CCVT churches or agencies are often asked to provide a mission plan in conjunction with the provision of loans, grants, and other forms of support. While all of us approach mission differently, of course, any mission is fundamentally connected with serving the Great Commission of Jesus. Since ‘making disciples’ adds people to the Kingdom, growth is a necessary byproduct. Growth is not optional, but it can be difficult. Growth, though, is both qualitative and quantitative.
Nevertheless, not all qualitative growth is accompanied by quantity. Some churches cannot easily recall their last baptism. Similarly, not all quantitative growth is of the sort of quality that can point to significant discipleship impact.
Mission plans help a church to focus on important outcomes when, instead of just listing activities or aspirational goals, they create an engine for growth. Many churches globally enact great programs that appear to work but, do you actually have your own mission plan that thinks through what is needed to provide that growth in your own context?
A church may work closely with an agency to enact community mission, and may also engage with Foodbank Victoria, house a childcare program, offer affordable housing, provide a coffee shop, or make some other important community provision. Much useful conversation could eventually lead to discussions about Jesus, too, but just how intentional is this? Do community contacts actually join your church? How will the leadership needed to enact it best be funded in your budget?
Also, you might use the Alpha course, or a marriage course, or some other program to cater to a genuine need, but what are the next steps for those involved and who will see to enacting these steps? What can you do when it seems there is much you cannot do?
Maybe you have a small group system (and this may also be a ‘next step’ after a preliminary course), but how do you ensure discipleship growth that transcends merely joining a Bible study? How, also, do you recruit and develop leaders of new groups who can meaningfully activate growth in others, even when they are busy?
A few helpful tools are available here, in addition to unpacking this further with CCVT staff. Firstly, a Mission Plan Template will help churches or agencies think through the ‘how-to’ steps needed to intentionalise impact. Secondly, a Discipleship Markers and Transitions tool for considering the sorts of conversations needed to advance people’s personal growth, depending on where they currently sit in your database.
Finally, discipleship includes pastoral care. This is infinitely preferable to a pastoral system that tries to make disciples. We care, but we don’t exist to care. We exist to make disciples!