Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Churches with Old Missions Agencies

I have noticed is that the vast majority of churches who have seen any significant grow in the last 15 years are churches that were started in the last 15 years. There are lots of big older churches around but few of these have actaully grow significantly in the last 15 years. Most of these older large churches experienced their growth in 30 to 50 years ago and have been declining or plateaued ever since.

The world of missions seems to be experiencing a similar trend. Most missions agencies are more than 15 years old. Most missions agencies are not seeing significant growth on most of their fields, even though they may have experienced significant growth in previous years.

So how are the new churches investing in missions? It seems that most of these churches continue to support the old missions agencies, but there also seems to be a trend toward sending out individuals from their own churches.

I have a thought on this. I believe for the church to regain its missions effectiveness in the world, we will need to see a growth of new missions organizations. I think that they will be more specialized and smaller micro missions agencies that can more effectively reach specific regions. And they will be made up and led by young people.

For some reason it appears that the church has skipped generations of leadership and has today's churches being led with a 1950's mentality. I'm not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with this group or their methods, but they don't seem to motivate the young people in the church and they don't seem to interest the young people outside of the church.

With Catalyst Europe we are seeking to be one of those new micro missions, but we came early to the dance. Hopefully what we are doing now will one day be seen as pioneering. We are looking for young people who want to be a part of a young missions organization targeting young Europeans. We want young people to dream with us and pioneer with us.

I would love to hear your thoughts.


tony sheng said...

Ken, I totally agree with you in the gap between young people and older mission agencies. It certainly is something that needs to be addressed if we are to keep sending people to the places where the Church is under resourced.

I spent some time with Christian Associates this summer - you probably know them well since you are engaged with France. They seem to embody some neat values like risk, experimentation, empowerment and leadership development - all values that are going to appeal to young people.

My take is that if we start new mission agencies, they should operate along those same kinds of values.

Ken Witcher said...


You're right on. Values like risk, experimentation, and leadership development are crucial.

They key is to always keep these values fresh. Too often we take a risk and experiment with a concept and stick with it. We must be fluid enough to modify what we are doing as God shows us changes taking place around us. And we must continually reinvest in our young people. They know better than anyone how to reach their own generation.

Love what CAI is doing and have some friends going to Belgium with them in 08. They have struggled in Paris but they have modified their approach and are doing some new things in the last couple of years. Look forward to opportunities to work with them in the future.