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Preparing for Furlough

Furlough is an important time in a missionary’s life. It can be viewed as an annoying hiccup in ministry and therefore ignored, but furlough can be a great thing for the missionary, their family, and their ministry. Allow me to give a few of the “preparations” needed to make furlough a good time instead of a dreaded time.

 

1. Vehicle.

If you don’t have one Stateside, you can rent one through a missionary service such as Righteous Rides or Baptist Missionary Transportation Ministry (BMTM). You can buy one and have family keep it while you’re gone so that you can use it on your next furlough or you can purchase a cheap one that you can turn around and sell when you leave.

2. Housing. 

You can go online to search and rent one before you ever arrive back to the US. Your home church may have a mission’s house or another church in the area may have a mission’s house that you could use.

Cautions to consider:

  1. It’s good to see family, but it is best to live in a place where you can be around people that will help, teach, challenge and prepare you for the next level of ministry.
  2. It’s best not to stay at family or friend’s houses unless you have your own entrance, kitchen, and bathroom. You need your privacy. Sharing a kitchen or bathroom is ok for few days or a week, but afterward, it is very likely to cause problems.

 

3. Raise Support.

It is best to call 3–4 months before you leave the field to begin filling your calendar. If you do not need to raise support, don’t worry about visiting new churches, but if you need more support, it is best to book meetings and get your calendar full. If you wait to call until you arrive back Stateside, you will likely not get any meetings booked right away. Most pastors book a minimum of 3–4 months out.

If you are raising money for land, buildings, or a project, it may be better to visit already-supporting churches. If you are trying to raise your support, it is best to book new churches.

4. Growth While on Furlough.

Marriage – go to a marriage retreat and read a minimum of one marriage book.

Ministry – read books, go see other missionaries and people who can help you. Set up times to meet one on one with your mentor and experienced people who can help you.

Family – plan some getaway times and fun things for everyone to do together.

5. Your Children. 

If possible, you can put your children in a school. If you are going to homeschool, get the curriculum needed and everything prepared for their education while on furlough.

Allow your kids to get involved in the children’s program or youth program at the church you will be based from. Maybe look for some sports programs or activities that your kids can be involved in as to enjoy their time in the US and take advantage of things that they will not be able to do or learn on the field.

6. Start Preparing Ministry (leaders and church)

Six months before your departure, you should map out your exit by writing down how many Sundays and midweek services you have before you leave. Make a plan so that the national leadership is 100% taken over everything before you ever leave the field.

Furlough is a very good and needed thing for your ministry. Missionaries typically do not like it for fear of the ministry falling apart, but this is a very needed test and lesson for the ministry on the field. Preparing the people and churches for your departure will help the transition (your leaving) go smoothly. Plan times that you will be late to church so that they will learn to start without you being present. Plan to be gone for entire services. Plan to be present but not do anything. Meet with the pastor(s) and help him have a schedule of what he will be preaching. Give the leaders tools for studying, preaching, teaching and leading ministries. By preparing the people and ministries, your departure can go smoothly instead of abruptly.

7. Health. 

Schedule any doctor or dental appointments needed for you or for your children. Whether just check-ups or concerns, go ahead and try to set up appointments before you leave the field.

8. Preaching and Teaching.

Prepare several messages you can use while on furlough. Since you are a veteran, it is very likely that you will be asked to preach more than one message at the same church so make sure you have several messages ready.

9. Personal or Promotional Material. 

Prepare and order prayer cards and a display so that they will be shipped and waiting for you when you arrive back Stateside. If you are not a graphic designer, you can pay one of the many who are good in this area.

You may want to record good video footage to make or have made a presentation you can send to and update all your supporting churches.

10. Plan a minimum of one good family vacation.

As you travel around to churches, look for opportunities to take the family to visit national and historic sites, but also plan to set aside some time for a fun family vacation that the kids will remember for the rest of their lives.

