Recently, I sat down with a pastor who wasn’t sure where to head with his church’s missions strategy.
“I know God is calling my church into missions, but we don’t have a missions pastor on staff,” he said. “I don’t even know where to start.”
My pastor friend is not alone in his predicament. Many church leaders contact my colleagues and me with similar thoughts.
- “My church wants to add a partnership in Africa, but I don’t have time to manage a new missions project.”
- “How can we involve our whole congregation in global missions without a missions pastor on staff?”
- “We need a global strategy that complements our local outreach.”
These are the kinds of questions that I think about, too, but in a different way. As a para-church organization, Food for the Hungry (FH) works alongside local churches. We are always asking how we can come alongside United States (U.S.) churches in fulfilling the Great Commission.
- How can we facilitate partnerships where churches serve in ministry to the poor without getting bogged down by the details of organizing?
- What do churches need in order to succeed in their mission partnerships?
I’ve found that the answer lies in listening. We listen to American churches, who tell us how God has uniquely called and gifted them to serve the poor. We also listen to vulnerable people in the countries where we serve. They tell us about their God-given dreams for the future, and what they need to get there. Finally, we listen to God as He leads us in facilitating these partnerships.
I told my pastor friend that he didn’t need to hire a missions pastor in order to get serious about global missions as a church. He took the country profiles that I offered him, and now he’s praying about which country he’ll visit with us this fall.