Thursday, June 17, 2010

Becoming Missional: Start Small

Often we fail to act because we may know our ultimate goal, but we have not mapped out all the steps that will get us there. We understand and appreciate the need for our church to become more missional, but we can’t articulate the plan that will get us there. We become bogged in the details. The good news is that we don’t need a well-thought-out plan to start the journey. It is more important just to do something!

Small steps can lead to great strides. Last year Jessica Jackley, co-founder of, a micro-investment program, spoke at Willow Creek Association’s Leadership Summit. In her interview with Jim Mellado, President of the WCA, she said, “Don’t be afraid to start small.” KIVA’s founders didn’t apologize for starting with just seven entrepreneurs. Jackley pointed out that you can talk all you want about an idea, but once you begin and actually do something—even if it’s small—people respond to you differently. The best way to create big change is to have the patience and attention to focus on one particular area and to serve that area as well as you can.

Where is a good point to start in your church? The beginning point may be acknowledging in some way those who are already actively involved in ministry in the community even if it is not an “official” church ministry. Another possibility is to start thinking about putting more time into people development (coaching, mentoring, instilling spiritual disciplines) than program development. Perhaps it involves getting the staff to read and discuss a book on what it means to be a missional church. It may mean identifying one thing the church is doing that is no longer needed and invest that time and energy into a new outward-focused ministry.

Our initial efforts may not show remarkable success but at least we will be moving in the right direction. We may make mistakes, but we may also discover the Spirit of God speaking to our congregation in a special way.

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