Missions is often understood in the form of short-term service-oriented projects, such as medical missions or disaster relief or building projects. Being church planting missionaries to a first-world country, it can be challenging to explain exactly what we will do. What does daily life and ministry look like for a church planter or missionary in a first world country such as France? I struggled with this question too when the Lord first called me to serve in France.
Since we are not there yet, I cannot share with you with precision what our daily life will look like, but I can offer our vision and plan, and then I can give examples of what our ministry could look like.
Our Ministry Vision
Establish Church Planting Movements through Evangelism and Discipleship.
Equip French believers in the Great Commission.
Penetrate the darkness of France with the Light of Christ.
To begin this process, it is vitally important to have a firm grasp on the language and culture. Our first year will be spent attending a French language school. Our plan is to attend a Christian language school, so that we not only learn the language and culture but also learn how to share the Gospel. Our girls will be immersed in the language and culture also by attending public school in France.
We will also intern with a French church or church planter to gain first-hand experience in church planting, French church life, how church looks and operates, and how we can best use our gifts to serve the French church.
After our time in language school, we will use our project management and administrative skills to help the team establish a mobilization office/base.
What is a Mobilization Base?
(Official definition from Pioneers)
A mobilization base in partnership with local churches serves as the sending base for Pioneers missionaries from that country (or region). A mobilization base partners with churches in the recruitment, preparation, appointment, care and servicing of its own Pioneers workers. Each mobilization base is governed by a board, which provides legal and financial accountability. Each mobilization base is legally autonomous, and enters into ministry fellowship with other Pioneers mobilization bases.
Some of the responsibilities of a mobilization base include:
• In partnership with churches, prayerfully mobilize (recruit, assess, train, appoint and assist) career and short-term missionaries for service with Pioneers.
• Provide quality service for personnel deployed by the mobilization base, including such services as handling financial affairs, member care, ongoing training, home assignment assistance and debriefing to those returning to their home country.
• Develop and maintain effective constituency relationships with churches, donors, training institutions and the Christian community.
What is Church Planting and Church Planting Movements (CPM)?
In the simplest terms, it is evangelizing and creating disciples as Jesus commanded us. And then, we gather those disciples together in a community, a local expression of the body of Christ. Disciples are equipped to become leaders in this new local church so that missionaries are no longer needed.
Church planting movements take this process to the next step and builds multiplication into the DNA of the local church and local believers. Every disciple is a disciple-maker. Every church equips and sends to multiply the gospel in its community, culture, and abroad, so that new communities of believers can take root and continue to multiply.
Daily Life and Ministry
After language school, our job will be setting up this mobilization office. Our girls will attend the public schools there. Though we will have this job and a church internship, our main purpose is always to create disciples. Right now we cannot with certainty how this will look for us, but we have seen some great examples. It all depends on people, community, and discovering best ways we can connect with them.
Here are some ideas from what other people are doing:
- Street evangelism
- Bible tables - giving away Bible near universities
- Feeding the homeless on the streets
- Engaging people in conversation in cafes to build relationships and share the Gospel
- Teaching American baking classes
- Building relationships with people at children's schools, frequently-visited markets and cafes
- Joining "associations" or clubs, teams, choirs, etc. Such as Gospel choir, softball team, dance groups, board game club.
After establishing relationships, having spiritual or Gospel centered conversation and inviting them to explore the Bible together or join an existing Bible study. Eventually bringing these new disciples together to walk out their Christian faith in the form of a church.