Some of the world’s greatest social ills such as poverty, hunger, joblessness, and disease are still prevalent after decades of generous and sacrificial giving from caring people around the world. We have brought short-term relief and individual betterment to many of the world’s most vulnerable but the improvements are typically short-lived. If we hope to see lasting change, we will have to change our ways. More of the same methods will simply produce the same outcomes – improvements that are unsustainable and progress that won’t last. The Church needs a missional upgrade.
Status Quo Church Missions
Historically church missions have been about mobilizing money (Missions 1.0) and people (Missions 2.0) toward relief and betterment efforts that provided urgent comfort, care, and stability for those in crisis. However, those efforts alone do little to solve core social problems in lasting, sustainable ways. In fact, untethered relief and betterment creates dependencies that can actually leave people worse off. It is an unintended consequence of the good and meaningful work of traditional Church missions.
There is another unintended consequence of status quo missions that especially impacts many of the business people of our churches. The absence of adequate structures and strategies for sustainable and transformational solutions (Missions 3.0) cause those who think strategically to simply check-out. As a result, they go elsewhere with their gifts, networks and resources and the church loses their efforts and abilities.
In short, status quo missions simply won’t deliver lasting improvements, on their own nor will it keep those most capable of helping the church come up with sustainable solutions on board. The structures and strategies that define Missions 3.0 are key to tapping into the business minds of your church to help you move your missions work toward doing good in sustainable ways.
Four Reasons Why the Church is Best Positioned to Champion Transformative Solutions that are Sustainable?
A pragmatic argument for why the Church is one of the best positioned enterprises in the world to make significant gains that are both transformative ANDsustainable against our world’s biggest problems:
- The Church is the greatest mobilizer of philanthropic giving in the world.
- The Church is the greatest mobilizer of volunteers in the world.
- The Church is the first-in and longest-to-stay in difficult times and places.
- The Church is the greatest delivery system of social influence in the world.
With these four realities the church has proven itself to be one of the best organizations in existence at delivering emergency relief and individual betterment. Now, at a time when the world is desperately looking for new and sustainable ways of helping people in need the church has the opportunity to lead the way. Using the same four strengths that have served the church and world so well we must begin to champion sustainable community development efforts that leave whole communities, not just individuals, better off and able to provide for themselves? In fact, all evidence points to the fact that unless the church (as well as other philanthropic efforts) makes this transition their missional efforts will become unwelcomed especially among the poor because we can no longer afford to engage in helping that ultimate hurts by creating more dependencies. This missional upgrade of Church missions is what we call Missions 3.0 (M3.0).