious vacation to a foreign land. Therefore, our prayer for missions is foremost one constant call to the Spirit for new opportunities in the harvest. For it is ultimately God, who creates the opportunity of Missio Dei as His severing plan for saving the world. And if a church is to follow the call to be missional, it must abide in a relationship with God – the visionary, initiator and empowerer of missions. (Mission Ready, 2014)
Missions Test 1: Mission, Method & Message (2012)
MISSIONS TEST 3: Missionary Testament (2012)
MissionSHIFT (Part 1): Paradoxes in Missions (2011)
MissionSHIFT (Part 2): Free Will Missions (2011)
MissionSHIFT (Part 3): WebMissions – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (2011)
M3: Missions for the Third Millennium – A Public Position (2010)
8 Simple Rules for Doing Missions in the Spirit (2009)
Church of God Eastern Europe Missions: Leadership, Economics and Culture (2009)
Read also: Why I decided to publish Pentecostal Primitivism?
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