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Overview of Sending Church Element 16: Innovating as Sending Churches

A sending church innovates by honestly reevaluating itself according to the sending church elements, while also researching new missions trends and practices. This provides the opportunity to assess its entire approach. Based on this assessment, church leaders then make necessary changes, and communicate those changes to church members and sent ones. - Upstream Collective Sending Church Element #16


We all love self-aware people! They are living in their strengths, able to laugh at their weaknesses, and are open to making changes. A self-aware sending church, likewise, has taken the time to evaluate their strengths, their weaknesses, and is willing to make changes and adjustments to become a stronger sending church.


Sending Element #13: “Maintaining Strategic Focus,” admonishes the Sending Church to take time to look at the impact their vision has on-the-field and make adjustments accordingly. Sending Element #16: “Innovating as Sending Churches” challenges churches to look back on all the elements and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to make improvements. From Cultivating Missions Awareness, to Developing Sent Ones, to Guiding Sent-Ones Upon Re-Entry, every aspect of being a Sending Church should be evaluated regularly.


"From Cultivating Missions Awareness, to Developing Sent Ones, to Guiding Sent-Ones Upon Re-Entry, every aspect of being a Sending Church should be evaluated regularly."

The impact of the Gospel and the participation of your church’s people in God’s divine victory is at stake. We do not want to let our traditions, our strategies, or our missions drift get in the way of what we desire to accomplish.


A great way to do this is to take each of the categories of the Sending Church Elements and spend some time with your missions team evaluating the four phases:

  1. Establishing (Elements 1-5)

  2. Developing (Elements 6-9)

  3. Engaging (Elements 10-13)

  4. Multiplying (Elements 14-17)

Take one Phase of Elements per week and walk through an evaluative process for sending from those elements. Gather a group of people together to evaluate the elements. Ask the question, “What should we start, stop, and continue?” in each element.


Upstream is here to help you Innovate as a Sending Church. Here are a few ways:

  • A subscription to the resources on our website gives you access to practical ideas for Innovating as a Sending church for global missions. Resources include:

Sending Church Elements Assessment Tool” - This tool asks questions of each Sending Church Element by which your missions team can evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a sending church and principles to help you grow.

  • Our book, Sending Church Applied (Fall 2021), will take a deeper dive into how to Innovate as a Sending Church.

  • The Advanced Cohort will give extensive training and personalized coaching to help you Innovate as a Sending Church in ways that are unique to your context.

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