 

Jeffrey Bush

When Visitors Visit the Missionary on the Field

When I served as a missionary, having visitors (family, home church, youth group or just a single or couple individuals) was a blessing, but it was also a lot of work. My goal in this short article is to give a few ideas and suggestions as you host guests. Having a plan will help the time together and influence someone for the cause of Christ.

  1. Write out a planned schedule. This plan will be your roadmap during your visitor’s stay.
    1. Take them to the highest points of the city. Let them take pictures of the city and talk to them about how they are like sheep without a shepherd, a people in need of the Gospel.
    1. Give a gift basket when your guests arrive. For a large group, just have a basket for the leaders.  Bottled water in the basket is always appreciated.
    1. Give them your address and phone number (as well that of your wife’s or any pastor/leader you work with) so they can easily contact you or find their way back if separated from the group.
    1. Rent a vehicle (possibly a bus) if there are several people so that you can easily get around together. You can figure the cost in what the group pays while visiting you.
    1. Take them to religious temples (Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, etc.). Talk to them about the spiritual condition of your country and allow them to see it first hand.
    1. Take them to poor areas in the city and see the poverty, and talk about the spiritual poverty that abounds.
    1. Go to where large crowds of people are and let them pass out Gospel tracts.
    1. Make sure they’re comfortable. Do they have food allergies? Is it going to be hot or cold while they are there? Find out their needs and/or wants. Remember that if they are not comfortable, they are not as likely to listen to you when you challenge them nor will they like your country (because of a rough experience).
    1. 10.Let your visitors give testimonies, sing specials and preach when they visit your church(es). Do not do everything yourself in the church service, let them get involved. When they are involved instead of just watching, it makes their visit all the more greater.
    1. 11.Take them to see the lights of the city at night and talk to them about how each light represents several souls that are in need of Christ.
    1. 12.Find out the tourist attractions in your area and take them there, using each one as a preaching point. Let them see the history of your country, spiritual state of the country and culture of your country. Let them buy souvenirs to take back.
    1. 13.Take them to a cemetery, show them graves and dates in which people died and then ask them where they think all of the people are now.  Know when the Gospel first arrived to the country and how many people before that didn’t have much of a chance to hear the Gospel.
    1. 14.Make it your goal to preach, teach, motivate and show the obvious need while they are visiting you.  No one should visit your field without seeing the need and feeling the burden to be a missionary, or at the least being challenged to do more in missions.
    1. 15.Let them try food from your country, but mainly give them food that will not upset their stomach and make them sick. Just give them a taste of the food from your country and then take them to restaurants or make food at home that they are familiar with. Everyone likes adventure, but in small quantities.
    1. 16.Let your local church people give their testimonies and translate it for the visitors so that they can see what God is doing. If you have young men training for ministry (or pastors), let them preach to the visitors; this can be very powerful.
    1. 17.Give them tours and explain both the religion and culture of your country.  Let them observe the people at religious institutions. Why do the people have a red dot on their forehead? Why do they bow down to idols? Why do they have ribbons on their vehicles? Why do they have a call to prayer? Why do they dress in a certain way? Remember that what you are now accustomed to is very foreign to your visitors so be sure to explain all of it.
    1. 18.Make sure the hotel (or guest house or wherever you put the visitors) is nice. It does not have to be luxurious, but you do not want to scare them or make it where they do not enjoy their visit (this will give them a bad concept of the country, the people and of you as a missionary).
    1. 19.Have a devotional time in the morning and evening as a group. Be sure to give challenges and talk to them about the need all throughout the day.
    1. 20.Let them participate in ministry. Let the leaders teach your church people and especially those you’re training for ministry.
    1. 21.Do activities that people like and will remember. What do you want them to remember from their trip/visit? You don’t want them bored because you do not have anything planned but you don’t want to have them out every hour to where they will not listen when you challenge them either. Ask yourself what you want them to remember from their visit, and keep this in mind when you plan every activity.
    1. 22.Map out and take them to all the Gospel preaching churches in the city. Tell them how many people attend each church and then compare it to the great need in the country. Show them the churches verses the population. Lay out a map and let them look at it and pray over it. They should leave with a burden for your country and for the world.

