Pastor J.D. talks about creating a sending culture in the church by sending as many people as possible on short-term mission trips to open eyes to missional culture and principles.

A glimpse inside this episode:

First, let’s answer why we would want to create a sending culture in our churches. All of the promises Jesus gave about the church had to do with the church being raised up and sent outside its doors. God grows his church through multiplication. Paul’s entire strategy was centered around going to strategic cities and planting churches.

Then, let’s talk for a second about culture. Sometimes we go to a conference or read a book and then go home and try to implement what we learned. Nearly always, it fizzles out.

  • The French mystic Antoine de Saint Exupéry once said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” As people yearn for the salvation of the world they will start pushing for sending without you even doing anything formally. It is the preaching of the gospel that creates this yearning.

So, one very practical thing you can do to encourage a sending mentality is to send as many people on short-term mission trips as possible.

  • Few things open our eyes to missional living like spending time with missionaries overseas.
  • The more that mentality gets into the bloodstream of the church, the more church members become willing to apply missional principles to their own context.

During the first two years after our church’s re-launch, we sent an inordinate amount of our people and leaders overseas. It cost a lot of money and took up valuable time, but it did two things.

  • First, it raised the level of generosity in our church. Having seen the needs on the field, the people gave. The trips may have cost us a lot of money, but they paid for themselves many times over.
  • Second, it made our people ask themselves if we were laboring to reach our city the same way that missionaries overseas were laboring to reach theirs.

When you create a sending culture in your church, you will likely lose some of your best people to a church plant or a missions assignment. But don’t be afraid; the sending culture creates more leaders to take their place. It has worked for us like the five loaves and two fish: the more we give away, the more is multiplied and given back to us.