How to overcome hurdles to mission and outreach


Or how quadrilateral of negativity
can fall to triangle of action

By Jorge Navarrete
Conference Staff

I’ve been thinking about why more churches are not involved in fulfilling Jesus’ mandate contained in Matthew 25:31-46 to “do for the least of these.” I have narrowed it down to four hurdles or obstacles that, by the way, seem to apply to other areas of church work as well. I’ll call them the quadrilateral of negativity. And they are:

• Lack of leadership
• Lack of time
• Lack of faith
• Lack of knowledge

The first is the lack of someone stepping out in faith, someone who can help form and lead a group of willing folk by first organizing and directing and then motivating, supporting and affirming them in their assigned tasks. Chances are there may be more than one candidate in any given church who can do this job. You can enlist the help of the pastor, you can advertise in the newsletter and most importantly you can ask; if at first you do not succeed try, try again. Eventually you leader will come to the fore.

The second hurdle is the All-American malady: “There just isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do.” Since we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and since we seem to want to cram so much into it, then a good question to ask is can I really get to do well all that I want to do? And the follow-up questions would be what is important, what is not and how will I cut the unimportant to make room for the truly necessary?

I suppose that the third obstacle can be renamed “fear of failure.” This is a natural emotion which is hard wired into our psyches and prevalent in this age obsessed with winning and performance records. In doing God’s work, however, he has guaranteed “lo I will be with you always.”   

The four obstacle we can rename “I don’t know how to get started,” and the answer is simpler than one thinks — find the need, find the people and the resources to meet the need and you will be well on your way. What has your church done in the past? What worked; what didn’t? What is God telling us we need to do?

Now as to the “triangle of action.” This would include:

Praying that the Holy Spirit will be active in your midst helping you locate the need, the leader, the people and the resources needed to get your mission and outreach ministry active; and that in the act of obedience to do mission God will give you the faith and confidence needed as well as the time necessary

Giving not only of your treasure, but of your time and talents.

Doing the ministry that God charged you to do you will be a blessing as well as being blessed!

Call me and we’ll talk mission and outreach!

Navarrete serves on the conference staff a missions coordinator.