Seven Best Practices For Encouraging Your Church’s Missional Progress

Best Practices…every vocation has identified them by now. Here is a suggested list of “Best Practices” for advancing missional progress in your church. Consider engaging these seven, watching your contribution to your faith community rise.

Actively trust God to provide what your church needs in order to do what God calls it to do.
This is the best practice of best practices. Just like love covers a multitude of sins, so does this practice empower so much positive faithful movement in churches. When you actively trust God, you will relate to most everything from a position of strength, vitality, and hope. If five people in any one church actualized this belief, their corner of God’s creation would be radically transformed.

Practice direct communication within the church body, avoiding communication triangles.
When you have a concern with someone or something, go directly to the person(s) involved. No anyonymous letters, notes, or emails. No carrying messages for others who are afraid to speak. Grow up into spiritual adulthood and communicate directly with others. Your spiritual kinsman in your church will appreciate this. In fact, they will love you more because you exercised courage based on love. Care enough, love enough, respect enough to practice direct healthy communication, avoiding hallway or parking lot conversations. You will strengthen the fellowship of your church while indirectly influencing others to practice more mature communication. Your church will gain momentum from this best practice.

Choose faith over fear.
This best practice sounds so simple and easy. There it is….such a short sentence. Now, just do it. Choose faith. You don’t have to accept the fear which others are handing out right and left in our cultural context. The beauty of being a Christ-follower is that you get to choose. Faith believes that love wins. Faith knows that God’s kingdom will ultimately come on earth, as it is in heaven. Faith conquers fear. Your part is to decide what the basic disposition of your life will be. Give yourself over to faith. Start now. All we have is today, these moments. Choose faith. When you do, you will contribute to missional progress in your congregation. Rather than being a withholding, hesitant, unwilling disciple, you will become a generous, eager, willing follower of Jesus Christ. Then your presence in your church will radiate hope. Then your eagerness and willingness to be faithful will add energy to your faith community. Choose this day whom you will serve – and how you will live.

Be the teammate you would want on your team.
Remember that church is a team sport, not an individual activity. Play (participate) like you are fully on this team. This means that when decisions are made and the team is ready to execute a play (missional movement), then see yourself as a key player. This is not the time to become the critic writing for the sports column after the game. This is the time to leave it all on the field. You are the church. You, along with the other disciples involved, are being the church in your place and time. How well this goes depends on your collective willingness to be the teammates who help the team succeed. Are you the teammate the others are so glad to have on their team?

Expect the church to be your crucible for transformation.
Yes, life in general is this; a crucible for transformation. Yet, the church is this also. Part of the purpose of church is to put us in relationship with others who will help us become better people. This means that our ideas, attitude, relational style, and actions will be challenged. This means that we will be in relationship with others who are very different than ourselves. This means that sometimes the heat will rise and we will grow uncomfortable. When this happens, remember that God designed it this way. God places us in ongoing faith community so that we will learn to live the Great Commandment (loving one another, just like Christ loves us). Expect your church community to challenge you, knowing this is part of your discipleship process.

Sink your roots deep, laying aside escape options.
What happens in romantic relationships when there is an escape option? There is a tentative nature to them, denying deeper levels of engagement and authenticity. Engage your church as if this is the only faith community you will ever have. Treat it like family. Your spiritual and relational roots will go deeper, allowing your branches to grow higher. Church is designed to be an all in activity. You will discover the richness of the soil where you are planted.

Practice an overall perspective and attitude of positive expectation.
How many studies are there by now which show that we see what we expect to see? When responsible people know this, they decide to take charge of their attitudes. Better yet, they submit their attitudes to their Lord. Responsible people know that attitude work will return huge dividends for the entire church. When we expect to see God, experience God, in our church community, then we are far more likely to do so. When we practice faith, going forward as if God will supply our needs, then great things happen.
Practice an overall perspective and attitude of positive faith looking and the energy you contribute will advance the missional movement of your church.

It takes all God’s people to accomplish God’s calling. Everyone who is a part of a church shapes and influences the nature of that church. May we be God’s people, people who integrate what we believe into how we live.

Mark Tidsworth
President, Pinnacle Leadership Associates