“When we leave relationships out of missions, we are leaving out the best potential for true IMPACT.  IMPACTFUL missions are grounded in authentic relationships.  They are no longer about the anonymous giving of stuff.  When two or more are gathered, Christ is with you.  Relational missions provide opportunity for the Holy Spirit to do its thing – IMPACT souls!  Missions without relationship reduces the opportunity for “Holy Moments.”

IMPACT! Reclaiming the Call of Lay Ministry
Kotan & Bradford

Missions (or service) with IMPACT are beyond transactions. Transactional missions/service are too often what we do as a church.  We write a check for a good cause.  We collect socks for school children.  We collect blankets for the under-housed.  We collect food for the local food pantry.  We collect gifts at Christmas time for the children in the community who otherwise wouldn’t have any.  All of these are really nice things to do for people. But they are purely transactionally-based.  We are missing a great opportunity to “see” people and to build relationships with the people who we are in ministry with.

When we move beyond transactions, we can become relational.  This is also a shift from passive service/missions to active service/missions. It is the opportunity to be face to face with people.  When we are fully present with the people with whom we are in ministry, we can have experiential and relational IMPACT!  Missions is not what we do “to” or “for” people.  True missional ministries that are about the Great Commission (which is why the church exists), is how we build relationships with new people. 

As the church we should be offering something different than other charitable organizations.  Afterall, what makes us different is that we are a faith-based organization. Why we do what we do is way beyond offering charity.  Why we do what we do is about sharing the Good News with our neighbors.  As we seek to move from missions/service for “those people” to relational missions/service, we move from doing “charity work” to authentic mission engagement with our neighbors and with our community.  We care for souls, individuals, and the lives of those we desire to build authentic and transparent relationships with because we genuinely care about them. As a faith community and as individual disciples, we take responsibility for the needs of our community and the souls who do not yet know Christ.

Take an inventory of your church’s mission/service projects or initiatives. How many are truly relational?  How many are focusing on building relationships with the neighbors surrounding the church?  How are lives being transformed in your community because of the relational service your faith community is providing?  Might you consider reducing the number of mission initiatives your church focuses on so that you can become more relational?  What shifts will you make in the next sixty days?