Dear Pastors and Congregational Leaders:
The mission of Jesus Christ is not just an idea. It is not a program. The mission of Jesus Christ arises out of our relationship with God and with one another. It is holistic. It is experienced when individuals and congregations share the gospel in ways that bless people’s whole lives—the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
The primary purpose of this field guide is to help pastors and congregational leaders “live into” shared practices of Christian discipleship that create a congregational culture shaped by the mission of Jesus Christ. This mission is concerned with our personal relationships with God, as well as with God’s love for the communities in which we live. It includes the character of our relationships in congregational life, as well as the manner in which we care for persons who are not yet a part of our fellowship.
The secondary purpose of this field guide is to help pastors and congregational leaders carry out the basic elements of organization and administration required for a well-functioning congregation. Taking care of what, at times, may seem like routine administrative tasks helps build credibility to lead on matters of greater significance. How we choose to lead in these matters reveals the character of our relationships and care for one another as the body of Christ.
To help congregations engage in mission, this field guide is designed to be practical. Each article focuses on a specific topic and includes foundational concepts, important questions for leaders to consider, and specific suggestions and practices for implementation. Contributions to each article are from ministers with experience in implementing these ministries in congregational life. We are grateful to each for their contribution and appreciate the collaboration of so many whose ministry and desire to share suggestions and expertise supported the creation of this resource.
Please become familiar with the topics addressed in this field guide. Copy and use specific articles with the leadership team, with the priesthood, or with whichever groups of disciples are considering ministries that relate to the topics covered in this guide. Use this field guide as a personal resource for your own leadership.
Most importantly, the editors trust that your use of this guide will come under the umbrella of your personal prayerful attention to your own relationship with God. Ultimately, it is the Holy Spirit that has the ability to sustain mission and transform lives. We hope this field guide will be a practical resource for people who are grounding their leadership in a relationship with Christ, and looking for practical ways to give that leadership expression through the life of the congregation.
The church is grateful for your dedicated service, and we wish you God’s blessings as you lead your congregation in mission.
In the peace of Christ,
Ron Harmon, Council of Twelve Apostles