Church was never meant to be just a place where people gather for religious ceremonies. Neither was it designed to be a club where members try to protect the status quo. Church should be a dynamic place, where people encounter God, grow closer to Him, and reach out to others. In short, your church should be on a mission to make authentic disciples of Jesus.

 

No matter how many activities you offer at your church, if they’re not focused outward to draw new people in, you’re not on the mission God wants you to be. Here’s how your church can go from being isolated to being engaged in the world as a missional church:

 

Dream bigger dreams. Stop focusing just on just maintaining a reasonable existence as a church. Realize that your church is sent into the world to be an image bearer of God. Ask God to renew your excitement about your church. Ask Him to give you the courage and vision to see beyond mere survival to how your church can thrive.

 

Be flexible. Expect change, and even welcome it. Know that change is a powerful tool God can use to help everyone in your congregation grow. Be willing to adapt to the needs of new people who come to your church, communicating God’s timeless Gospel in fresh and creative ways.

 

Discern the difference between simply a mission-minded church and a truly missional church: While mission-minded church emphasizes sending and supporting missionaries, a missional church emphasizes being a mission field and doing mission work. A mission-minded church is representative, but a missional church is participative. A mission-minded church perceives mission merely as one expression of its ministry, but a missional church perceives mission as the essence of its existence.

 

Get to know your community. Compare your church population with that of your surrounding community to assess your church’s current effectiveness in penetrating its mission field. Learn what needs community members have, and decide to offer your church’s resources to help meet them.

 

Ask some members some key questions. Enlist some members of your congregation (preferably a mix of newer and older members, and including at least one youth and one young adult). Then ask them to respond to these questions: “How does your church help you be transformed into the image of Christ?”, “Through which means does our church prepare you to carry out God’s mission?”, and “How does our church best glorify God?”. Discuss their answers, and brainstorm how disciples can transfer their learning, skills, insights, and values into the world and how they can bring experiences and skills from the world into the church.