The Development of the Sending Church

When the people of God recognize that they are the community of God, the church of God carries out the mission of God.

The church on mission is a sending church and today I wrap up my series on the sending church.  But first, four questions:

  1. How is your oneness as a church expressed?
  2. Is the Lord giving your church more and more responsibility?
  3. To whom does your church show compassion?
  4. What are you, as an individual, a witness of?

These four questions point to four realities that are foundational in being a sending church:

Missional – a commitment to being the church

Compassionate – a desire to please God by showing mercy to others

Stewards – being responsible before God for what he has entrusted to you

Unity – a willingness to work together

When these four elements are present the outcome is astounding:  a church impacting the local and world communities in obedience to God.

Yes, this is the grand climax to my series on the sending church.  Let’s keep it simple and revisit the four parts, two adjectives and two nouns, of the foundation.


I am encouraged at today’s emphasis in church life on being missional.  Missional is fresh.  Missional is vibrant.  Missional is necessary.

Being missional means planting the gospel (to steal a phrase from my friend and colleague, Steve Valentine, Director of Recruitment for Converge Worldwide) among people like yourself as well as with potential believers across geographic, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.  It means going and sending and supporting others who are going and sending.

Jesus said, “…you shall be my witnesses…”

(Acts 1:8, NASB)

What are you, as an individual, a witness of?


Showing compassion is showing a heart for the application of the gospel to real people with real needs.  It means revealing a Jesus-soaked heart to the rest of the world.  We can talk mission all day long but if we don’t feel it and if we don’t show that we feel it we might as well go home.

“He (Jesus) felt compassion for them, because they were distressed

and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”

(Matthew 9:36, NASB)

To whom does your church show compassion?


Being good stewards focuses on taking care of the people God has given you.  It means fellowship and pastoral care in a local church.  It means relevant and responsible missionary care to your goers.  It means being responsible with all the resources God has entrusted to your church.  Without adequate stewardship, those who are sharing the gospel are in danger of dying on the vine.

Jesus taught the parable…

“Well done, my good servant, because you have been trustworthy in a

very small matter, take charge of ten cities.”

(Luke 19:17, NIV)

Is the Lord giving your church more and more responsibility?


Unity means that we don’t go it alone.  We choose to be missional together.  We choose to demonstrate compassion one to another, to steward each other.  Unity means that we go with God’s plan and not our own.

Jesus prayed “…that they may be one even as we are.”

(John 17:11, NASB)

How is your oneness as a church expressed?

Unity in mission?  Unity in compassion?  Unity in how you steward people?

The next step for this sending church material is to give you models of churches that are being effective sending churches.  The idea is not to replicate their model but to adapt it to your own context in a way that pleases God by being missional, blesses God’s creation by being compassionate, honors God’s people by being good stewards of those God has entrusted to you and expresses unity with the people of the glorious God.

When these models are complete, I will begin to share them with you.  Happy sending!

– Read the first two parts of this series:

  1. The Desire of the Sending Church – Do you want it?
  2. The Description of the Sending Church – How does God see it?
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3 Comments on “The Development of the Sending Church”

  1. dddamaris Says:

    I like this a lot. I’m glad I ran into your post. I’ll admit that for many of us stuck in our zone will actually feel little compassion for the unreached – perhaps not until we dare venture outside ourselves. This is true for my case.. whether it was reaching to middle class germans or serving in inner city dallas. Both of those cases, I didn’t feel a bit of compassion until I went and then I saw and then Jesus broke my heart.

    I’ve heard many people that have never stepped out of their world say things such as “Well, I’ll support the cause but I definitely don’t feel called to go.” It’s shocking when individuals dare step outside how different this “don’t feel called” mentality changes.

    Thank you for your post.


  2. Brian Stankich Says:

    DDDamaris, what an excellent word to ‘venture outside ourselves.’ Seeing is believing – many of us are like the disciple, Thomas.

    Remember the faith that it took though for you to step out. You may not have realized it as faith at the time, not until afterwards when you put two and two together, realizing the life you had been missing “pre-inner city.”

    When we begin to see, our faith is alighted anew, as if for the first time. But I think the faith was the impetus in the first place, because faith is God given.

    Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughtful comment!




  1. Brave and Broken: Missionary Adjustment to A New Culture, Lifestyle and Worldview | FULFILL - February 7, 2012

    […] have a better chance of becoming a missionary who can make an impact.  The missionaries who have a good sending structure have the best chance of surviving and […]

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