No one plans to fail… they just fail to plan.  Do you have a plan for your ministry?  A good plan helps you understand what you need to do to accomplish your goals and helps you make decisions about time, staff, and finances.  Planning allows you to do things now to make these future events a reality.  But how do you develop a plan?  There are two basic types of plans – strategic plans and action plans.  Strategic plans (or master plans) are documents that establish ministry objectives for several years and determine the direction of your ministry.  Often these plans are made in special planning meetings by the senior leaders with input from various stakeholders.  Action plans are plans to carry out specific parts of the overall strategic plan.  These include plans for programs and events, such as camps, conferences, training events, or other projects.  Below are some resources from CIVICUS that can help you plan more effectively.


Bible Story Cloth

cbsclothHave you used a Chronological Bible Storying cloth?  This cloth is designed is designed to communicate Bible stories to oral learners.  It contains color illustrations of 42 key Bible stories.  The cloth is easy to take on missions trips, hang on a wall, and also works great for small groups, Sunday School, or family devotions.

Order from the IMB
Download the Story Guide (docx)
Download the Story Guide (pdf)

Church Planting Movement Articles

Would you like to learn more about how churches are rapidly reproducing?  The March-April 2011 issue of Missions Frontiers focused on church planting movements, or CPMs.  Articles describe the phenomenon, provide examples from several contexts, give the current number, and describe how one is accessed.  Follow the links below to read the articles or download the entire issue as a PDF.

Are You Ready to Partner?

How do you know if you are ready to partner with a particular church, missionary team, or organization?  In While You Were Micro-Sleeping, Steve Moore asks six questions to determine a partnership fit.  Watch the video.

  1. Theology: How much of your theology do others need to agree with before you can partner with them?
  2. Philosophy: How much of your philosophy do others need to agree with before you can partner with them?
  3. Authority: How much of authority, or we could say control, do others need to relinquish (in terms of decision making or finances) before you can partner with them?
  4. Strategy: How much of your strategy – in terms of goals (what) and methods (how) – do others need to agree with before you can partner with them?
  5. Publicity: How much of the publicity (in terms of promotional materials or progress reports) needs to have your corporate identity in order for you to partner with them?
  6. Chemistry: How much of the other leader’s (or team’s or organization’s) personality do you have to be compatible with before you can partner with them?

Levels of Partnership

Are you struggling with the decision of whether you should partner with other missionaries and Great Commission Christians?  They seem like great people with a similar passion and burden, but you do differ in secondary doctrines or ministry methods.  Is it worth it to work together to accomplish more than we could alone?  What if someone saw you working with this other group and assumed that you believed everything they believe?  There are extremes to avoid, but how to we live with this tension?  Here is a framework presented in the book To The Ends of the Earth, by Jerry Rankin.  The idea is that all partnerships are not created equal.  While an Anglican and Baptist are not likely to plant a church together, they may partner in research and publication.  Similarly, missionaries will only partner with non-Christian organizations to a point where both groups goals are being achieved and no group is uncomfortable with another.

  • Level 1 – purpose: access to people; principle: creativity to gain access
  • Level 2 – purpose: open doors for gospel impact; principle: opportunities to build relationships
  • Level 3 – purpose: gospel presentation; principle: evangelical commitment
  • Level 4 – purpose: church planting; principle: doctrinal compatibility
  • Level 5 – purpose: leadership training; principle: complete agreement in doctrine and philosophy

A Higher Purpose: Manual for Tentmakers

Are you looking for a way to train national Christians to plant churches and live as missionary tent-makers?  Many Filipinos travel overseas for opportunities to work and are also sharing their faith and serving as tent-makers.  How does one person do this?  Is it possible for a regular low-level worker to even keep himself spiritually nourished, much less share his faith with others?  A Higher Purpose For Your Overseas Job was written for Filipino believers moving overseas.  It incorporates spiritual growth, evangelism, missions, and church planting in one easy to read manual.  Download the PDFBuy a printed copy.

On-the-job Development: What Gets in the Way?

Here is a great article about training, or coaching, missionaries on the field – also read the longer article in Momentum magazine.

On-the-job Development: What Gets in the Way?
by Dr. Keith E. Webb

Do you receive adequate help developing on-the-job?

