Values in a church’s mission strategy

August 25th, 2014 by

compassIn developing a ministry strategy, remember that it is as important to identify ministries that you’ll avoid as well as ministries that you’ll develop. Too often the good is a distraction for the best. Below is some food for thought for missions pastors and missions committees:



  • We recognize differences in access to the Gospel and prefer working among unreached people groups rather than focusing generally on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or the Caribbean.
  • We recognize a comprehensive strategy to reach a community through churches and prefer working through ministries that emphasize church planting rather than para-church ministries, ministries that have little connection with local churches, or impersonal, project-oriented ministry.
  • We recognize issues of cultural distances and prioritize church planters and other ministers who are culturally close to the UPG culturally rather than culturally distant.
  • We recognize the importance of cultural understanding and prefer doing the hard work of finding and partnering with local ministers who have solid language and cultural skills rather than through ministries that have key decision makers, ministry leaders, or teachers who don’t know any of the language nor have ever lived among the UPG. We don’t expect to impact a UPG by sending volunteers for a few days each year even though this may make people feel more involved.
  • We recognize the importance of longevity and prefer organizations with years of solid experience rather than start-ups that are still untested and in the learning process. This is especially true of start-ups led by people with no experience in that context or in that ministry.
  • We recognize the importance of the local church leadership and prefer working with and through local churches for ministry rather than working independently of local churches.
  • We recognize the importance of financial stewardship and prefer clear financial accountability rather than sending money to people or organizations because their leadership seems trustworthy and because the need is so great.
  • We recognize the risk of financial based relationships and prefer to connect with people relationally with local believer involvement rather than through primarily focusing on meeting their physical needs.
  • We recognize issues of dependence and prefer working with partners who also contribute to the project financially.
  • We recognize the importance of extending and multiplying ministry through partnerships with other churches and prefer doing all we can to extend the ministry through partnership with other similar churches rather than working independently.

Have anything to add or modify?

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Is it Possible? Three-minute video update of Baptist Convention of Iowa

August 21st, 2014 by


Below is the video that we prepared to promote the Week of Prayer for Missions in Iowa, September 7-15. More information here.


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Watch this church planting update… two more churches this year!

October 20th, 2013 by

Rejoicing that since 2008 we’ve invested some of our best staff members, lots of time, and about a million dollars; God has given six new churches with around 2000 worshippers!

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Best Flashmob Video…

August 29th, 2013 by

We used to sing this often together as a family when our children were young… I dare you to watch the video and not experience joy!

  1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
    God of glory, Lord of love;
    Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
    Op’ning to the sun above.
    Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
    Drive the dark of doubt away;
    Giver of immortal gladness,
    Fill us with the light of day! (more…)
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Map showing the density of population in southeast Asia

August 28th, 2013 by

Map: More than half of humanity lives within this circle


See full article here.

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Church Planting in Iowa, year six… analysis of next location

August 27th, 2013 by

3C Network iowa church planting cornerstone

Places where we’ve started:

Ames, Story County
Waukee, Dallas County
Iowa City, Johnson County
Indianola, Warren County
Ankeny, Polk County
Cedar Rapids, Linn County
Cedar Falls, Blackhawk County




First steps toward picking next locations… other information like local church status, existing relationships, affinity of church planters, etc. needs to be investigated further.

Based on city population growth, new places to consider:

  • North Liberty, Marion, or Coralville which are in the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids area may already have access to one of these two churches.
  • Johnston, Altoona, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and Clive; suburbs of Des Moines may be a place for a new church or multi-site of Cornerstone of Ames/Ankeny, Westwind of Waukee, or New Heights in Indianola


Based on metro area population size, new places to consider: 

  • Dubuque


Based on county population growth, new places to consider:

  • Madison County (Winterset)


Based on County Size, new places to consider:

  • Scott (Davenport)
  • Woodbury (Sioux City)


Based on college student population above 10,000, new places to consider: 

  • Sioux City


Data Tables:  (more…)

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Our church’s guidelines for giving grants for adoption

August 26th, 2013 by

Because want to encourage families who are adopting our church contributes financially to the family to offset adoption costs. In the last three years we have given more than $100,000 from our missions funds to support families from our church who have adopted more than twenty children. Below are the guidelines:

Cornerstone will offer up to $15,000 per child to qualified families to assist with adoption expenses for international adoption and $10,000 for domestic adoption in 2013. To get the full amount, families are expected to raise $10,000 for international adoptions ($7500 for domestic) of the funds from family, close friends, and their connection group. These funds will often come from outside of the Cornerstone family and should not replace regular contributions to Cornerstone’s general fund. The other half of the funds will come from Cornerstone’s missions account.

