Monday, December 02, 2013

Missions Foci

Focus has been the en vogue trend in global missions for the past few years. Nothing inherently bad about teaming up with someone you trust and concentrating on momentum together for the long haul. Various implementations around this idea includes focusing on specific demographics [peoplegroups], physical areas of the world or causes [PEACE plan] All the big churches are doing it. Leadership Network cites this as one of the important strategies for the future.

In some cases, the move to focus has been a response to the shotgun approach to missions - having too many superficial relationships scattered all over the globe. The issues coming out of that have included how do we care for so many and how do we decide about allocating resources to these that are scattered. You can spend lots of attention and energy on being focused - that might be the right thing to fix the symptom of being too scattered if that really is your problem.

Or, starting with the end in mind, perhaps the real issue isn't focusing on one of those things above. Maybe what we need is focusing on creating more missionaries - we clearly do not have enough. Unpacking this includes talking about lots of stuff, like leadership development, ensuring character and competence, vocation and calling, and the role of sending churches and agencies. But before all of that, focusing on one might cost you the other.


  1. There are two forms of structures for mission agencies. One tends to be very big and focused--strong in specific areas. Others tend to be larger, more diffuse, and covering more ground. Both have their advantages and weaknesses. Strong agencies can sustain a lot of work and a large number of people over a long period of time, but can become very rigid and difficult to change (think skeletons, or the beams of a house), and often are limited in the number of places they can be. Diffuse agencies (swarms) can sustain many more people over much broader areas, but individual nodes can be very weak (think skin, or drywall). Figuring out which approach you're going to use, and then going with your strengths, is very important. The two different categories of organizations require very different kinds of skill sets.

  2. thanks for weighing in justin - that's good to think about especially with the analogies of a house. i probably am too far biased on the diffuse side. good for me to think about that.

  3. Anonymous3:18 PM

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  4. hi there naveen -- thanks for reading!