Guide for Local Churches - Strategic Leadership for your Church's Global Vision


The churches making the greatest impact in global and cross-cultural mission are those whose leadership believe that the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations is central to the life of the local church. This vision and support of church leaders is essential. However, since church leaders have numerous ministry priorities, a good mission programme also involves delegating mission oversight to people who have the desire, the time, the vision and the enthusiasm to do it – a mission committee. This group will need to be trained, in order that they may then equip the entire congregation as an effective force for global mission.


1. Develop a vision for mission

  • Get a grasp of the Great Commission


    (Matt 28:18-20) and be motivated by Jesus’ words. Pray and study the Scriptures, asking God to grant an understanding of His heart for the world.

  • Find people


    interested in mission, encourage one another, and read the Scriptures together.

  • Pray:

    • for God’s guidance for your church

    • that together you will be able to influence your church towards concern for mission

    • for deliverance from false images of mission and missionaries

    • for the truth and power of God to overcome the mentality that says, “our church can’t make a difference.”

  • Visualise


    what a church passionate about mission might look like, and then consider what changes your church would need to make to reach for this vision.

2. Secure the support of the church leadership

  • Discuss the possibility of establishing a mission committee.

  • Have a written statement defining how the group will function (see below).

  • Be responsive to concerns and suggestions of various local church leaders.

  • Request permission to begin some mission related activities. For example:

    • Mission spots in the ongoing programme of the church: Sunday School, youth group, Bible study groups, Sunday services.

    • Circulate relevant DVDs and YouTube clips amongst church members.

    • Email the leaders of church services with specific mission related prayer points to include in times of pastoral/intercessory/congregational prayer, and include relevant maps/images to include on service PowerPoint slides.

    • Post relevant mission information/images/video clips on the church’s social media pages.

    • Start supporting just one or two missionaries, mission organisations or mission projects. Set smaller targets first. Success will encourage people to attempt greater things.

    • Start by trying to meet a specific practical need. Information can then be built up around this to encourage interest and prayer. Report progress regularly and celebrate the completion of the project/fulfilment of the need for the glory of God and the encouragement of the church.

3. Organise the mission committee

  • Determine the relationships the mission committee should have with the church leadership team, decision-making structures, committees and ministries in your church. Decide how the mission committee members should be appointed.

  • Develop a profile of the people who would be helpful members of the mission committee:

    • Gifts e.g. administration, faith, helps, teaching

    • Demographics to be represented e.g. men/women, age groups, ethnic groups

    • Personal qualities e.g. willingness to learn, ability to work with others, flexibility in decision making, clear thinking, good communication skills.

  • Evaluate the present responsibilities of potential the mission committee members. Are they already over-committed?  If so, could they hand some of their responsibilities over to others?  Effective mission committee involvement can be demanding and should be a priority for its members.

  • The size of the mission committee varies according to the size of the church and the extent of its ministry. A healthy mission committee may begin with 5-10 members.  If there are fewer than this number, then pray for new members and be careful not over-extend the groups capabilities.

  • Develop continuity in the group. For example, group members may serve for three years.  One third of the group may step down each year but remain eligible for re-appointment.  A six-month trial period for new members with no previous experience may be helpful.

  • Assign a chairperson for the group. This is often a lay person who may be chosen by the church leadership or elected by the mission committee.  This person is responsible to plan and preside at mission committee meetings.  This role may or may not be assigned to a


  • Appoint a secretary to assist the chairperson; look after minutes and correspondence; and keep up to date with all projects through key “link persons” in the congregation who have a special interest in a particular mission, ministry or missionary.

  • Identify specific roles of the mission committee, and allocate people to be responsible for these areas:

    • Education – helping integrate world mission into the life of the church through exposition, example and experience

    • Prayer – continually presenting up-to-date information to the congregation and integrating prayer for world mission into the total church programme

    • Special events – promoting and/or organising special events to catch the imagination of the whole church or specific demographics

    • Resources – informing the church about new tools, books, DVDs, programs, YouTube clips, websites etc.

    • Personnel – encouraging as many people as possible to take part practically in the church mission programme, oversee the development and the selection of potential missionaries, and missionary care on-the-job, on home assignment, or upon re-entry

    • Finance – stimulating and encouraging congregational giving, preparing preliminary budgets, and dispensing funds.

  • Decide how often the mission committee will meet e.g. every 2 months. Give each member a schedule for the year of the mission committee meetings and other relevant events/dates.

The above may be recorded in a global mission policy.

4. Real Examples


1. Bruce Dipple. “Becoming Global: Integrating Global Mission and Your Local Church". Sydney: SMBC Press, 2011. 2. Ellen Livingood. “Where Do We Start?: Steps forward at five ministry crossroads.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 10, Iss. 1, 2015. 3. Glover Shipp and Bob Waldon. “How to Begin and Maintain a Missions Committee.” 4. Glover Shipp. “Organizing Your Church’s Missions Committee.” 5. Ellen Livingood. “What’s Your Missions Strategy? A tool to analyze your church’s global missions approach.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 8, Iss. 10, 2013. 6. Ellen Livingood. “5 Steps towards Global Engagement.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 7, Iss. 1. 2012. 7. Mark Naylor. “Navigating a Strategic Missions Course in a Changing Church Context.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 6, Iss. 2, 2011. 8. Milfred Minatrea. “Global Missions in New Church Starts: Distraction, Diversion, or Directly on Target?” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 4, Iss. 12, 2009. 9. Ellen Livingood. “Growing Up Church Missions: What Missions Maturity Looks Like.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 8, Iss. 1, 2013. 10. Ellen Livingood. “Untapped Potential.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 7, Iss. 12, 2012. 11. Ellen Livingood. “Restructuring Local Church Missions.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 2, Iss. 12, 2007. 12. Shannon Litton. “Motivate Your Congregation: 5 ways to move them to give, go, or act.” Catalyst Services Postings, Vol. 10, Iss. 7, 2015.

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