Looking at our congregations, we may wish that we could magically create a mission-shaped congregation with one event, one sermon, or one service-project.

The challenge is that most life change doesn’t happen overnight! Running a marathon, for example, takes months of training. Daily practice slowly shapes muscles and develops endurance until running 26.2 miles is possible. Becoming a mission-shaped congregation takes many small steps, all headed in the right direction.

I encourage you and your church to consider some small steps that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will develop a mission-shaped congregation over the course of this year:

Go on neighborhood prayer walks.

In teams of two, walk the streets of a particular neighborhood on a regular basis, praying for wherever you see the Holy Spirit at work, bringing unity and healing, as well as asking for God’s intervention where there is brokenness and division.

Take a city leader to lunch.

Invite the mayor, a police officer, or a school administrator to lunch, and ask them about their work. Ask them where they see your city hurting, and where they see hope. Listen for where the Holy Spirit is at work. Let what you learn shape your prayers and your actions in your community.

Develop a deeper connection with a missionary.

Which missionaries does your church support? These courageous people have a lot to teach us about how they are sharing the gospel in a secular context. Invite them into your next Outreach Team conversation via video call to see what you can learn from them. We can provide you with contact information for any Resonate missionary.

Visit a church plant or campus ministry.

Church plants and campus ministries are a testimony to the spiritual transformation that is happening around us today—right in your neighborhood! Every church planter and campus minister would love to share their ministry with you and tell you what God is doing among and through them. Their evangelistic fervor is contagious!

Go on a service-learning trip.

Resonate has opportunities for short-term volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups. Members of your congregation can get hands-on experience working alongside ministry leaders throughout the world. Bring what you learn home and apply it to your own community.

Host an adult education workshop.

Resonate Regional Mission Teams are available to lead short workshops in your church that provide practical tools for engaging your neighborhood. Invite us to come show you how to map your neighborhood, develop simple experiments, or view the demographics of your community.

Include a practical preaching application.

Sermons should always include a practical application of hope and grace. As you develop this portion of your sermon, ask yourself another question: how would a member of your church voice this hope and grace to his or her neighbor?

Host a book discussion.

Invite a small group to read a missional living book with you, and to reflect on the lifestyle changes it encourages you to make. Suggestions: Surprise the World, Art of Neighboring, Sentness: Six postures of missional Christians, Six Word Lessons to Discover Missional Living, The Tangible Kingdom, Right Here Right Now, The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations.

Pray daily.

List five people who do not have a relationship with Jesus and pray daily for their spiritual growth. Download or request a prayer card to hand out to your congregation to join you in prayer.

Have questions or want to connect with us on any of these steps? Contact your Resonate regional mission leader. You can find his or her contact information by clicking on your region here: https://www.resonateglobalmission.org/what-we-do/regions.

Written by Amy Schenkel, Resonate Global Mission Great Lakes Regional Mission Leader