Building Your Church's Capacity for the Long Haul


Ellen Livingood shares strategies your church can use to take the gospel to unreached people around the world.

I like to compare taking the gospel to an unreached people to climbing a mountain.

Selecting the peak is just the first step. Then you have choices: You can get out a lawn chair and just watch others climb. You can casually start up the first slope in your sneakers and shorts. Or you can develop a serious strategy, get the right equipment, start training, and find an experienced guide. You know which option is going to get you to the summit!

To see the gospel transform an unreached people group, your church needs to plan and prepare. Your people-reaching strategy should include field components and home components.

Experienced global partners can provide expertise in field strategy components. Let’s consider here the home strategy components. I have watched churches brush off the importance of preparing themselves for the task. As a result, when their people group isn’t reached quickly, they lose interest and drop out.

Simply put —developing your congregation’s people-reaching capacity is absolutely critical if you are going to stay committed to the task long enough to see results. Your home strategy needs to include:

  • Identifying your congregation’s global DNA so you can engage effectively

  • Building a leadership team to sustain your involvement

  • Training so you can partner and serve well

  • Developing essential prayer momentum

  • Establishing good communication systems

These elements can sound difficult, but it is just a matter of taking one step at a time. Experienced guides are available! Visit the Coaches Resource Page and you will find information about a number of trained coaches and facilitators. We are eager to help you prepare your congregation for a successful “climb”!

A very small congregation in Pennsylvania has a very big vision to see the church established among a resistant people in East Africa. A suburban church in Texas focuses on a people in Southeast Asia. A fast-growing, multi-site congregation in Maryland is committed to a people in the Middle East. A new church plant in Georgia concentrates on reaching a UPG in Central Asia.

None of these churches had any experience when they signed on to see a particular people group reached. But their pastors and missions leaders determined to be committed to the task regardless of how hard it was or how long it took. Because the goal was so important to them, they sought out knowledgeable coaches, invested the time to develop a strategy, and recruited leaders within their congregation to keep them focused on their goal.

Today, each of these congregations continues to be passionately involved in reaching their people group. In some cases, amazing breakthroughs have taken place and the number of believers in their UPG is growing. Others are still praying for the gospel to begin to penetrate the spiritual darkness. Regardless of results to date, each church is determined to stay engaged until their people are reached!

Written by Ellen Livingood 


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