Below are three priorities that are helpful to evaluate a ministry strategy in reaching a people for Christ. These priorities are designed for use with mission teams at churches, missionaries and missionary want-to-be’s, local churches, and general do-gooders. Remember, a key component of developing strategy is deciding what “not to do” as well as what “to do”. I’ve included examples of both.
- Placing and supporting long-term near-cultural ministers who have acquired local language/culture who start and develop churches prioritizing the unreached.
- Local service ministry (human needs) that has high relational component with local church identity and support.
- Production and distribution of teaching resources and ministry training projects in the same culture or an acquired culture.
Let’s expand each of these and give examples of what they include and what they eliminate. This post expands #2: Local human needs ministry that has high relational component with local church identity and support.
- High priorities
- Strengthening the impact of local churches in a community through meeting human needs.
- Leveraging local resources to better meet needs in a community. Outside expertise should develop local trainers. Outside funds should be matched by local funds.
- Ministries that require developing deep relationships and meeting spiritual and emotional needs while meeting physical needs.
- Often you will have more impact through partnering with other organizations. See more here.
- Examples: adoption and foster care, micro-loans; for a list of cost effective strategies go here.
- Low priorities
- Ministries that are not relational, indicator: if the ministry can be done without learning someone’s name or having a conversation with the person, the project should be revised. See also Budgeting for “the least of these”
- Ministries that meet a need without sharing Christ or connecting with local churches. The church is first and central for long-term community impact: healthy churches meet human needs, human needs ministries rarely start churches. More info here.
- Ministries that give away things to develop relationships, especially non-essentials like candy and toys.
- Ministries that are not done the name of Christ, but instead something like a secular “World Aid Ministries”. The name isn’t that important, but the ministry should be explicitly done in Christ’s name, preferably by a local church.
- Ministries that are managed from the outside by people who haven’t learned the local culture. It is too hard to lead people from large cultural or geographic distances.
What would you add or modify?