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Overview of Sending Church Element 2: Establishing Missions Convictions

A sending church embraces spiritual conviction when it moves from general knowledge of God’s mission to ownership of its unique missional role. This depends primarily on the use of Scripture and prayer, so that the result is Spirit-filled rather than man-made. This also includes defining the church’s particular missions convictions, which are a combination of the church’s biblical convictions and its unique identity. These then serve as a guide and filter for all of the church’s missions activity. - Upstream Collective Sending Church Element #2

The process of establishing missions convictions begins with a church leadership team coming together and searching the Scriptures, looking for verses that capture their attention and hearts as a team. Together they come up with four to six statements based directly on Scripture that bubble to the top of importance for their church. In this exercise the church is answering questions like: What do we think about Matthew 18:18-20 and its implication on our missional vision? What do we think about reached and unreached people groups? What do we believe about the eternity of those who never hear the name of Jesus? And certainly much more.

"The process of establishing missions convictions begins with a church leadership team coming together and searching the Scriptures, looking for verses that capture their attention and hearts as a team."

As the church embraces its theological convictions about missions it will also need to identify its uniqueness as a church. This is an important exercise for a church. Will Mancini in his book, Church Unique, says,

Consider what God does when fifteen people come together in His name. How much uniqueness is in those fifteen individuals? How about a church of a hundred people, or a thousand? Is it possible that the uniqueness of these groups far outweighs the uniqueness of a small water crystal blowing in the winter wind? Wouldn’t each church, however small, carry a unique collective soul, because each church is a different subset of one-of-a-kind saints? Doesn’t each locale present its own growth conditions that affect the pattern and development of God’s people? If every snowflake that was ever created in the universe differs, is it so hard to conceive that every one of the more than three hundred thousand churches in North America is unique? These questions drive us to the essence of recasting vision. The starting point for vision—for thinking about our church’s future—is not deciding where we want to go or exploring what is working for other churches but understanding how we are unique.

While this is important foundationally for the church to do, it is also valuable for the missions department to identify, out of the church’s uniqueness, what it should be uniquely focused on. With thousands of missions opportunities around the world, what are we uniquely called to do? A church discovers this by asking questions like: What are the demographics of our church, our city, and especially in regards to internationals & refugees? What is the mission of our church and how could the global missions vision flow from that uniqueness? What are our members involved in already that we could boost?

Upstream is here to help you Embrace Missions Convictions in your church. Here are a few ways:

  • A subscription to the resources on our website gives you access to practical ideas for establishing missions convictions in your church. These resources include:

  • Our book, Sending Church Applied (Fall 2021), will take a deeper dive into how to Establish Missions Convictions with your missions team and church leadership.

  • The Foundations Cohort will give extensive training and personalized coaching to help your church grow in Establishing Missions Convictions with your leadership and communicating it to your members.


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