Monday, March 8, 2010

Mission(al) Monday: Missional Renaissance, Shift from Internal to External (Keeping Score, Part 1)

The last couple Mondays we’ve looked at what it means to shift from an internal to an external focus. It’s a great discussion, but what does it look like, practically, to be successful? The subtitle of Reggie McNeal’s Missional Renaissance is “Changing the Scorecard for the Church.” That’s what we’re looking at today. How do we change the scorecard from an internal focus (how many = attendance; how often = attendance at church events; how much = offerings) to external? Before we check out some ideas, remember these are some of McNeal’s ideas and are intended to spur on creativity, not serve as a blueprint.

A starting point is to articulate external goals and successes that are both individual and corporate: meals fed, backpacks made, community service hours logged. Note: these shouldn’t be exclusively church initiatives. Rather, they should be done in partnership with all kinds of organizations. What are some other ways we ‘keep score’?

Look for (and track) ways the congregation can be externally focused in prayer. How? Prayer walking, prayer cards for families who receive backpacks for school, community prayer times, prayer booths/boxes, prayer for the lost, praying for the community in worship services, but my favorite is prayer-scaping. One church staff sent each of their leaders to a part of their city and they were to ask God, “Help me see what you see.” It transformed their staff so much that they sent their people out on a Sunday morning to do the same thing.

This is developing a member culture and turning it into a missionary culture. For leaders this might mean making a community ministry responsibility part of their job description, limiting the number of church offices/roles one can take so there’s community time, insist that every group have an external community service component, put offices somewhere other than the church to get community connection, and make staff available to serve other organizations in the community (coaches, mentors, advises, etc…).

For congregants, publish community needs alongside church needs, adopt a school, provide training for people who want to serve the community, track volunteer hours and celebrate them, and assign people as missionaries to apartment complexes, etc … and support their mission in those places.

This is plenty to chew on. We’ll hit the rest next week.

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