Friday, August 27, 2010

World Missions Church

How to Build a World Missions Church

Our church started with 5 people in 1991. We started planting churches in 1992. Initially we planted within Asia and Oceania. From 1998 onwards we started planting in all continents of the world. We started as a local church, then we became a regional church and now we are becoming a global church.

Before we go into how to build a world missions church, allow me to debunk common misconceptions about world missions.

First, it is simply not true that some churches have a call for missions but others don’t. God calls all of us to make disciples of all nations. When you read the Bible, you get a clear sense that God loves the whole world. That He thinks globally and He redeems globally. Jesus was and is pre-occupied with the world.

There is only one instance in the Bible the church is told not to do missions. It was in Acts 1:8, where Christ told the disciples not to go out into the world until they had received the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told all of us to “go”. Some churches miss the word “go”. Jesus told us to start at Jerusalem then go to Judea, Samaria and outer parts of the world. Some churches get stuck in Jerusalem.

Some Christians resist missions actively ("I'm already meeting many needs here") or passively (applauding church planting enthusiastically with minimal personal response). What is the risk of being inward looking? When a river has no outlet, it becomes a dead sea. It is important to personalise Jesus’ heart for the nations.

Second, it is not true that only larger churches can plant churches. Every 100-person group in our church targets to plant a church in an overseas city every 3 years. A small church can partner with another small or medium church to plant churches.

Third, it is said that “we can’t possibly go to all the 238 countries and territories”. No one said to go to the whole world at once. I will answer this in the next section.

Now allow me to share some key elements to build a world missions church.

A world missions church has missions-hearted leadership. The top leadership has got to be convinced we have a responsibility beyond our home shores. Our leadership, teaching and modeling is what makes this work. That’s why it is said “as the leader does, so goes the church”.

“There is only one among the twelve apostles who did not become a missionary. He became a traitor” Adam Brown.

Here are four practical tips. Plan the annual church calendar around missions. Missions work is far away and easily falls to the bottom of the agenda. Always set missions goals first since local issues will always get prioritised. Ensure every local ministry and church department has a global vision so every one becomes a global outfit. Start every management and leadership meeting with a global missions review. Ensure there is a constant stream of missions news in your website and church bulletin and missions testimonies in your worship services.

A world missions church has a world missions strategy. Most churches just do Short Term Missions (STM). People come back excited. The question is always ‘so what next’? How do we move them to the next level? Here are three pointers. Prayerfully adopt a city for church planting. Make a commitment that we are going to do whatever it takes to see this people coming to Christ, and being discipled and churches planted that will lead to other churches being planted. Develop strategy with your Regional Missions Coordinator. Form a team.

A world missions church is sacrificially funding missions. We thought we were doing quite well in world missions. Then we realised that another local church in Singapore spends 50% of its annual budget every year on world missions. That blew my mind. Here is the lesson - Don’t use God’s blessings for ourselves. Give your best leaders for missions. If you take care of the world, God will take care of your church.

A world missions church cares holistically for church planters and churches. Be willing to take the responsibility of mothering. Giving birth is hard but mothering is harder. It is also for life.

A world missions church is thoroughly preparing church planters. Offer introductory missions courses in Word for Life, special seminars and specialised training for language acquisition.

A world missions church grows global Christians. Challenge members to give more of their lives to world missions every year. Ask members to stop and think about how their purpose in life fits into God’s purpose of making Him known, praised and enjoyed among all people of the earth.

The current global era now upon us is a new kairos. In the final analysis, what brings radical change and transformation in a city is two feet walking into a city.

“What are churches for but to make missionaries” Augustus Strong.

First published in the August 2007 issue of the H.I.M. Advance newsletter.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Living in Overdrive
By Ben KC Lee
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

What is living in overdrive? Perhaps this may give a clue - the average office worker is interrupted 202 times a day. Then Ecclesiastes 2 talks about anxious striving.

In the past, most people took two weeks off work, went back to work and were okay for a year. An Israeli study on burnout I read some time back showed that people take two weeks off a year, return to work and after three weeks in the job, they are on baseline burnout.

Living in overdrive is like overloading an electrical outlet and blowing a fuse. It happens when anxiety grows for fear of being unable to accomplish all the tasks at one's usually high standards. As anxiety grows, a sense of hopelessness sets in. Insomnia, especially awakening in the middle of the night and worrying about the uncompleted tasks, leaves one exhausted the next morning. Many are exhausted but do not drop activities because they want to avoid the stigma of being a quitter.

Watch Out For

The symptoms are insomnia, depression, anxiety, and chest pain. For some it is migraine headaches, withdrawal, irritability and work dread.

The thing is we have got threshold line called a 24-hour day. Health problems are nature's way of saying, "slow down". God designed our bodies to be very adaptable. He also invented the stress mechanism. Low or no stress can be very boring. Hyper-stress can make a person very sick.

When we are going too fast, we cross a line of dysfunction called hurry. This hurry sickness is the new epidemic in urban society. When we are going at the speed of light, there isn't time to think, reflect and pray.

Some times it is the schedule. Sometimes it is an internal workaholic compulsion. Overload takes the spiritual vitality out of us. When God taps us on the shoulder, and we give him the busy signal. We don't have any more emotional fuel to give to family or friends.

Usually the hardworking, previously optimistic people are most prone. They are most often asked to take on extra roles. Know any one like that?

Defusing the Overloaded Life

That Israeli study shows we can't store up all our needs for holidays. We got to learn the secret of renewal on an ongoing basis. Here are three ways to restore emotional, physical, spiritual and time reserves to overloaded lives.

01. Come to Christ

He offers solutions to those whose lives are out of control.

Jesus: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Jesus offers resources to make our lives worth living. He says, "Come to me." When you feel depleted and wonder how you will face another day; tell Jesus how you feel. Recover some green pastures and still waters where He restores your soul.

The habit of quiet keeps balance in a frantic world. Schedule conversation times where you offload stresses unto the shoulders of Jesus and leave them there. Prayer times can be therapeutic. Enjoy time with Jesus.

02. Learn from Christ

Jesus: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

Trusting Jesus is learned behaviour. And learning takes time. There is no quick fix for a life out of control. Jesus constantly withdrew from the frantic pace of ministry to a lonely place where he would recharge.

If we are angry, grumpy most of the time and dream of escape, these are the cries of our soul, reminding us of our limits. No one can continue running on empty and not suffer the consequences. Perhaps it's time to start learning the life of Jesus.

03. Rest like Christ

Jesus: "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Mathew 11:30

Schedule times for rest and for relationships. Jesus spent time in a safe house with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Friends save us from sinking under overload. Schedule times to be with family. This is our natural support system.

Hebrews 4:10 remind us that we need God's rest inside my soul and we also need physical rest. It's wise to rest like Christ.

In closing, we all live in overload from time to time. The point is not to live there all the time. This does not mean avoiding additional challenges when they can be managed adequately.

This means to ask God for an awareness of our priorities.

Have you noticed that ministry, for Jesus, was the person in front of him? He did not heal every sick person. He healed the person in front of him. He loved the person. Similarly God wants us to love this person in front of us. In the end, it's about love.

"This is all that I have learned: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated." Ecclesiastes 7:29 (Good News)

First published in The Christian Post Singapore. Online: