Orientation for a New Missions Pastor

When you become a new missions pastor, what do you need to learn to quickly to become effective in guiding the church’s missions ministry? Churches vary greatly but here are some starter steps.

Current Missions Ministry:

  1. Study your past and current missions involvement thoroughly so that he can build on it and accent the areas you all agree are the most important or strategic to you. Wholesale change is generally not constructive. The things your church does now were some church members’ great ideas at some point in the past.
  2. Ask what people think. Your church probably has strong lay involvement, but even if it doesn’t, you can encourage it by asking what people think. Even if you do not agree with their thoughts you can learn where people are in their understanding and know better how to teach more about missions. Missions is all about training people to do ministry.

Church Orientation (to discover the place missions has in the leadership and members of the church):

  1. Talk to each of the other pastors of the church to discover their heart for missions.
  2. Intentionally meet with each of the elders or deacons on the leadership board. Understanding their missions interests and values will help you plan a missions education program for the church.
  3. Get to know the missions commission members as individuals and uncover the specific interests, skills, and background they bring to the Missions Commission.
  4. Talk to the ‘historians’ of the church, the people who have been around and involved in missions and the ministry of the church. They can provide useful insight into what is important to the body. Those with a high profile, but not involved in Missions could also provide insights to build upon.
  5. Meet with the missions chair regularly, perhaps before each commission meeting.

Mission Family:

  1. Visit (preferably over a meal) with your missionaries while they are on home assignment. Everyone likes to have someone in leadership listen to their story. Ideally this would involve both spouses if possible.
  2. Make plans to visit missionaries on the field to get an idea of their ministry and needs. Try to get to all of them over a reasonable time frame at, say, two trips per year.
  3. Visit with the leaders of the local ministries you support. They are right here and if you can find a way to encourage more involvement with them by the members of the church you will have a ready made training program.

Keeping Current:

  1. Read missions books and periodicals like EMQ, World Pulse, Missions Frontiers.
  2. Purposefully set up opportunities for training for the missions committee and the congregation.
  3. Go to ACMC conferences and bring staff, lay people and potential missions commission members with youJ.

Source: Lee Christenson, ACMC, Indianapolis