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Sprinkles, Oreos, or Chocolate Syrup?

Posted by Ruthie Hankins , 01 February 2013 · 1295 views

I'm the missions leader at my local Alliance church. We give to the GCF, invite international workers to speak several times a year, have the flags of our partnership countries hung proudly in the sanctuary, include weekly missions prayer requests in the bulletin and have several of our number who are currently serving or persuing overseas service with the C&MA. Many people who've become a part of our congregation have commented that they appreciate the international component of our "flavor".

But over the last several months I've been struggling with an uncertainty about the breadth and depth of this "flavor" in our church. I wonder if, for most people, it's more like chocolate sprinkles on top of an ice cream sundae (you can see them but they don't change the flavor much) than chunks of Oreo that are mixed into Cookies n' Cream (you can taste them, but it's still vanilla in places) or chocolate syrup blended in with the milk and sugar and eggs before churning so that it is, without a doubt, CHOCOLATE ice cream. I know that the people at my church will fall into these various categories when it comes to engagement with the Great Commission. But I want to be like the guy at Coldstone Creamery that really works to mix the flavor bits down deep into the ice cream.

I'm realizing my task as the missions leader is not to see that more "missions flavor" gets sprinkled on our services or small groups or kids' ministry or whatever. It is not about acomplishing more missions-related tasks or doing better "advertising" or getting people to "come hear the missionary". It's about moving the chunks deeper down in people's lives--helping them understand God's heart for reaching the world and how they can make themselves available to be used by Him.

So, we are making some changes. God has provided great new people who are willing to jump in and serve even without much experience. And I've changed my approach to the job as well. This year I'm going to invest in the team rather than just assign them tasks. I want to be more of an encourager, a mentor, a resource person, a vision caster. I want to give them everything I can to help them become more globally minded (and hearted). I'm going to trust them to "Go for it!" with new ideas and new ways of helping our congregation catch that vision as well. And since I won't be trying to do everything myself (which never worked anyway), I can focus on coaching the team and cheering them on. I'm anticipating a great year!

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Beth Shanabrook
Feb 02 2013 10:06 PM
I am in that position too. I'm looking for ways to accomplish that - to cast the vision, help my team have the vision and our congregation get the vision. God has already begun by answering several prayers about people hosting our missionaries - to allow their children to get a vision for missions.
I'm looking for more from God and from others to help us be mission-minded.
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Ruthie Hankins
Feb 04 2013 08:51 AM
Hi Beth, email me at the National Office if I can be of help: hankinsr@cmalliance.org.
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