 

by Jeffrey Bush

Single on Mission Field – Is it a Good Idea?

Serving as a missionary on the foreign field is one of the most exciting calls in the world.  Seeing lives changed from darkness to life, sharing the Gospel with the lost and being a light in a very dim area is just a few of the pros about serving on the foreign field. But with all of the blessings, there are no doubt struggles. Learning a new language, being “different” with the cultural distinctions and seeing people fall away after you had great expectations for them are just a few of the challenges. There are enough existing hurdles already that we must be careful not to make any unnecessary hurdles. Amongst the unnecessary hurdles is that of being single as a missionary.

Without a doubt, there are people who are going to be single and still serve God (possibly the Lord has led them to be single or they believe they can do more as a single person), but doing ministry as a single person will bring more obvious struggles than that of a married person. This short article has the purpose of revealing the why, in my opinion, it can be more difficult serving as a “single missionary” than a married missionary. My desire is not to scold or mock the unmarried person but to 1) reveal the hardships of being a single missionary and 2) encourage people to pray for a life’s mate with whom to serve God on the field.

A single man has more temptations. While it is true that a single person can devote more time to the things of God (I Cor. 7:32-33) because the married man has a responsibility to his spouse, it’s also true that there are more temptations for a single guy. God made the sexual relationship to be a gift fulfilled only in marriage. Sex is not the most important thing in life but it sure seems to be one of the biggest attention-getters that the secular world promotes and offers. Billboards, magazines/newspapers, commercials, movies and books are just a few of the ways the media pushes the sexual agenda. Whether a man is pure and holy, if he opens his eyes in this world, he can’t ignore the sexual pleas the world throws at him. Marriage is not the solution in the least, but marriage is the outlet created by God for the sexual desires. If a young man (or woman) goes to the mission field single, he is going to be hit by the flamboyant and seductive temptations and will more easily “take the bait” as opposed to a married man. Marriage helps stabilize a man and provides an extra set of defense from the sexual temptations.

A single person cannot effectively minister to married couples, or at least not out of personal experience. Society and media certainly know nothing about marriage, so where do married couples get their advice and help? They can learn not only from the Word of God, but also the messenger teaching and living out the Word of God in every aspect of Christianity. A single missionary teaching on marriage is not as credible as a married missionary speaking from experience. Obviously just being married doesn’t mean someone has a good marriage, but a married missionary who works at his marriage and has a good marriage will have a firm platform from which to teach and preach.

A married missionary is able to help other married couples, but also his wife can help other wives, single ladies, youth and work in any women’s ministry. It would be unnatural for a single man to help ladies (married or single) or work in ladies ministries (or vice versa as in the case of a single missionary woman working with men), so the married couple becomes a team working with both the men and women.

Every missionary has moments of discouragement, but a single missionary does not have a spouse to encourage him/her. The wise king Solomon said that there is power in a team (marriage can be the greatest earthly team known to man) because when one falls, the other can lift him up, but “woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up” (Ecc. 4:10). Anyone who has been in ministry long enough has surely had times where they have questioned if they should quit, move on or even invest in certain people. The single missionary is in danger because when he/she hits that low spot, they have no spouse to “help him up” as Solomon said. We all need to encourage others, but we all need to be encouraged at times and a spouse could be just the person who helps the missionary get back on their feet and continue serving the Lord.

