“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:16
As we consider the continued development and effort to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth” we marvel at what God has done and what we believe God will continue to do through us as his people. We are incredibly humbled at the purposefulness with which our lives are filled through the mission of spreading the gospel message of Jesus to all the world.
To this end, and in the spirit of Ephesians 4:16, we fully believe that the greatest opportunity for impact we, as a fellowship will achieve, is in working faithfully together under one vision of global impact. We strongly believe that our continued and future efforts to connect, learn from each other, and spur one another on in this great effort will be crucial for victory in an effort to proclaim him to all nations. As we strive forward in this great cause we offer these conceptual options as a next step in the development of our mission’s vision. This proposal is based in the fact that there are currently foundational needs across our fellowship that must be addressed.
The Global Missions Task Force was appointed in response to the some of the strongest areas of consensus expressed by the 2400 leaders who participated in the 34 regional family leadership meetings to discuss our future as a movement as ICOC 3.0.
- 90% felt we should be a global movement
- 77% felt we should be organized globally in some way
- 86% were concerned by our present growth rate
The Needs of the Hour
- CONNECTION – In talking with many of the directors and members of our 14 mission societies one of the most expressed needs is for that of connection. In considering this proposal the task force put great weight on how to connect our global mission’s effort on three levels:
- Connecting the Mission Societies to each other in an effort to bring unity, oneness of vision, best practices, training and progress updates.
- Connecting every church to the mission’s effort in order to ensure that we are most effectively and efficiently supporting and being supported in this effort. Second, that we develop a sustainable and explainable long-term plan for connections between giving churches and receiving mission fields.
- Connecting the inspiring message of missions to the hearts of every disciple. We hope to invigorate across our fellowship a tone of inspiration for global impact that leads to more plantings, greater financial support and leaders being raised up and sent out.
- EDUCATION/AWARENESS – We believe that our continued and future efforts to educate and create awareness among Mission Societies for the purpose of spurring one another on will be crucial for victory in an effort to carry his Word into all the world.
- A need: From the general membership in our churches to the mission societies themselves, we may not be adequately educated nor fully aware of the needs and progress across the world. We believe there needs to be greater awareness made regarding one another’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, influence and best practices… We need better education and awareness, among our Mission Societies and to each disciple in the ICOC.
- COMMUNICATION – One thing the survey made very clear: There’s no doubt that communication is a problem, and that people would like for us to improve.We believe that uninformed churches will gradually become unconcerned churches. The survey showed that communication is both desired and needed. The time to improve our communication infrastructure is now.
- We’d like to see news videos shown more often, annual video reports produced, and churches focused on inspiring and educating their membership with both news and information.
- We need to direct people toward Disciples Today in an effort to update and communicate.
- We need to ramp up our use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- The Communication Task Force is presenting a plan on how to finance this. Please refer to their proposal.
Global Missions Direction: Proposed Options
We are proposing three philosophical approaches including four conceptual models to consider for our future direction.
Self-Governance Approach – Mission Society Self-Governance Model
- While we currently have a spirit to cooperate, the mission societies largely operate independently of one another. In this model the connections, sharing of best practices, sharing of resources (people or financial) is done at the invitation or initiation of one Mission Society to another.
- This option would not recognize the need for an oversight council or task force but rather empowers the executive teams of each mission society to initiate and/or coordinate connection and communication.
- Annual reporting and annual meetings would be at the willing and voluntary participation of each mission society.
- Would require increased communication and connection between mission society directors.
- Under this model our global mission goals and vision would be the sum total of what each mission society has decided.
Cooperation Approach – Global Task Force Model
- This model reinforces or officially recognizes the need for a coordinating task force to connect and help in the ongoing development of the 14 Mission Societies.
- Acting as a sub-committee of the service teams this task force would be made up of trusted leaders whose charge would be to serve and facilitate the connection, education, and communication of each mission society to all of the others.
- The task force would answer to the service teams on behalf of the mission societies accounting for annual progress toward stated goals, global needs in the mission’s effort.
- The task force would organize an annual meeting for the purposes of training, strategy, parity of resource allocation and reporting.
Cooperation Approach – Missions Service Team Model
- This model would create a new Missions Service Team to embrace the current Service Team model in which our global leadership functions. The current 10 Service Teams are formed based on ministry focus priorities on the global scale.
- In this model, in coordination with the other service teams, trusted leaders would be chosen to form a new service team specifically focused on the global mission’s effort.
- This model allows for an integration point among the service teams for representation of the 14 mission societies.
- Like the other service teams the chair of this new service team would represent the effort to train, facilitate, coordinate, and drive the mission societies to a common vision.
Governance Approach – Global Governance Council Model
- This model proposes the formation of a legally recognized governing body of trusted leaders to oversee, coordinate, facilitate, and account for the mission’s efforts coming out of the 14 Mission Societies.
- This governing body would organize and drive the agenda of annual gatherings of representatives of every Mission Society.
- This model would account for and report on all resources being collectively allocated for the mission’s efforts around the world. Answering to the delegates and to the service teams, this council would help drive a vision of impact and resource parity in the global effort.
As part of the development of these thoughts and proposals our group was able to reach out to and have conversations with many of the 14 mission society members and directors. One of the common desires expressed by these leaders was that we strive to find connection from one mission society to another to develop opportunities for sharing, training, and influencing each other forward.
PRAYERFUL OUTCOMES: Though not a part of these proposed next steps, we believe that the future will lead us to other important developments within the mission society structure: Schools of missions attached to every mission society, common standards, metrics to success, clear best practices, mission’s support parity, and clearly stated goals for future eldership development, future evangelists and women’s ministry leaders, growth, and expansion through plantings.
May God be glorified in our considerations of how to move forward. May God give us the wisdom to pursue unity and impact in the years ahead.
Global Missions Task Force
- Chairman – AT Arneson, Chicago – Evangelist; Chairman, Midwest Family of Churches; Evangelist Service Team
- William Auki, Nairobi – Evangelist; Chairman, East Africa Family of Churches; Evangelist Service Team
- Ron Conkling, Tampa – Evangelist; Chairman, Florida Family of Churches
- Larry Craig, New York – Elder, Region leader; Elder Service Team
- Tess Fontenot, Sydney – Women’s Ministry Leader
- Vince Hawkins, Columbia, Missouri – Evangelist; Chairman, Heartland Family of Churches
- Rafael Lua, Los Angeles – Evangelist/Region leader; Chairman, Southwest US Family of Churches
- Paul Ramsey, South Carolina – Administrator; African Missions Association; Statistician
- Mike Taliaferro, San Antonio – Evangelist; Chairman, Texas Family of Churches; Evangelist Service Team
- Jeff Wong, Hong Kong – Evangelist; Chairman, China Family of Churches; Evangelist Service Team
- Chris Zillman, Chicago – Evangelist; Chairman, ICOC Campus Service Team