Congregational Transformation through Missional Outreach

ABCUSA > Learnings from the Mission Summit and Mission Table > Congregational Transformation through Missional Outreach

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • Congregational transformation through missional outreach is directly related to living into a servanthood call in a relational context.
    • Areas where we see God at work have the elements of looking, listening and taking risks in common.
    • We also see the need to consistently ask the question, “Why are we doing this?”
    • Transformation and missional outreach go hand in hand.
    • What you have a passion for is your ministry and it can bridge gaps
    • If you want transformation you have to get enthused about mission
    • Projects do not transform congregations.
  • Challenges
    • How can we get our folks to think in different categories than just numbers?
    • Each area of the country has its own unique outreach opportunities.
    • Do we have a willingness to spend ourselves for folks we may never see in church?
  • Experiments
    • Where can we celebrate the outreach that is taking place outside of our congregation?
    • Who can we partner with in ministry?
    • What currently seems like a coincidence but really may be God at work?

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • Meaningful and impactful outreach is accomplished through building and establishing deeper relationships and the ability to be present with people.  Mission is not just “for” the people, if it is transformational it is with the people.
    • There is a need to be physically active in mission not just supportive with funding.  The challenge is to implement a culture of both/and mentality.  Congregations cannot internalize an “us” (congregants) versus “them” (community) perspective.
    • There needs to be better ways to communicate need for missional outreach.
  • Challenges
    • The Pastor may be the single most important obstacle in moving a congregation towards transformation.
    • There is a need to support current mission activities while looking for more areas of need for congregants and the community.
    • Churches do not understand the concept of being “missional” – They think they already are.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • We are encouraged to take RISKS in order to create the possibilities for transformation.
    • We need to use more missional testimonies.

Continued Day 2 – Summary (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • We cannot expect others to engage in missional outreach if we do not model it ourselves
    • We have to help churches understand that the pastor is not just there to take care of the congregation. We have to encourage a change of values in which the pastor and congregation are partners in getting out the gospel message
    • We must resist the tendency to change the gospel ministry into a program
    • Partnership is important; treat the community as a “parish”
    • How can we be the best church for our community?
    • Missional churches grow organically from the life and mission of the people and this cannot be programmed.
    • It is about determining community needs and then meeting those needs.
    • In order to be more successful, church planters needed more support
  • Proposed Projects
    • Take an inventory of all the work in the community being done by your congregation and openly affirm it
    • Ask the question repeatedly, “How have you seen God at work in your life?”
    • Take the activities you do with your church and change them 1% so that the effort goes beyond the walls
    • Region executive ministers advocate for the calling of those pastors willing to get out into the community to do ministry and support and affirm those already doing it
    • Creating webinars to train, encourage, and support persons in this endeavor
    • Develop a network to support and hold accountable transformational  leaders

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the National Leadership Council Meeting (April 2014)


  • For churches who have bought into the missional model, a lot of burnout has occurred.
  • The title is wrong; the primary goal is to live out Christ’s presence in the world and transformation is a byproduct of this.

Next Steps

  • The regions of New York State and possibly Cleveland will be receiving training from Ron Carlson and Sam Brink in this area.
  • Mid-America is putting together a group of pastors involved in missional outreach to support one another.

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.