Counting for Zero: The Importance of Church Leadership Buy-In


Reaching an unreached or unengaged people is a complex task that requires a consensus among key church and missions leaders.

How important is it for a church that wants to reach an unreached or unengaged people group with the Gospel to have consensus among key church and missions leaders to undertake such a task?  I believe that it is absolutely critical. Reaching an unreached or unengaged people group is a complex and difficult process that requires  tremendous  sacrifice. Thus, without church leadership buy-in for such a task, it will prove incredibly difficult to build the momentum needed to do so effectively.

For over ten years, I have been engaged in church missions coaching, coming alongside churches across the country that desire to move from a supportive role in world missions to an active role. Our coaching process helps church leaders discover and deploy a strategic mission vision that fulfills the Biblical mandate to reach all nations, while taking into account their unique gifts, talents and passions as a local congregation. When we first started doing this, we were so excited to mobilize churches that we would meet with just about anyone and everyone with a heart for the nations. 

After a few years of trial and error, we became frustrated with the lack of impact. We realized that we were usually meeting with marginalized groups of missions minded people, but by not requiring the participation of key church leaders we were not dealing with the process of a whole church. Ever since we required the participation of key church leaders in the missions coaching process, God has granted much more significant impact. Our coaches now consider leadership participation in the discovery and deployment of a church’s missions vision to be the underpinning for a long hot burn.

“Members of a congregation can be a catalyst for missions envisioning…but until senior leadership has embraced the vision…we are not yet dealing with the process of a church.  An important milestone is for the church as a WHOLE to reach a place where it can fully embrace the idea of focusing its resources, giftings, energies, financial resources…to reach the world.”  --Unnamed Missions Leader

If you recently participated in an Issachar Summit and are now filled with passion to reach the nations, before you launch out, let me encourage you to consider some questions that we have put together that will help you determine your church’s readiness in Counting for Zero:


  • Does our leadership share a unified passion to reach an unreached, unengaged people group?


  • Have we sought and heard God’s heart for our involvement in Counting for Zero?


  • Do we have a God-centered motive, strong enough to engage the sacrificial commitment of our people and resources?


  • Are we connecting with agency resources and relationships that will help us engage an unreached, unengaged people group?


  • Are we prepared to accept responsibility for our share of Counting for Zero?

Written by Matthew Ellison 

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