Home    David Mays   June 1, 2009


How to Start a Missions Ministry

David Mays


The reason for a program is to accomplish a purpose.  The reason for having an international missions ministry is to involve the church in helping accomplish something in the world that your leaders believe is very important and that God has called your church to do.  If your leaders lead it, people will get involved.  If your leaders believe it is very important, then people will whole-heartedly support it.  If it is just another program it may seem far away and not connected to us and not very compelling.


So the first thing is to find out at least one important thing God wants your church to accomplish in the world before you set up a program to do it.


What this means more specifically is

n     “what” (a result or ministry task – the “what”) God wants done in the world and

n     “where” (a place, a country, city, or people group) it very much needs to be done.  What is it God wants you to do and where?


The “what” comes from your understanding of Scripture and the “where” comes from the world context.  


If, for example, you believe that people desperately need to know Jesus and that God desperately desires that people know Jesus (the “what”) and you discover places in the world where people have very little or no opportunity to come to know Jesus (no churches or very few churches and few Christian resources) (the “where”), then you might conclude that God wants the Gospel to come to these people and He wants your church to have a part in getting them the Gospel.  If this becomes a high priority for your church leaders, then you begin to think about how to set up a program to involve your church in getting the Gospel to these people.  


Usually it isn’t hard to figure out the “what,” but the world is pretty big and complex and the “where” is more difficult.  


I suggest that you and your pastor decide on 2 or 3 people to serve as an ad hoc steering team to get things started.  This group would

n     pray together faithfully,

n     perhaps do a Bible Study on God’s heart for the nations,

n     write a statement of biblical purpose for your missions ministry, and

n     do some research on the world as background for where to begin your foreign missions ministry.


Here are some resources to get started:

n     List of possible missions verses, verses.html.  Select about 5 and write from these.

n     “Biblical Foundations for Your Missions Strategy,” biblical.html.  Use this to write your biblical basis of missions statement.

n     Building Global Vision: 6 Steps to Discovering God’s Mission Vision for Your Church, David Mays, www.calebresources.org   

n     Exploring World Mission, Bryant Myers, World Vision Resources.  Best simple overview of the world in graphs.

n     ACMC (Advancing Churches in Missions Commitment), www.acmc.org  ACMC Conferences are the best training for local church missions leaders.  The web site will show where conferences are being held.