Beyond: Into My World (2) - Missional Strategies

Next Step Discipleship, pp. 160–165

by David Daniels on

Books 9 min read
Micah 6:8 Matthew 28:18–20

To read the previous section of this chapter, see Beyond: Into My World (1) - Blessed to Bless.

5 Good Strategies
Once a Christian makes a personal commitment to global missions, they will quickly discover thousands of opportunities to engage.

In fact, the deluge of mission organizations and initiatives can be overwhelming for the disciple who simply wants to go BEYOND in the world. Recently, at Central Bible Church, we began to narrow our focus and direct our global missions sending and spending to five very strategic areas of greatest need:

Disciplemaking Among the Most Unreached
As noted above, 30% of the world still hasn’t heard the Gospel of Jesus. Rather than investing only in initiatives among the already-reached people, we have chosen to focus more and more of our attention on the least reached people of the world. To be sure, these areas may be more difficult and, because of security reasons, will likely require partnerships with specialized organizations. But, the investment is worth it.

Bible Translation Among the Bible-less
Among the 7000 languages spoken in the world today, fewer than 600 have a complete translation of the Old and New Testaments. One billion people have no part of the Bible translated into their language! While Bible translation used to take decades for each language, new tools have accelerated the process, making it possible for more people to have God’s Word in their mother tongue. In a few cases, churches may have gifted personnel who can help the Bible translation process. But, in most cases, a church participates in this strategy by financially adopting part or all of a project. Bible translation ministries expect that, by 2025, the last translation of the New Testament may begin!

Leadership Training
Leadership training is an integral part of reaching the unreached and getting the Bible into their languages. Fewer than 10% of pastors around the world have access to ministry training, and 85% of churches around the world are led by leaders with no formal theological training. A church that wishes to impact the world must begin by impacting leaders. Invest in training ministries and theological resources for pastors everywhere.

Global Justice
God’s people are called to “do justice” (Micah 6:8, Isaiah 61:8) because God always does what is just and right. Justice means caring for the needs of the vulnerable in such a way that their rights are protected and their lives are afforded dignity as those created in the image of God. This means alleviating modern day slavery and sex trafficking,  providing food and clothing to the most impoverished and serving the refugee.

Multiplying Healthy Churches
The Gospel is extended as new churches are planted. Missional churches don’t only plant multiple “branches” of themselves in their own region. They desire to see healthy churches planted even in the most remote and unchurched regions of the world. This Kingdom  mindset wishes to see the church grow, not just my church grow.

Stepping Out
It is a significant step for any follower of Jesus to move beyond themselves, into their local community and, eventually, into the world. This transition will not happen naturally or immediately for any church. There are several intentional steps that will help the missional disciple go global.

Affirm the biblical mandate. Search and discover God’s redemptive plan starting in Genesis 3 and moving to the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-5; see Beyond: Into My Church (1)). Notice how the Jews were “blessed to be a blessing” and how God has always had the nations in mind regarding His Kingdom. Emphasize the five “commissions” in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:47, John 20:21 and Acts 1:8. Remember that the Gospel is for the Jew and Gentile everywhere (Romans 1:16).

Make a personal commitment. For many years, our church had very little missional impact, and I was hired to reignite our missional fervor. Within 6 months of arriving, I and several lay leaders from our church travelled to China on a vision trip to explore mission opportunities for our church. I wanted our church to not only hear me speak about missions, but to see me model a mission commitment. If we want our spouse, our children and our Christian friends to catch a missional vision with us, we will have to model the mission first. You may start this journey alone before anyone joins you.

Start local. In the last chapter, we considered how we make an impact in our neighborhood and community. If we don’t serve locally, we will not likely expand our influence globally. Local ministry enables Christians to express their gifts and passions in an environment that is familiar and requires fewer resources. Often, as people are inspired by the effectiveness of their ministry in their community, they are more open to opportunities to serve further beyond.

Another benefit of local ministry is that, sometimes, God brings the nations to our doorstep. In larger urban areas, international students will study at universities or businesses will welcome foreign partners. Or refugees may be resettled in your city. What better way to be a blessing to the nations without leaving your country.

Pray for workers. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38). The emphasis is on the multiplication of workers for a ready harvest and the dependence on God to raise up laborers. But, in the very discipline of praying for these things, God sensitizes a congregation to this need and the Christian’s responsibility. There is no question that prayer moves God. But, when asked, “Does prayer change God?” a pastor responded, “Prayer changes me!” As disciples pray for the harvest fields and new workers, God may use prayers to impact those who are praying, cultivating a greater global perspective.

Make mission a financial commitment. You can start making an impact on the nations with your bank account. In addition to your faithful tithe to your church, identify missionaries and missions that are near to your heart. Jesus said that our money will follow our heart. At the same time, our heart will increasingly follow our financial commitment.

A Word About Going
Global missions requires great resource and much energy. So, it’s not surprising that some people will push back with excuses. The most common excuse I hear is, “Why would we focus on ministry in another country when there are so many needs in our city right here?”

There is, of course, some truth to this perception: There are many needs in our cities and our country. And, the Christian who cultivates a global vision shouldn’t neglect the ministry opportunities around them. Just because there is poverty in my community doesn’t mean I shouldn’t help people impacted by floods or tornadoes in another state. And, just because there are many people who don’t know Jesus here doesn’t give me reason not to take Jesus to others “over there.” There are any number of compelling reasons why the disciple of Jesus should have a global focus.

First, Jesus commanded it. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus charged His people to “make disciples of all nations.” To reach our neighbors only is to neglect the clear command of Jesus and the mission of God that all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Second, we have more resources. If you live in the United States, you may already know that we consume a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources. We have more pastors, seminary professors, books, programs and curriculums that other countries, especially those in the developing world. It is good and generous stewardship for God’s people to share their material, intellectual and personal wealth with the rest of the world.

Third, the need around the world is much greater than the need here. In the United States, especially, opportunities abound for people to encounter Christian influences and attend a church. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people are “more” Christian or that Christianity has the same influence that it once had. But, compared to many regions of the world which have become secularized or have little or no Christian witness, the United States is thoroughly saturated with ministry.

Finally, God uses experiences BEYOND to stretch us beyond our ordinary capacity. Global mission pushes the envelope of faith. And, those who venture into uncharted places get to witness God at work in extraordinary ways and grow in their relationship with Him.

In this chapter, the Christian is challenged to go BEYOND, into the world. Having confirmed that the Gospel is for every nation, tribe and tongue, and realizing there are still many unreached people around the world, the mission mandate is urgent. Therefore, each disciple must have a commitment to Gospel proclamation and Gospel demonstration. Five important areas of focus include making disciples among the most unreached, translating the Bible for the Bibleless, training leaders, practicing global justice and multiplying healthy churches everywhere.


  1. Why might some Christians/churches miss that the Gospel is intended for all people? Why do some neglect global missions?

  2. How do you feel knowing that there are so many unreached people in the world? What will you do with this information?

  3. Do you tend to default to Gospel proclamation or demonstration? Why? Why do you think it is important to have both? 

  4. Which of the five missional strategies is most exciting to you? How might you or your church begin to participate in one or more of these strategies?

  5. As you look at the steps toward becoming a missional disciple, which of them can you begin to implement immediately?

  6. What is the most important thing you learned from this chapter?

About the Author

Dr. David Daniels (D. Min. Dallas Theological Seminary, M. Div. Denver Seminary) is Lead Pastor of Central Bible Church and author of Next Step Church, Next Step Discipleship, Next Step JournalWonder, and An Unexpected King.