One of the greatest dangers in being a single missionary, in my opinion, is the fact that the single missionary has no one with whom to practice real Christianity. It’s somewhat easy to put on a smile and tell everyone at church you are fine or to be patient for an hour or two with a “needy” church member, but a married person goes home with their spouse. Christianity is truly lived out at home. If a man can lead his home, he can lead a church and ministry. If a man can live out the fruit of the Spirit at home, he will not have any problem living it out anywhere else. Marriage is probably the greatest testing ground for living out the Christian life… and a single missionary loses out in this area.

 

Jeffrey Bush

Sexual Culture in Latin America

My wife and I had the privilege of living and serving in South America for 10 years (8 years in Argentina and 2 years in Peru). There were many things we witnessed and experienced, so the thoughts throughout this article do not come from governmental statistics but from personal life.

Growing up in the Midwest, some form of pornography was available whether it was from a magazine at my friend’s tree house, stories or language in the locker room, an occasional movie my friend got his hands on or rummaging through magazines at the drugstore. Although there was availability, most every form was taboo in society, something you did in secret or with buddies but definitely not with parents or other adults present. In no way would I say the US is at a high spiritual status, but there is somewhat of a morale still in the country in which much of the larger scales of perversion are done in secret and not openly.

When I arrived to South America, I noticed that the sensual edge of life was much more open, common and accessible than when I was growing up in USA. Local news stands offered porn magazines in the open instead of behind a counter or with a paper covering nudity up until the purchase. Newspapers had sections in the back with very provocative pictures and contact information for sexual services. TV talk-show hosts spoke openly about sex or being bi-sexual and hosted barely-clad women. The common soap operas had straight out sex on public TV. Advertisements with nude or almost nude women were distributed on the street or placed on vehicles.

A mom at one of our churches in Argentina told us about one of the classes her 11 year-old girl participated in at school. The teacher had all the girls open a condemn and place it on the stuck-out finger of a boy in the class. The goal was to show the kids how to use a condemn and protect themselves as they prepared for being sexually active. I could continue giving examples, but the point should be proven that the sexual culture in Latin America was flaring.

It was far too common to see a girl already expecing a baby as young as 12 years of age or my wife counseling a young girl who had repeatedly been sexually abused by uncles, dads, cousins, brothers or friends of the family. Lovers were common, young girls were abused and women were toys and objects offered openly and freely. Although these situations angered me, what could I really expect since they were only reacting to the food society had been feeding them?

Sexual culture in Latin America is alive and well but just knowing the sexual culture of Latin America is not helpful without advice on how to be cautious if you are working in Latin America. I would like to offer two suggestions to my missionary friends on how to avoid falling into the devil’s sensual traps while working in Latin America.

First of all, stay close to God. Sounds cliché, simple and almost so understood that we don’t need to mention it. According to the wise king Solomon, the person who is abhorred of the Lord is going to fall in a deep sexual pit (Proverbs 22:14) but the person who pleases and loves the Lord is going to escape from that sexual pit (Ecclesiastes 7:26). The common denominator of falling or escaping from the sexual sin is the Lord. Love the Lord, stay close to the Lord and live for the Lord will cause you to escape from this sexual pit, but ignore and don’t listen to the Lord will cause you to fall into this sexual trap that, according to Solomon, is “more bitter than death”.

Sexual sins are open and available for everyone (especially and specifically in Latin America), and it takes more than just a strong or good person to avoid the temptations. I don’t need to remind you that mighty, wise, good, God-fearing men have fallen prey to the sexual temptations. And lest we think we are too good to fall, I remind you of what the apostle Paul said, “take heed lest ye fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). Any man, working in his own strength and power can fall, but God offers His supernatural assistance to help us win the sexual battle. We can talk about meditating on His Word, memorizing His Word, crying out to Him in prayer and other very important steps, but the point is to realize that drawing close to God is the answer to avoid the temptations, traps and pits of sexual sins. Make time every day to communicate with Him through prayer and reading Scriptures and live conscientiously walking and pleading His help. The key of escape from sexual sins is knowing that God is where you should look for strength!

