The Board Frontier
You might not think of a church board meeting as a mission frontier, yet as we have worked to see congregations engage and sustain mission in Hamilton, we have come to realize just how crucial a frontier church structures like leadership boards in fact are.
At its core good mission is about groups of God’s people aligning around God’s call to live out the reality of His kingdom. It is something God intends for the whole body, and our congregations are intended to function as the hubs of such activity. Mission might mean involvement globally in Africa or China or focusing locally by connecting with the arts community, pursuing reconciliation with First Nations people, or leading people to pray together. Whatever form it takes, in order for a local church to engage mission together and work at it over time church structures have a key role to play.
Mission by nature brings risks. It is entered into by faith and it often makes life messy. Our church leadership structures are set up with a mandate to insure the viability of our congregations. It is hard, thankless, often time consuming work to live in the tension between insuring institutional viability and encouraging mission. But it is this work that must be done well if our congregations are to live out God’s calling to mission. It makes church board work a mission frontier.
What we are coming to understand is that we need gifted, passionate, mission-minded leaders not only to befriend new immigrants and lead teams to China, but also to function as church treasurers and board chairmen. We need people who will engage mission by insuring there are communication systems within our congregations that get the right information to the right people effectively so that people are encouraged and equipped to get involved.
Over the past few months I have begun to work closely with key “implementation leaders” among the TrueCity churches. These are the men and women who take good vision and integrate it into existing systems to see it become a reality. Our job over the coming year is to identify what “mission encouraging” systems look like. We want to identify what releases people into mission and what impedes it so that we can grow the capacity of our churches for mission.
Please pray for the implementation leaders throughout the TrueCity movement as we work together on the “Growing Collaborative Capacity” project. Truth be told, working on church structures is rarely considered an exciting mission–for most it is at best a necessary evil. And yet there is a spiritual reality to our church systems that needs to be recognized and nurtured so that it aligns itself with Christ’s lordship and His call to mission. Our prayer is that we can strengthen whats good and weed out what is detrimental so that God has much greater freedom to bring us into alignment with kingdom realities for His glory.