Most non-profit workers say they receive adequate pre-field training, but inadequate on-the-job development. Continuous on-field development is a key factor in worker longevity and effectiveness. We know this, but it’s difficult to do.

Sending organizations point to a lack of experts, time and money constraints, geographical distance, or simply a lack of follow through.

  • Experts. By far, I hear leaders lament that there are just not enough experts to mentor all their field workers.
  • Time. Those who do have expertise are usually the ones with the busiest schedule and the most fruitful work. Many are reluctant to give time to newer expatriate workers instead of the local co-workers with whom they partner.
  • Money. Some sending organizations try to visit their staff once a year, and have their staff gather somewhere for a conference once a year. Twice a year simply isn’t effective for on-going development. Conferences tent to produce largely motivational and relational results, but the effect usually dissipates quickly after returning home.
  • Geography. Many workers live in remote locations. Organizational leaders are constrained by time and money in getting out to where their workers live.
  • Reality. Many organizations have coaching/mentoring plans that include regular monthly meetings. In reality, however, these plans often break down because of one of the above factors, or simply because the plan looks good on paper but it doesn’t work.

What’s the answer here? I believe the answer is in rethinking how we help people develop, where and how often that’s done, and who can do it.

Coaching is one answer to effectively develop workers on-the-job.

How about you?

  • How have you overcome these limiting factors?
  • What ways have you found to develop others on-the-field?

I’ve written up a few ideas in an article published this month in Momentum magazine. Read the article: “Coaching Workers

Copyright © 2010 Keith E. Webb & CRM

Dr. Keith E. Webb is a trainer and cross-cultural leadership coach helping non-profit organizations, teams, and individuals multiply their cross-cultural impact. Find more free articles at

Change in Missions

Steve Moore at The Mission Exchange has written a great article about change and our current environment in missions.  His purpose is to set the tone for the 2011 North American Mission Leaders Conference, but even those who aren’t planning to attend this event would be well served to give this article a read.  Steve argues that we are on the precipice of great change in missions.  Our world is rapidly changing and missions agencies are part of this change.  The economic times in which we live are those which have historically caused “reset” moments that brought about great change.  He explores three main concepts:

  • Sand Pile Effect (unpredictable interconnectedness) – how one small thing can cause an avalanche of change
  • IED Effect (asymmetrical influence) – how small, unestablished organizations can be major players
  • Jailbreak Effect (open-source creativity) – how breakthrough ideas can come from those we don’t consider experts

He asks three key questions:

  • How do we fund the Great Commission?
  • How do mission organizations and local churches work together in the Great Commission?
  • How does the North American church relate effectively with the church in the majority world?

Read the Article (PDF)

Technology: Is It Changing Missions?

The June/July 2010 edition of Lausanne World Pulse has several good articles on the theme of the way technology is changing missions.  Follow the links below or download the entire edition as PDF.

How Technology Is Changing, or Should Change, the Way the Gospel Is Shared
By Dion Forster
Social media and networking are challenging us to transform the way in which we engage the world with the love of Jesus.

The Inseparable Bond of Technology & Mission
By Nick Nicholaou
The trends of text messaging and Twitter point in the direction of things to come—namely, mobile computing. What does this mean for the Church and how it fulfills its mission?

Ten Ways the Internet Is Changing Evangelism and Missions
By John Edmiston
The very heart of how we minister is being changed forever in at least ten significant areas.

The 21st Century Roman Road: How Technology Is Changing Missions
By Troy Carl
The digital “Roman road” has been built. The Lord has provided a way to spread the good news to places otherwise unreachable.

The Challenge of Keeping Up with Technology for Ministry
By Robby Richardson
The Church needs “pioneer missionaries” who understand the culture and can use current media and technology to effectively communicate the gospel.

Making Disciples of Oral Learners

Making Disciples of Oral LearnersMaking Disciples of Oral Learners is a short book that gives a basic yet comprehensive overview of the reasons and methods related to ministry among oral learners.   By the term oral learners they mean “those people who learn best and whose lives are most likely to be transformed when instruction comes in oral forms.”  The book concludes with a glossary that will help the reader understand key terms related to orality.  Click here to download the PDF version of the book.