The second way to avoid sexual sins is to stay close to your spouse. Proverbs 5 says that a man is to rejoice with the wife of his youth (vs.18), to get all of his sexual satisfaction from and only from his wife, being “ravished (enraptured, enchanted, delighted, charmed, enthralled, captivated, entranced) always with her love” (vs.19). God made man to want and enjoy sex, God designed sex, but sex was made for the perimeters of marriage (Hebrews 13:4).

The devil is the greatest con artist, imitating all the marvelous things God has made but offering only a shell of beauty filled with poison. The missionary who serves in Latin America will see and be offered a large portion of sensual pleasure, but the offers are mere mirages in the dry desert of sin. The missionary should be sexually fulfilled through his wife; this is God’s divine method. A missionary should constantly work at growing in his marriage by reading books on marriage, making time for dates and always studying his wife. A thriving, healthy marriage is one of the greatest defenses a missionary has to avoid falling into the pit of sexual sins.

The sexual culture is wide-awake and going strong in Latin America and the devil would love to destroy as many servants of God as he can.  If we put on the whole armour of God that He has given us, stay in love with God and in love with our spouse, we can avoid being another casualty in this war.

 

Jeffrey Bush

Keeping Missions First & Foremost in the Church

 

Getting the Gospel to the lost is what the church is all about, both at home and abroad. Most of us are able to keep home missions in front of people, but it’s a bit more challenging when it comes to world missions. Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to visit many great churches and glean off their ideas for keeping world missions in front of the church.

  • Read prayer letters or updates. Before offering or during offering, have someone read/update the church on one of your missionaries. Place the prayer letters somewhere where people can read them.
  • Skype missionaries to give a live and personal update. This is very effective for mission’s conference.
  • Hold a missions conference every year. If we say missions is important, we should put time in our calendar and room in our budget.
  • Place maps and missions posters on the walls. Posters with statistics of a country, need and Bible verse so that missions is in front of the people. Instead of just a pretty picture on the wall, put a missions poster that carries a message of the need to get the Gospel to the world.
  • Use illustrations, examples and stories of missions in your preaching and teaching.
  • Plan a mission’s trip for your youth group or church every year or every other year. A mission’s trip should be well planned, not just thrown together at the last minute.  Give your church people time to start saving back the money for it. Seeing the mission field firsthand will radically change someone forever.
  • Schedule missionaries in at least once a month to visit your church and preach. Many missionaries are now serving the Lord because of how they were influenced by a visiting missionary preaching, showing a video, sharing a story or challenge about the need on the foreign field.
  • Make sure you have Sunday school curriculum that speaks about missions both to the adults and to the children. I remember hearing missionary stories when I was younger and those stories stuck in my mind and heart for years.
  • Make missionary biographies available at the church. Whether you have a church library, bookstore or just have them on a back table to let people borrow, making missionary biographies available will encourage, challenge and help young people have a desire to serve God.
  • Special offering for a missionary project. You are communicating to the church congregation that missions is important to you and to your church when you have a special love offering for a specific need or project.  The children can also learn during Vacation Bible School how important mission’s work is when the offering goes to a certain need.
  • When a missionary visits, have them spend time with the youth. When a missionary visits and the youth are in another service, it communicates that missions is for the older people and not important for the youth. If it is a mid-week service or Sunday school class, bring the youth in with the adults to hear the missionary. It would be worth having the missionary arrive a day early to have a special time to be with the youth. Some have planned a youth night a couple of hours before or after the service with time for the missionary to speak specifically to them.
  • Encourage the people to correspond with the missionaries. Our home church has a missionary of the week to keep the missionaries on a rotation and in front of the church. Make their email address or other contact information available to the church family and encourage them let them know you’re praying for them.
  • Keep faith promise in front of the people. Whether in announcements or bulletin, every once in a while give a reminder about faith promise. Teach even the children that they can give to missions as well no matter the amount. When people give to something, their heart follows it.
  • Have missionaries visit the children’s class for a couple of minutes when they visit your church. Children make decisions that affect their entire lives. Do not think or belittle a child when he/she wants to serve God; encourage and congratulate them.
  • If someone in your church says they want to be a missionary, give them special attention. Place books in their hands, put them in contact with missionaries, take them on a trip, spend time talking to them about it and help them start a missions prayer group.
  • Pray in each Sunday school class for your missionaries. Our home church weekly provides every class with a card that has the missionary family’s picture on the front along with 2-3 prayer requests and spaces on the back for each person in the class to sign. Someone then collects the cards from all the classes, then sends them to the missionaries to let them know they were prayed for.
  • Have your church get involved with various ethnic groups in your city. Find out what nationalities live close to you and find out what you can do to reach them. This will give your people a burden for the outside world. Missionary Micah Rastelli was working drywall with Bosnians and had such a burden that now he is going to Bosnia as a missionary. Missionary Brady Van Winkle was doing ESL classes with Turkish people at our church and now is a missionary going to Turkey.
  • Properly care for those who are sent as missionaries from your church (financially supporting them, but also mentioning them frequently, praying for them, sending them care packages, etc.).
  • Keep missions in front of your youth. Encourage them to give to missions. Encourage them to be missionaries. Encourage them to realize the need, go on a trip, contact missionaries, read about missions and fall in love with God and what God loves.