To be a “qualified family”, you will have a conversation with the missions pastor before fundraising can begin, normally about six months before the adoption is complete. He will ask questions about your membership at Cornerstone and your current Celebration, Connection, and Contribution practices; these funds are for those who are fully engaged at Cornerstone. The funds from Cornerstone’s missions budget will be available either after the adoption process is finished or at a point near the end of the process where it is nearly certain that the adoption will be final. Additional funds raised by families will be available earlier, whenever needed.

Families can ask donors to make checks payable to Cornerstone Church and designate the funds to the adoption account. They can also suggest which family they would like the funds to be given to. If a family raises more than $10,000/$7500 per child, the excess funds will remain in the adoption account for other families. If a family doesn’t raise support, Cornerstone will still offer $2500 or (or $5000 for international) per child as a grant for the adoption expenses. If for some reason the adoption falls through, any unused funds will not be returned to the donor, but will remain in the account and used for other adoptions.

What would you change? Does your church have a different practice?

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Friday book review: Basic Christianity by John Stott

August 23rd, 2013 by

basic christianity john stottYou have a few more days to download the audio version of Basic Christianity by John Stott.  I just finished listening to it and appreciated Stott’s ability to explain the essential themes of Christianity in a reasoned way that both a seasoned believer and a new explorer will gain in knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for the reality of Jesus Christ.

You can download the 4.75 hour book for free here from or buy the book for yourself or a friend with the link below.




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Shepherding a parent’s heart when it comes to their child’s mission trip

August 22nd, 2013 by

worried parent mission tripA site commenter recently asked, “I would like to ask others how they involve parents in the sending out of their children, whether it be a short-term trip or a short internship? I’m sure I am not the only one who notices that the biggest thing that keeps students or young people from answering God’s call to missions, is their parents.”

This is a good observation. I am aware of more than one case when a parent canceled a trip for their adult (college student) child because of perceived danger. How can we help parents?


We let parents know that we are working with known and trusted field partners. Include a photo of the field partner and his children playing with nationals. This communicates that a family with little children feels safe and that for the most part, people of that country are people not terrorists. Let parents know that the field partner cares about the volunteers and will actively work to keep them safe.

We let them know that we are watching the situation and will cancel or shorten the trip if the situation warrants it. We also care for the people on the trip and are active in monitoring the situation and ready to act if necessary. We want parents to know that we know this isn’t a game, it is serious business. (more…)

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A nine-minute video summary of the status of Christianity around the world

August 21st, 2013 by

Gina Bellofatto – The State of the World – Lausanne Global Leadership Forum

For the summary report go here. From the report:

Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020: Society, Religion, and Mission illustrates that fundamental shifts in the demographics of global Christianity and religion are continuing into the 21st century.  Christianity is still growing rapidly in the global South, but in many places Christians still have little interaction with adherents of other world religions.

For the full report, “Christianity in Its Global Context” go here.

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How much financial support should our church give each missionary?

August 19th, 2013 by

Someone asked me recently what our church did to fund missionaries. I started talking about qualifications and strategy when he stopped me and asked for specific help in determining the dollar amounts to give to missionaries.

Allocating church mission funds is one of the main jobs of mission committees in smaller churches. The first step in evaluating this process is to take the names of the missionaries that you are funding off the list and determine the church’s values in allocating these funds. If you were starting over, what types of missionaries would you fund and why? Then add the names back on the list and adjust the amounts given to better reflect your church’s values. Let’s assume that a church decided to regard 20% of a missionaries support of $5000 per month ($1000) as their “full” support goal for each person.

