It’s been said that opportunity knocks but once. But if you’re a missions leader at a local church known for funding mission projects and partnerships, opportunities seem to knock just about every day.
Worthy opportunities can come in all shapes and sizes: a long-standing church member whose heart has been touched by a video from a ministry that feeds poor children; an elderly lady in your Bible study group whose granddaughter needs to raise money for her short-term mission trip; a former missionary who has a friend serving on the mission field with a special project that lacks funding …
Well, you get the idea. Opportunity knocks, and knocks, and knocks. But the problem caused by an abundance of well-intended missions opportunities is no laughing matter. Often, it drives churches to overcommit to too many things, and that translates to wasted resources–a hodgepodge of random activity yielding very little impact. The reality is, a local church simply can’t do everything. Money, time, focus, and energy are all resources with a definite limit.
Several years ago, when our church first faced this reality, we prayed for a way to sift through opportunities and steward God’s resources well. Our study of the New Testament led us to realize that we weren’t alone–that this has been a dilemma for the church since its inception.
But after much study, prayer, and trial and error, a set of principles began to emerge that we now refer to as the “missional matrix.” It’s given us a principled way to identify what God has equipped us to do and what missions opportunities to strategically support.