A Strategy for Getting Your Church Involved
Every unreached people group and every church is unique; therefore, every adoption will be as well. The following are steps that may be helpful to you as you begin. You may follow them in a different order or omit some altogether.
This is not just a program for your church; adopting an unreached people group is entering a battle! Through prayer the Lord will guide you as you begin this journey, and prayer will be your best weapon to bring your adopted people out of darkness and into the light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Prayer is more than just "step 1"; it will be necessary throughout all the adoption stages. We must listen to the Lord of the Hosts as He leads us and evoke His help.
2. Involve Church Leadership
To have a successful church adoption, the church leadership's keen cooperation is needed. If the pastor captures God's heart for those who have no church, he can impart it to his congregation. If the ministry leaders of the church are enthusiastic, the people in their ministry groups will be as well.
3. Form a Coordination Team and appoint a Chairperson
Gather a group of zealous people who are willing to make a long-term commitment to this effort. This group can be a task force that works as a sub-group of your missions committee, the committee themselves, or better yet, a cross section of your church's ministries.
Appoint one person from your Coordination Team to serve as the chairperson. Look not only for an innovative person who gets things done, but a person who has a heart for God and His heart for world evangelization. This person needs to be someone who has access to church leadership.
This Coordination Team will be the backbone of your church's adoption. It will be these people who spearhead the selection of a particular Unreached People Group for your church and who will communicate with YWAM about the partnership. The Coordination Team will prepare the church congregation, host the Adoption Ceremony, and keep the vision alive by organizing prayer, projects, and trips. For this reason, it is good to form this team prayerfully including a good cross section of your church body.
4. Select your Unreached People Group (UPG) to Adopt
The selection process is made easier when you partner with Youth With A Mission. You will need to decide on a particular geographic area of the world or a particular world religion that you and/or your church are interested in. This can be decided through prayer, natural links, your interest, and strategic factors.
A. Prayer. In prayer and intercession times does a certain ethnic group, country or religious group come to mind?
B. Natural Links. Does your community have an ethnic group that lives among you? Does your church already have missionaries who may be working in a particular region of the world? Does your country have historic links to a particular global area?
C. Your Interest. Have you visited a particular area and developed a heart for it? Have members of your church had experiences in a particular world region?
D. Strategic Factors. Would you prefer to target a densely populated area? Would wealth or poverty make a difference?
Select a particular region or religious block from the coupon on this page and send this to YWAM. From your selection, we will send you several "adoption options" of different unreached people groups which we can partner together to reach.
When you receive your "adoption options" back from YWAM, your Coordination Team needs to carefully consider, research, and pray over these suggestions. Select 2 or 3 that can be brought to the mission committee and the church leadership to finalize your decision.
Including people in the decision-making will create ownership and, as a result, future participation in adoption activities may increase.
5. Connect and Register with YWAM
Notify us at YWAM's Frontier Mission International Coordination Office (FM-ICO) of your decision to adopt a particular unreached people group.
We will in turn connect you with YWAM missionaries who will be able to assist your church in planning its involvement.
YWAM will also officially register your adoption commitment so that other individuals, churches, groups or agencies who also are targeting your adopted people (if there are any) will be able to network with you if you are interested.
6. Prepare your congregation and have the Adoption Ceremony
Help your congregation to catch the vision of adopting your unreached people group, through mission-oriented sermons, dramas, bulletin inserts, etc.
Formally commit to the people which you are adopting by having a celebration service. Just as a baptism or a wedding is a ceremony that signifies dedication and commitment, your Adoption Ceremony will be as well. Choose a time that will include the greatest number of church members.
This service could include a brief explanation of the concept of "adopting" an unreached people group via a speaker or a video. Include some presentation of the people that the church has adopted. Have the congregation read a declaration together and perhaps have a signing of an adoption certificate. This could also be a good time to evoke a prayer or financial commitment from church members through the use of individual commitment cards. Include prayer for your adopted group and take an offering for the work.
Frame and hang your signed adoption certificate and schedule an adoption renewal service for the following year.
7. Build Relationships
Continue to learn more about world missions and your adopted people and educate the church congregation. The idea is to establish a relationship between your church and your adopted people. You may consider taking a mission course (e.g. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement) or seminars (e.g. People Group Advocacy) to better equip yourself to represent this ethnic group to the church. You might spend some time on the Internet or in your public library to find out useful information on your adopted people's culture and ways. Plan how your people group can become a viable focus of church life, gaining wide participation from the children to the choir.
Another area of relationship will be between you and the YWAM missionaries who are working among your adopted people group. Invite them to visit your church when possible. If it will not cause a security concern, you might plan a trip to go and meet the missionaries and see your adopted people face-to-face. Correspond with them and encourage them.
And finally, developing relationship between your church and any other churches, mission agencies, or partnerships that are also committed to your adopted unreached people group. Some people groups actually have annual meetings of all interested parties to discuss ways that they can better work towards evangelizing their adopted people group.
8. Enter into the work
Plan ways to maintain interest and sustain involvement. In this phase different ministries and age groups of your church start moving ahead to enable your adopted people group to be reached with the gospel.
Perhaps your church may want to set goals or develop a "plan of action" in order to define your steps of involvement towards reaching your adopted ethnic group.
Your plan may involve:
establishing prayer networks
developing fund-raising projects
sending short-term outreach teams
sending church members as missionaries
ministering and encouraging field workers
recruiting help for the work.
Your YWAM contact will be able to help you with specific ideas of how your church can participate in the field work of evangelizing your adopted people group.