Ok, so maybe it’s not actually taking over Twitter. But it’s definitely a growing topic. And just as any topic in its early stages, #sendingchurch can be pretty idealistic. Like American Ninja Warrior, it looks a lot easier than it actually is. A veteran sending church leader recently said to me, “I really like The Sending Church Defined, but you should’ve put a disclaimer in there that says, ‘By the way, this is all nearly impossible.’” Maybe he should’ve written the foreword!
As part of helping leaders brace themselves for the challenges ahead, Upstream is building a surplus of downloadable resources. Many of them are simple yet practical guides. They get you thinking through the nitty-gritty of your church’s commitment to send.
The resource we want to highlight this week is called the Sending Responsibilities Checklist. It points out over 50 specific needs of sent ones–needs that someone must be responsible for if they are to be sent “in a manner worthy of God” (3 John 1:6).
Several of the responsibilities are the kind we wouldn’t normally think of, such as:
- running a credit check
- preparing wills
- determining salary and benefits
- setting up language learning
- establishing a crisis management plan
If those sound like sobering tasks–good! Take them in, but don’t lose heart. We want to use this timely angst to encourage you once again to send well. Remember, Upstream is here to help! Take time to consider if your church is capable of all these responsibilities. If it’s not, partner with a missions agency who help carry some of the load.
Partnering with a missions agency means you’ll have some decisions to make. Simply put, who does what? Who’s going to make sure the sent ones have wills: the church or the agency? What about ensuring that they have a decent way to learn the language? What about mapping out their salary and benefits, and then distributing them? These are important conversations to have within your church and alongside a partnering agency long before the needs arise.
The Sending Responsibilities Checklist provides not only a list of needs, but gives space for noting who will be responsible for them: the sending church, the missions agency, or the sent one themselves. The checklist isn’t comprehensive, but that’s because it’s meant to get you started in the right direction. As you converse with your sent ones about sending responsibilities, their unique needs will become more clear.
Let’s not be satisfied with just trending. Let’s get real about sending!