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Strategy-coordinator churches: new wave in global outreach

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–First Baptist Woodway in Waco, Texas, typifies an exciting new phenomenon in international missions: the strategy-coordinator church.

What is a strategy-coordinator church?

“It’s a church that is owning the task of taking the Gospel to an unengaged people group,” says Ken Winter of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s church services team. “It is making a commitment that says, ‘We, under God’s leadership, are going to do whatever it takes to see this people coming to Christ, being discipled and churches being planted that will lead to other churches being planted’” — and, ultimately, to a church-planting movement that sweeps through a population.

Winter counts about 40 Southern Baptist churches now actively committed to reaching specific people groups and cities around the world that aren’t being touched by any missionary or evangelical group. Many more churches are asking how they can get involved in reaching unengaged peoples.

Strategy-coordinator churches vary in size and type, from large congregations with multiple mission commitments to much smaller bodies focused on a single task.

“It definitely is not limited to mega-churches,” Winter says. “I have a seen a church that averages 180 a week in worship take on this responsibility in the Amazon Basin.”

Some strategy-coordinator churches, such as Woodway, relate to missionaries already on the field, cooperating to reach a specific city or population within a larger people group. Others commit to reaching whole peoples not being engaged in any way by a missionary or missions team. Either way, the church takes primary responsibility for reaching its particular population or location — strategizing, guiding the work and mobilizing others to get involved.

What they all share is a vision for the world — and a need for training, mentoring and encouragement. Leaders from 23 strategy coordinator churches met earlier this year with IMB strategists to trade ideas and sharpen ministry models.

“I think it’s the wave of the future,” says IMB church services director Elvin McCann, himself a former missionary strategy coordinator. “There is no way we’re going to fulfill our overall strategy to get to all the peoples and all the cities apart from it. It’s a combination, where our missionaries reach out to their targets and churches come alongside to help fulfill the Great Commission.”
Could your church become part of the wave? To find out more, call IMB Church Services at 1-800-999-3113, ext. 7826.

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