Wouldn't it be nice if there was a framework for growing as a sending church? Something churches could use to identify their strengths and weaknesses in missions? Now there is. 

We call them The Sending Church Elements

We have identified 4 phases divided into 17 elements that make up healthy sending churches. The description of each Element continues below. We encourage you to download the Elements for free, use them to self-assess your church, and let us know how we can help. We'll even provide a free 30-minute consultation with an Upstream leader. Simply contact us to schedule it. 


Click on any of Elements below to view their corresponding resources:

Phase 1 - Establishing

The church lays a biblical foundation for sending by:

Cultivating Missions Awareness: The church becomes progressively aware of the lost world around them, both locally and globally. 

Embracing Spiritual Conviction: The church is convinced of their need to personally engage this lostness through the truth of the Scriptures and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. 

Developing a Vision: The church prayerfully discerns and narrows the specific place(s) and people(s) that the Holy Spirit is leading them to engage both locally and globally.

Involving the Entire Church: The church embodies sentness by cultivating the involvement of every member in the sending vision and strategy through education, prayer, and onramps.

Building a Strategy: The church builds a strategy that employs a variety of ways to strategically and incarnationally fulfill the vision. 


Phase 2 - Developing

The church moves toward sending by:

Evaluating Sending Models and Partners: The church discerns the most effective pathway and partner organization for a sent one based on the church’s vision and strategy, the sent one’s gifts and vocation, and the context to which they are going. 

Identifying Sent Ones: The church proactively pursues members who exhibit local sentness and global conviction, inviting them into the global strategy by being assessed.

Assessing Sent Ones: The church takes the lead with the assistance of a missions organization to assess the character, calling, and competency of candidates through a relational, communal process. 

Developing Sent Ones: The church prepares healthy candidates by investing in their knowledge, formation, and skills through coaching, equipping, and ongoing evaluation.


Phase 3 - Engaging

The church grows in sending by:

Commissioning Sent Ones: The church affirms sent ones by publicly commissioning them to go, while also commissioning the church to support them.

Getting Sent Ones Established: The church helps sent ones remain healthy during their first term by supporting them through the transition and acquisition of a new language and culture.

Providing Ongoing Care: The church strengthens their structure and process for the nurture, care, and accountability of their sent ones.

Maintaining Strategic Focus: The church ensures that maintenance and changes to the vision and strategy remain aligned with the work of their sent ones. 


Phase 4 - Multiplying

The church matures in sending by:

Inviting Sent Ones to Speak Back: The church maintains deep relationships with their sent ones, initiating ways for them to encourage and exhort the church in an ongoing manner.

Receiving Sent Ones During Reetry: The church receives sent ones who are returning from the field indefinitely through planning, presence, and provision. 

Influencing Other Churches: The church influences other churches in sending by sharing experiences, resources, and/or opportunities for partnership.

Innovating the Strategy: The church takes time to reassess their sending strategies and systems through honest evaluation and missions research, leading to streamlined practices and new ventures.