 

Jeffrey Bush

Ideas for Church Plant (Gardner) 2 of 2

 

  1. Train at least one usher to stand in door/ listen/ help control service/welcome people
  2. Use a minimum of 2 ushers. Choose a spot during break
  3. Print welcome on door or walk have wet down before each service
  4. Have ushers ready to take out chairs
  5. Are you using visitor cards?
  6. Get information by giving away Bibles but need info
  7. Get away prized based on faithful attendance
  8. In Sunday school teach how to read the Bible Sword drill/ book of the Bible
  9. Break up service/Sunday school in short parts to not let them get bored
  10. Gospel tracts need to be available so that can take them
  11. Need invitation read for next service to anyone & give them.
  12. Some sort of bulletin. Children lesson to take home. Drawing/life truth
  13. 8 under 12, 6 teens,    39
  14. Back ground music playing before, after, and between services
  15. Practice with usher, helping them get to seat
  16. Set up the nursery- children’s area
  17. Ushers gives those that leave early material
  18. Train people to sit with visitors & help them find verses in the Bible
  19. Do other churches have tea or snack for children
  20. Make Sunday school and everything like TV program, grab interest, make classes, interest to study
  21. Install ceiling fans
  22. Work on venting for air flow if possible. Consider where you have crowd
  23. Shorter break – so they don’t leave
  24. Sing some songs so they all sing. Spread out those that they know
  25. Due to outside noise use PA and set speaker up high – Hand held mic. Background noise ruining everything
  26. More light over and towards pulpit
  27. Have some sort of greeting time -10 seconds- they love to greet apparently
  28. Write Baptism tract with graphics explaining for them to give out
  29. Static web page set up to mobile they can get to
  30. Set up to text announcement to all each week
  31. Set up Facebook page from web
  32. Put all video and audio lings on web page
  33. Speaker outside for nosy people
  34. As soon as possible Sunday school class for young adults. You write the lesson. Teach in teachers and workers meeting. Sunday school divided.
  35. Divide Sunday school time.  Never a segment longer than 12 min
  36. Have people stand to sing
  37. Put up a calendar of church events /social
  38. Get giving envelops
  39. Plan charter organizational service in the next year
  40. Visitor cards or something. Must learn who came
  41. Decision cards
  42. Train councilors
  43. Work all week- practicing what each will do. They have to be there. Prepare with them
  44. Explain every move. Even how to use a song sheet- until all learn
  45. Order of service given to all who will participate including ushers
  46. Explain all Bible & reference words at all times
  47. Think of how a believer first time hears everything
  48. Remember the biggest enemy.
  49. Have practice sessions or everything. Ushers, Music, choir, specials, Bible verses, welcome, helping others find things in their Bibles. Sundays we run the plays we practice during the week. Get as many people as possible practicing each thing. Get subs ready
  50. Have Bible reading in service. Teach them to read. They need to practice his reading. Give attentions to reading
  51. Explain silent prayer. Praying is everything. So I learn what is helping.
  52. Always make sure you can look everyone in the eyes
  53. Get sign up sheet for disciple. Set up a time for all new believers to tell
  54. Have each of your guys look for 3 guys they can teach to do all they can do. Their job- find others train them and then move up.
  55. 6 circling fans
  56. Find jobs for anyone that comes semi-regular. Don’t worry if they miss.

