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Five Steps to Global Mission

Do you or does someone in your church want to get started in mission? Summer and fall are the perfect time to begin planning a parish, deanery or diocesan mission initiative for next year. Here are some practical steps to help you begin:

  1. It’s All About Relationship:
    • Do you have an interest in a particular part of the world, or does a member of your parish or diocese have an international connection? This may be the perfect starting point for engaging in mission.
    • Explore whether there is an adult missionary or Young Adult Service Corps member from your area, either currently serving or returned, who might be able to connect you.
    • Does your bishop have a particular interest in an area or a relationship with another bishop or diocese that might be seeking a companionship?
    • If you do not already have a target location in mind, check our Organizational Partners Page for a list of established mission organizations that will be happy to connect and advise you regarding opportunities in their region
    • Focus primarily on relationship development and accompaniment rather than project-orientation or material assistance until a companionship is solidly established.
    • Don’t forget to consider regions (such as the UK, Europe or Australasia) which are not economically disadvantaged but which might deeply value a unique mission relationship with you.
    • As with any relationship, plan on giving it time to develop, with a priority on learning about each other’s lives, stories, families, history and dreams.

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  2. Baby Steps:
    • It can be daunting (or even unrealistic) to try to pull together a large mission team bound for a new destination – and that’s OK! It’s best to start slowly and build a mission program taking the long view.
    • A very successful approach can be to send a person or small delegation to explore the new area, learn about the gifts and challenges of the people there, and establish a few key relationships.
    • There are also numerous established mission organizations (Organizational Partners) who facilitate short-term mission trips, or who can match you with a team headed to your area of interest.
    • A significant part of global mission is educating and preparing your own parish – particularly if this is its first experience with mission. Participating as a church in hands-on local or regional ministries can serve to nurture a church’s ability to extend beyond its “comfort zone” and gain confidence in new situations closer to home.
    • Always remember that any effort to reach across boundaries of difference advances God’s mission of Reconciliation – no matter how small, how distant, or how you perceive its success or level of significance.
  3. Maximize Your Network of Engagement:
    • It is important to think of global mission as a community rather than individual effort over the long term. Together, we are all being reconciled to both God and our neighbor.
    • Mission is both global and local. Mission is at the core of our faith, and understanding the theology and practice of mission is just as critical to our own parish’s faith formation as it is to our companion’s parish.
    • Although not everyone is called to be a long-term missionary or even to travel on a short-term pilgrimage or mission trip, there are myriads of ways in which everyone can participate at his or her own level and thus experience the transformation of engaging in cross-cultural mission.
    • Seeking ways to engage your parish or diocese across multiple ministries and age levels is the most effective way to build enthusiasm and support for mission, as well as a great way to create community dialogue.
    • Are there creative ways that you can connect your Sunday School, Youth Group, Vestry, senior parishioners, Choir, Altar Guild or Mission Committee with a global mission initiative?
    • Are there nearby churches, clergy, schools or community organizations that might want to partner with you in mission?
    • How might you extend global mission engagement in some way to every member of your church or even diocese, making it an essential part of each person’s formation and faith journey?

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  4. Focus on Mutuality and Communication:
    • Every church in every context is engaging in a unique ministry with its local community. Be particularly intentional about discovering and naming the gifts, passions and ministries of your prospective mission companion.
    • Although the needs of the companion church or diocese may be extremely apparent to all, that should not be your primary focus. Every church has God-given gifts of which it can be proud and which should be celebrated. The poorest parish may have the most vibrant youth program, outstanding music, inspired preaching, or life-altering ministry.
    • Seek common ministries in both of your church contexts around which you might build a relationship. Do you have a common focus on education, youth, food security, health or environmental ministry? Can you find ways to create shared or complementary ministry?
    • No one wants to be on the receiving end of a relationship at all times, including your mission partner. Find ways for them to share their youth ministry secrets, their community-building expertise, their best sermons, or their life of prayer and willingness to participate on your prayer team.
    • As you establish relationship, how might you leverage technology to facilitate communication with prospective mission companions, including Facebook groups, Skype, email, a shared website, blog or social media account?
    • How can you be intentional and structured in developing, maintaining and extending relationships with your prospective mission partner?
    • Give particular thought to how you might invite and host your mission companions as well as send visiting teams, and find ways to include them in your own parish life.

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  5. Make a Mission Plan:
    • Make a concrete mission plan for the year, including month-by-month goals or steps.
    • Assemble ideas and a list of the specific ways in which you might begin to establish relationships in a particular part of the world.
    • Try starting a mission book club, and read inspirational works such as “Going Global with God” by Titus Presler, “Grace at the Garbage Dump” by Jesse Zink, or “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. See our Global Mission Bookshelf for more ideas.
    • Show a movie that will spark discussion about mission or invite a relevant speaker who can educate and energize the parish.
    • Observe where the parish or diocese has energy for mission. Hand-pick a group of mission advocates who can help to brainstorm, organize, promote and fundraise for mission.
    • Your plan should include a number of ways to bring back mission stories and experiences to your home parish, community or diocese on an ongoing basis. Spotlight individuals and particular ministries that are compelling, using photos or video. Find a way to make it personal, relevant and engaging for them, drawing them into the relationship.

Engaging in mission and building companionship across cultural boundaries requires that we seek relationship first, and that we trust in the slow work of God. It is this work that brings deep and lasting transformation as we encounter Christ in the world. At GEMN we hope that you, and those around you, will experience this transformation in the form of new inspiration and energized ministry as you step out in mission.

Proclaim, Inspire, Ignite the Joy of God's Mission