Over the past decade or so of working with churches, I've noticed a curious tendency for leaders to think of things in either/or terms. For example, "should we invest in local outreach OR global missions?" "Should our ministry focus on word OR deed?" "Should we reach out to get new members OR should we take care of our own members?" My answer to many of these questions is, "yes."
Often they are not either/or questions, but rather polarities to be managed. In the context of missions, it is often helpful to develop an Acts 1:8 portfolio. I was introduced to this concept through sixteen:fifteen training (as you can tell, this organization really likes to reference Bible verses!)
In a nutshell, they suggest charting your outreach efforts in the following categories:
1. Jerusalem (Like us, neighbors)
Examples would include people in the church, children in the community. Often there is direct involvement.
2. Judea (Like us, farther away)
Examples would include local college/university students, classis ministries, and the like.
3. Samaria (Not like us, neighbors)
Examples in this category would include teen moms, homeless, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others with whom there is direct involvement.
4. To the ends of the earth (Not like us, farther away)
This category would include unreached people groups and Christians in other countries.
How does your church balance local and global outreach?