Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Church Mission Portfolio

Think of a "mission portfolio" as a range of partnerships which will advance your congregation in your current adventure of loving God and loving your neighbors as you do yourself. Of course, "the neighbors" are as Jesus would define them, so that's a range of folk like you and very unlike you, near and far, family/ friend and enemy, and to the extremes of your experience and imagination. Such a portfolio will represent well what the congregation is becoming, and the relationships and activities will have strong "take home" value as the church explores God's Kingdom and follows Christ in transformational ways.

As you think of your congregation you will definitely want a scope from entry level to advanced mission partnerships, engaging all age and stage levels, and intriguing to a variety of interests, hobbies, and skill sets. Yet, having said this, you want the right number that doesn't inundate your congregation with a lot of a little, nor do you want to hit a scale that is an easy challenge. Instead, this should be partnerships keyed to the current priorities of the congregation. You neither want to establish a "mission silo" of interest and engagement to a small percentage of the congregation, nor do you want a mission program so mired in the past that there is no future orientation. A strong mission portfolio will:
  • appeal to the whole life of the congregation, 
  • lend itself well to worship, discipleship, prayer, and the identity and practices of the church throughout the year, 
  • welcome assessment and evaluation in light of both missional best practices and where the congregation is headed in the future, 
  • weave together local, national, and international in ways which enhances each area,
  • is a way the whole congregation can experience and express the Body of Christ,
  • while continuing to respond to the call to love God and love our neighbor as we do ourselves.
Many congregations need to get beyond practices of mission which are too much like projects and too little like missio Dei. Too often congregational mission only appeals to a small number of church folk who have certain time, skills, and funding. Frequently mission is not a movement of the whole congregation, but the playground of a few who champion certain causes. Far too often, this has become the realm of non-profits and not of the church. 

Attention to this in a holistic way can create paths of mission for every age and stage in a church. A strong mission portfolio allows for education, action, and reflection. Developing a plan for a year helps to create balance and builds in assessment. This approach enhances strong theological grounding and church foundation so that the mission plan doesn't get lost in activity and repetition. 

Helpful background resources for a mission portfolio may include:
In addition, your church and conference will likely have focal points which will guide the portfolio. Here is a sample which can be adapted to your context. You also have resource people (like me in North GA and for Global Ministries) as you help your church become more strategic by using a portfolio approach to congregational mission. 

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