The Church as Missionary: A Global Networking Dialogue
January 12, 13, 2009-St. Louis, MO
The world is changing. Actually, it has already changed several times over in the past decade or two. Technology and globalization are creating quantum change instead of the linear progression of generations past. But, when it comes to the local church and mission, things plod along as they have for decades. Many churches still primarily engage in mission through sending their dollars off to a denominational agency or parachurch ministry while their own people remain passive in the task that God has given them. With the world nearing 7 billion people, the rise of the indigenous Church of the global South, and America emerging as one of the greatest mission fields in the world, we believe that the local church has a more vital role to play now than ever before in proclaiming and living out the gospel, both globally and locally. It seems, though, that few churches really step into the purpose of God in this area. What if local churches networked together to pray and find out where God was working, share opportunities and best practices, and encourage one another along in their God-given task? What if the Church became the missionary, instead of farming out our calling to others? What if we partnered together to directly engage in global missions and domestic church planting?
Some of us believe that this is possible. We believe that God is igniting the local church to step to the forefront of His work in the world. Each local church has gifts, talents, vision, and people who are already engaged in the world around them. Each Christian and church has a God-given purpose to fulfill. What if a network formed that encouraged each participating church in the task of impacting the world globally and locally by maximizing what is already happening the lives of the people in our churches? If churches in the network partnered together to share vision, people, and resources to impact lostness, couldn’t we do far more together as the engaged people of God to transform the world, than we could separately? We’d love to join with some other folks who are thinking about the same things.
On January 12-13 in St. Louis, MO, a group of pastors, leaders, and thinkers, will come together to engage in guided discussion regarding the possibility of networking to specifically engage in global and local mission by putting the local church on the forefront of the task God has given us: discipling nations. Some of us are Southern Baptists. We have our own missions agencies and cooperative giving program. This is not meant to take away from that, but we recognize that just sending money to denominational agencies and passively waiting for them to initiate work will do little to fulfill the Great Commission. Local churches must be engaged in the task in a more direct way. We’re thinking that we would be more effective at that if we partnered with others.
We are specifically inviting you to join a few dozen leaders to engage with this concept and see if God is wanting to link some folks together to help one another become more effective. This is not about starting an organization or collecting money-the last thing we need is more bureaucracy. If this goes well, the local church will be at the forefront and the network will exist in the shadows. We don’t have a name for what we are wanting to do. We might just call it, “that missional thing.” But, we believe that God is up to something and if we can help one another engage the world more effectively, then we will have accomplished our task.
This is not a standard conference or seminar where a lineup of speakers download terabytes of information to process later. Discussion initiators will be brief and on point leading to dialogues directly related to network building. Real value will be added to your ministry objectives and church mission as a result of your participation.
If this resonates with your heart, plan to be in St. Louis so that together we can help one another move our churches to the front line of Kingdom work in this world!
For more information, please leave your email address in the comment section (use this format: name[at]provider[dot]com to avoid spambots). You will be contacted in short order.
Grace and Peace,
Marty Duren, Lead Pastor
New Bethany Baptist Church
Alan Cross, Pastor
Gateway Baptist Church