July 2018 | Volume 13| Issue 7 |
One Church’s Strategic Global Plan
Tae Pae leads the outreach ministries, known as Beyond Global and Beyond Local, at Grace Community Church in Fulton, MD. Earlier this year he presented a popular workshop at Catalyst’s Interchange Conference. We thought Postings readers would also benefit from an overview of how Grace approaches missions vision and strategy.
Grace is a large church with a lot of capacity for outreach. But they know they can’t do everything, and one of their core convictions is that they need to focus their efforts in order to make a major impact. Their single global priority is reaching unreached people groups (UPGs), but even that is too broad.
Grace currently focuses on unreached peoples in four countries: Turkey, China, Indonesia, and Jordan. In each country they have a well-defined ministry strategy. Where they are partnering with local believers, they have worked together to clearly spell out the vision and expectations of both Grace and their partners. Any worker that they own/send as a mid-term (at least two years), long-term (three-four years), or career (five+ years) worker is engaged in one of these four focus ministries. This sending is done in partnership with a mission agency.
Grace has two additional focus areas—El Salvador and Uganda. Because these two nations are considered “reached nations,” Grace sends only short-term teams to these countries.
Three Categories of Workers
Because they are committed to wisely steward the people and financial resources God has entrusted to them, Grace has defined three categories of potential new workers raised up from their congregation.
Workers Grace “owns”:
These are people going to work with a UPG in one of their four focus countries. After being approved and blessed by Grace’s elders, they receive 20% of both their monthly and outgoing support from the church budget. They are also assisted in raising the rest from individuals in the church because they and their ministry are introduced from the platform and the Grace congregation is urged to pledge support. A meet-and-greet reception provides opportunities for getting better acquainted. The last worker Grace sent in this “owned” category raised her support within three months.
Workers Grace “catalyzes”:
These are people going to work with a UPG not in one of Grace’s four focus nations. They are blessed and given 15% support but not highlighted from the platform. However, they are encouraged to recruit Grace small groups to pray and support them. If they return for a second term, Grace might consider adding their country/ministry as a focus area if it is in the 10/40 window.
Workers Grace “blesses”:
These are people who are going to work in a place where the gospel is already freely accessible. Grace provides a one-time gift of 10% of their first year’s support. They can raise additional funds from small groups and individuals in the church with whom they are already personally connected.
Country Focuses Leadership
For each of the focus areas, a team has been recruited to work with Tae in leading Grace’s involvement in that location. Two people or couples co-lead each team, a guideline designed to avoid leader burnout. Leaders from each of the focus areas gather together once a month with Tae for brainstorming, planning, and problem solving.
Grace sends two short-term teams to each strategic focus area each year. A member of the focus leadership team usually leads these short-term trips because they already have significant understanding of, and expertise in, ministry in that region. Grace covers the leader’s full trip cost. People who participate on a short-term team often come back and volunteer to join the focus leadership team.
The global engagement piece:
Each team recruits 12 of Grace’s small groups to adopt the workers in their focus country. Each small group is assigned to write to the field workers once each year, so they get a personal letter from a group in their church each month. (If there are less than 12 groups for that country, they get a letter less frequently.) The small groups also purchase supplies requested by the workers and send them with the short-term teams when they go.
Prayer for their focus ministry and workers is a key responsibility of the small groups every time they meet. Each month the field workers are responsible to email Grace a specific prayer request as well as answers to previous requests. Tae compiles these and circulates them to each group. Including answers to prayer is key to keeping groups engaged in intercession. Tae regularly hears comments from small-group members who are excited because they can see God answering their prayers.
When the workers come on home assignment, the focus team helps to find housing, a vehicle, or other needed assistance like occasional babysitting or a nice dinner out. They plan an evening reception for the whole church to come and be updated. And they mobilize the small groups to schedule meetings with the workers while they are home to reinforce relationships.
Missionary care is a responsibility that Tae carries himself. He visits each of the focus fields at least biannually to meet individually with the workers there, assessing their ministry and personal all-round health, and providing pastoral care.
The local engagement piece:
This effort varies from country to country. For example, in the Turkey focus, the local element is helping a Muslim refugee family in their community. They also organize training related to Muslim friendship and evangelism.
For the China team, the local engagement is partnering with a Chinese church to do outreach to Chinese students and visiting scholars at Johns Hopkins University. Families are encouraged to adopt a student and host them for holidays in their home. They throw parties and host summer picnics to build bridges, and they invite them to church after relationships are developed.
Grace’s Pathway to Missions
Grace is constantly working to identify and send workers to work with UPG ministries in their four focus areas. Whenever Tae meets with someone interested in global service, he helps them see where they are on the church’s missions pathway. (Download PDF of Grace’s Pathways to Missions Chart)
This practical assessment tool helps them to fairly easily determine the best level of service, their readiness, and next steps.
Short Term Trips
Grace also has a very structured pathway for short-term ministry opportunities which are limited to their six focus nations. These are very intentionally set up to provide progressively more challenging ministry experiences as youth mature. (Download PDF of Grace’s Beyond Impact Trip Pathway Chart)
As illustrated on this chart, elementary and junior-high children can participate with their parents in ministry in El Salvador. These introductory trips are reserved for first-timers.
Trips to Uganda are available for high-school and adult participants. College students and adults can join teams going to Turkey, China, Indonesia, or Jordan.
Grace’s message to their people is clear: “Impacting the world is a critical part of our mission as a family of faith. Come find your place to serve others and share the love that we have been given in Christ.”
What is the impact? Recently one of their field workers wrote, “I sometimes think the only reason we can stay here is because of the support and prayer from our friends in Maryland—that’s for sure what has sustained us lately.”
Tae Pae has served as a pastor for over 25 years, 12 as a missions pastor. During two years of living among the unreached Thai people in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he developed a strategic plan to reach young professionals and to mobilize a team from his sending church to carry out the vision. He has served as Beyond director at Grace Community Church in Fulton, MD, for the past three years.