The mark of a great church isn’t its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. This phrase struck me. It goes right along with the Great Commission – to go. It also falls in line with the trend to build smaller worship venues with multiple services and campuses.
You don’t have to be a big church to send people into ministry. Any church can have significant influence by having a “sending” mindset.
Part of being a sending church is to grow in the idea. Maybe you never thought about being a sending church. Maybe you are a sending church and haven’t celebrated it. Our job, as the church, is to make disciples. One way to do this is by sending folks into ministry to all the world.
Here are 12 ideas for increasing your sending capacity:
1. Help Plant Another Church
Is there a seed of desire in your congregation to plant another church? If so, begin the process. Pinpoint leaders and a core group who will go and make it happen. Pray for the timing, funding, possibilities, and go for it. This is a major step, but I read a study that said that churches around the 200 mark are as likely and able to birth another church as a larger congregation. We have seen the mother congregation grow in new ways when we send people off to start new churches or new services in others places. You can’t outgive God. Beginning a new church is one of the best and most effective methods of reaching people.
2. Send People Into Missions
People are being called to serve on the mission field all the time and we need more. Is someone in your congregation sensing the call to serve in missions? Is someone preparing to go? Send them out with lots of support. If no one in your congregation is called, pinpoint a missionary with whom you have a relationship and go over the top. Fill their needs. Send them off with a bang. Support like crazy. In doing this, you are sending and making a difference.
3. Send Students and Young Adults on Mission Trips
You may not be sending people out as full-time missionaries, but you can send students, young adults, and others on short-term mission experiences. Create these opportunities on a regular basis and celebrate them. Sending people to serve is one great way to increase their awareness of God’s presence at work in their lives and in the world.
4. Send Someone Into Ministry
Pray for students and adults to be called into ministry. Help pay seminary costs for students from your church. Share your ministry leaders with other churches in the region who may need an occasional special guest leader. By raising up and supporting ministry leaders, you are influencing churches in ways you will never know. Like the old saying goes, “Wise people plant trees, under whose shade they do not expect to sit.”
5. Send Students to College With Support, Accountability, and Love
The church can be a vital part of the important transition from high school to college. Send your students off with prayer, thankfulness, love, and accountability. Visit them. Encourage them to stay faithful to Christ. Help connect them to Christian life on campus. Send money and care packages from the church. Make a big deal when they come home.
6. Remind the Church They are Missionaries in Their Workplaces
Each day, Christians are sent to their respective opportunities to live out their faith. All of life is an open door for following Christ, modeling the life of a disciple, and sharing God’s love. Every day when we leave the house to work, teach, lead, serve, and take part in our regular lives, we are the hands of feet of Christ.
7. Help Start a New Service or Church Campus
Maybe your church needs to start a new service or another campus through your church. Organize it well and send people to help make it happen.
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8. Send Teams to Serve in the Community
Every community needs to know the church is alive. Send teams to be in parades, pass out fliers, help during community events, and be present. Send teams to help with community clean-up days, pick up trash, do prayer walks around town, and other projects. Send people to show God’s love through acts of kindness and service to others. Our church sends volunteer hospitality hosts who serve refreshments and drinks at the Santa House in town. Another local church sends volunteers to a nearby biking/hiking trail to pass out bottled water and bananas.
9. Send Leaders to Begin Small Groups and Bible Studies in Their Homes
I once heard a leader quip that the church has more than enough Sunday School space when you count every church member’s living room. Send out leaders to host groups in their homes. The church grows when leaders are sent to teach the Bible, host community groups, and connect with friends and neighbors in their homes.
10. Send Care Teams to Visit Hospitals, Care Centers, and Shut-Ins
Send out teams to serve in pastoral care. Discover and develop people in your church who have a gift of compassion, and time to visit and care for others. Send them out to be Jesus to shut-ins and those in the hospitals or care centers.
11. Send People to Begin Community Ministries
Is there a food bank or clothing thrift store in your city? Send people to be involved. The church truly leads the way for ministries that offer compassion to those in need. If you don’t have a food bank, send someone out to get one started. What other ministries might need to be started in your region? Consider services such as counseling, financial training, and others.
12. Send Work and Cleanup Teams after Natural Disasters
Send people to volunteer through organizations involved in responding to natural disasters, such as church denominations or the Red Cross. Working through an organization ensures your team provides the kind of help that is needed and are trained to serve with their safety in mind. This is one tangible way to be a sending church and provides a way to serve for people who want to show God’s love and don’t feel like they have anything to offer in the way of speaking or leading.
No matter how you send people, don’t wait too long. You’ll never go if you’re waiting for people in your church to be perfect. God has long used imperfect people, imperfect planning, imperfect timing, and imperfect situations to bring about His perfect will. Grow in your sending mindset. Be a sending church.
A Word to Those Called to Ministry
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