When meeting with people who are interested in Urban Missions Initiative (UMI), several indicators will help to determine missional fitness:
Score yourself between 1 and 10 and see how you do…
First, if a potential urban missionary sees this as a “ministry” or “program” then they are missing the point entirely. Highly missional people see their mission simply as their personal response to their community because of God’s love. Consequently, they will already be doing something with their calling and passion even if they do not have a denominational, church, or organizational backing. Score: ________
Second, highly missional people will accomplish what is on their hearts to do regardless of compensation. They may desire a salary or at least a supplement, but neither makes or breaks their calling. They will continue on a mission without even the prospect of a financial benefit; tent-making or bi-vocational ministry does not deter them. Score: ________
Third, if an individual sees this as “my opportunity” to find a place of ministry, then they lack awareness that the mission is not about them but about the community they are called to serve. If that is the case, ego and/or lack of recognition will likely get in the way of being an effective church planter. Score: ________
Fourth, highly missional people are able to naturally discern areas within their context where their opportunity materializes to sow gospel seeds through word or action. That means they are able to, even if it takes effort, discern the ways in which God is already at work in their community and how they can join him in his work in practical and meaningful ways. While some may prefer to import pre-packaged methodologies, which may be contextually appropriate, normally understanding the context and discerning the movements of God will lead to an approach that is more indigenous, and thus more effective. Score: ________
Fifth, the language prospective urban missionaries use quickly reveals if they possess a missional DNA. Those who are ready to embed in a missional context will immediately convey a deep longing for their friends and neighbors who do not yet follow Jesus. They will intuit and express a deep concern that those people would either not fit into or be welcomed into a traditional church community. They express a passion to see something started for them that would be a place of belonging as they “work out their faith,” even if it will be a lengthy, inexact, and even chaotic spiritual journey. Score: ________
How Do You Score?
- I see my ministry as my personal response to my community because of God’s Love.
- I do this because it fills my heart and not my pocketbook.
- This isn’t about me, it is about the people I minister to. Score: ________
- I notice opportunities to share the gospel.
- My heart aches over the loss in my neighborhood.
My Total Score: ___________