I think it is reasonable to give different amounts to each missionary. In nearly every business, organization, or even church the staff all make different salaries; it is acceptable to give different amounts to each missionary. The problem is that these decision are often made by committees that don’t like conflict so they look for ways to make these decisions as easily as possible. Resist the temptation to make missionary support one-size-fits-all because you don’t like uncomfortable conversations.

Here is what our church does: (more…)

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Friday Book Review: Unfinished: Believing Is Only the Beginning by Richard Stearns, 4 Stars

August 16th, 2013 by

unfinished richard stearns world visionUnfinished refers to the work of Jesus Christ on earth. The New Testament describes the expansion of the kingdom of God through the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. The work of reaching the nations is still unfinished.

The kingdom of God as launched by Jesus is a reality for a new way of living. In the kingdom of God the values of the world are turned upside down. Every citizen in the kingdom is loved and valued. The rich share with the poor. The healthy care for the sick. The strong protects the weak.  The good news of Jesus is proclaimed. The result is that people from all nations are drawn into the kingdom.

Unfinished brilliantly summarizes the mission of God and His people. Stearns weaves personal stories, biblical teaching, and testimonies from World Vision into a call for believers to be involved in their world.  Stearns moves readers from the greatness of God’s global purposes to specific steps for individual action. (more…)

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Missions Pastor Topic 6: Recruit, develop, and send church planters from my church

August 14th, 2013 by

Scripture passages that shape our church on this topic:

The church is the method that God proclaims His wisdom and truth.

This is so God’s multi- faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.(Eph. 3:10).

But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to act in Gods household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15).

Leaders of churches are given by God to shepherd the church, train the saints, and train other teachers.

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock that the Holy Spirit has appointed you to as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28).

And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ (Eph. 4:11-12).

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2).

Jesus and the New Testament church taught of the kingdom in new cities.

Jesus: “And He said to them, Lets go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38).

New Testament Church, Titus “The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town.” (Tit.1:5).

Paul: “My aim is to evangelize where Christ has not been named, so that I will not build on someone else’s foundation,” Rom. 15:20).

“Getting out of the starting blocks”, steps to getting off the ground this year: (more…)

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Sixth and final topic for missions pastor posting tomorrow… site’s comment glitch repaired

August 13th, 2013 by


I was informed yesterday that though the comment section of this website is working fine for me, it wasn’t working for anyone else… bummer. My intent for the value and depth of the content  to be multiplied by a community of a few hundred people making comments and asking questions.  If you tried to comment and the website locked you out, I’m sorry for your frustration.

I’m again appealing for you to share insights, lessons, materials, and other resources on each of the six topics.  Others may just have questions to ask from this site’s readership.  I’m asking each of you to take a minute and pick a topic and share a resource or question. Ok everyone… launch comments! Thanks!

Tomorrow, the last topic of this series of six topics for Missions Pastors will be posted.

  1. Mobilize and educate the church to serve outside of its walls and lead them in praying for the nations
  2. Strategically allocate the church’s missions funds
  3. Select, promote, coordinate, train, lead, and debrief short-term missions trips
  4. Recruit, select, train, send, and support long-term missionaries from our church
  5. Create and coordinate evangelism and service projects in our community
  6. Recruit, develop, and send church planters from my church
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Friday Book Review: Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media by Bradley R.E. Wright, 5 Stars

August 10th, 2013 by


Shocking statistics about the rapid decline of the church in American promotes an agenda of those outside of the church to show that Christians should be ignored because it Christianity is declining. Sharing these distorted statistics by those inside of the church usually leads to an invitation to get involved with a specific church program or curriculum to solve the problem.  However, one small problem with these statistics showing that church attendance in America is in rapid decline are FALSE.

Bradley Wright, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, debunks several of popular myths about Christianity during the last generation. The notion that Christianity is in rapid decline is one of them. In fact, the percentage of Christians in America is much higher at the beginning of the 21st century than the beginning of the 19th century. Have you seen any stories on CNN with this fact? Have your children come home from studying American history at a public school and reminded you of this fact? Hmmm… makes you wonder if reporters and textbook writers or ignorant or have a hidden agenda. Probably both. (more…)

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