I love shortcuts. Whether it’s a hidden road to get to work 30 seconds faster, some technological advancement that promises to save me 3 hours of work a week, or a 3 point blog post that tells me the secret to doing everything awesome with half the effort, I’m a sucker for a promising shortcut. I think a lot of church leaders are the same way. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any shortcuts for advancing Christ’s kingdom. And as much as I’d like to be able to offer a few shortcuts to creating a culture of international missions in your church, I can’t. But I do think that there are certain disciplines that if we can stay committed to over time, will foster this kind of culture.
Preach About The Missionary God Of The Bible
As obvious as it sounds, biblical preaching will help create a culture of international missions. No, I’m not just talking about a hidden verse tucked away in some genealogy that you need to uncover for your people. I’m talking about the grand storyline of Scripture—the one where a God who created all the people groups of the earth sends his son to redeem them, after they rebelled against him, from every tribe, nation, people group, and land. When you preach like this, your people will realize that God wants you to be “for your city” and “for the nations.” They’ll see that God is a missionary God who doesn’t ask you to go on mission, but to join him on mission.
As obvious as it sounds, biblical preaching will help create a culture of international missions.
Pray For The Nations
When you direct your prayers to the ends of the earth, your people’s attention often goes too. That’s why praying consistently for the nations and peoples of the world in your children’s, student, groups, and pulpit ministry can be such a helpful way to create a international missions focus. You don’t need spectacular spiritual gifts or a large amount of money in order to ask our missionary God to work miraculously amongst the nations. If you saturate your church with nations focused prayer, you will signal to your church that God is a nations focused God.
Give To International Missions
If you want your people to treasure international missions, send their treasure to the international mission field. After all, Jesus said, “Where your treasure is your heart will be.” People pay more attention to the places to which and people to whom their money goes. As you do this, you will have to cast a compelling vision for why it is best for the nations to have more of your money and your church to have less. You can explain how having less money locally can lead to greater impact internationally. As your people hear about this Jesus who gave up immense resources in order to bring us to him, they will be compelled to do the same.
As your people hear about this Jesus who gave up immense resources in order to bring us to him, they will be compelled to do the same.
Create International Missions Culture Makers With An International Missions Trip
It takes more than one person to create a culture of international missions. If you want to create a culture of international missions, take your people on an international mission trip. If you want them to think outside of your little world, take them outside of your little world. When they are able to see and smell the international mission field, they’ll be equipped to create an international mission culture back home. Don’t just give to international missions, go to the international mission field.
Require Pastors To Go On International Mission Trips
If you want to create a culture of international missions, you need to do more than have international mission trips—you need to go on those trips. Pastors don’t avoid these trips because they hate the nations, they simply have other good, mission advancing things to do domestically. But if you want your church to make international missions a priority, you have to show your church that it is a priority for you too. Just because you can’t go on all of the mission trips, doesn’t mean you can’t go on at least one.
Celebrate Missionary Moments
What a culture celebrates, it cultivates. If you are trying to cultivate an international missions culture, you need to celebrate international missions achievements. Make a video about the trip. Interview a missionary. Have a dinner with the mission team after they get back from their trip. Share pictures from the mission trip online. Comment on other people’s pictures. Write personal notes to mission team members celebrating their efforts. Find ways to help people feel the pleasure their heavenly, missionary God has in them and their international mission efforts. International mission culture is cultivated by international mission celebration.
If you are trying to cultivate an international missions culture, you need to celebrate international missions achievements.
Lead your church into conformity with their missionary Savior. Ask God to work. Start somewhere. Do the next best thing.
Published September 29, 2015