Five principles for off-site mission

While the Multichannel Church isn’t unique in its commitment to mission, it does have a particular way of undertaking mission.

That way reinforces the congregation’s thrust out into the community, its drive for diversification, and its desire to engage people for whom Sunday worship isn’t a high priority.


Give away people, not funds

All churches are tempted to do mission by giving away money, either through ad hoc offerings, budgeted funds or special accounts. The Multichannel Church understands that lives are transformed when people “get their hands dirty” rather than just write a check.

Hands-on mission exposes people to needs and their human dimension, which in turn lead to self-examination and repentance, as well as seeing cultural and economic issues in a new way.

That exposure broadens their understanding of faith and God’s agency in the world. It counteracts the tendency in churches to turn inward and to narrow the scope of caring.


Build partnerships

The Multichannel Church resists the natural inclination to go it alone. It does mission in partnership with others, both with those inclined to give and with those needing to receive. These partnerships establish a mutuality of caring and discourage the hierarchical instinct common to faith communities.

Partnerships deepen awareness of the larger community and break down the insularity that plagues Sunday-only congregations.


Let people, not an institution, take the credit

Churches make an impact when outsiders see people engaged in selfless activity, not when the institution uses mission to build its reputation. The Multichannel Church applauds people for caring, and lets them tell others the story of how their faith and their companions in faith make it possible.


Tell life-transformation stories

Congregations sometimes promote their efforts by counting dollars given, meals served, or houses built. While those metrics certainly matter to congregational leaders for measuring impact, the more persuasive message for the larger world to hear is one of lives being transformed.

Off-site mission needs to have an active communications strategy and can engage networking tools to help people hear each other’s life-transformation stories.


Do ministry that responds to actual needs

Faithful people have opinions, and many turn their opinions into ideology. They look for ways to promote their ideology. Mission can seem a promising opportunity to do that.

We can serve better when we assess and respond to actual needs, leaving ideology to fend for itself. Opinions tend to splinter communities, whereas shared hands-on mission unites them.

This approach to mission turns a spotlight on people and their stories that will lead others to wonder, “Who are these Christians? Look at how they serve.”