Ideas for Church Plant (Gardner) 1 of 2

 

  1. Regularly consider what a total outsider sees, hears, smells when entering
    1. Maybe a greeter at the door
    2. Not enough song books
    3. Water not working in bathroom
    4. Couldn’t see song leader and only occasionally could see the preacher
    5. Have Bible for visitors to use with help
    6. Helpers need to be ready at all times
  1. You could put a monitor on post and telecast from camera
  2. Consider doing all night meetings with those that come
    1. Retreats
    2. Trips
    3. Camp properly, camp out
  1. Take them other placed to pass out tracts
  2. Have weekly staff meetings with your people
  3. Possible business card for you and your wife with web or Facebook address to give to literally every person you see and do business with
  4. Ask attendees to take several tracts after every service to share with friends
  5. Have prayer over map of area, city, valley, country, world
  6. Get a monthly men’s meeting- youth meeting- prayer meeting with leaders
  7. Take your guys to where they burn bodies – Look – make them feel more & preach Gospel
  8. Get them over the city to see lights and day time to pray over city
  9. Make sure preaching is full of Bible stories to hold interest and be memorable
  10. Take tour, people to other churches to motivate them
  11. Constantly remember they do not know the Bible stories like you do
    1. Use them to teach the truth
    2. Don’t get too doctrinal like teaching but exactly like a story
  1. Practical lessons – applicable. How does this truth change my life?
  2. Work on music.
    1. Make it fun- music service
  1. Don’t be academic
  2. Do they understand the words we use like normal?
  3. What material are available?
    1. Print
    2. Audio
    3. Video
    4. Tracts
  1. Change stories to their culture. They don’t understand our culture or care.
  2. Watch local TV to learn how to explain emotions
  3. What does grace, gospel, ect mean/translate
  4. Repetition, redundant. Simple pictures, illustrated or they will not get it
  5. Act out message when you can
  6. Stay on salvation for a long time in main service
  7. Salvation, assurance, baptism, righteousness, prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, all basic stuff
  8. Other meetings to slowly go forward
  9. Preach children’s church message
  10. Don’t preach American message
  11. Don’t preach too much
  12. I would end service with a song so the ending isn’t so abrupt.
  13. Have children’s Sunday school class upstairs
  14. Arrange chairs to see better
  15. Give out Gospel materials to take home every service
  16. Raise speakers
  17. Put TV screen out on street
  18. Record all services -audio & video- to put on web page and Facebook
  19. Give hand out so lesson goes home
  20. During Sunday school try to participate
  21. Have a memory verse and someone to teach it
  22. Have special music by children/choir
  23. Get young ladies to help – schedule
  24. Have workers meeting- set schedule. Ask all to participate. Cleaning/decorating/nursery/verses/ teachers
  25. Change decorations every month
  26. Put quote on wall like Budda quote by Jesus
  27. Set up special meeting about felt need
  28. Have people help read/ act out/ lesson. This is different than preaching service
  29. If need to hire a maid ect. For nursery so Amber can teach kids Sunday School
  30. Get info printed on windows
  31. Get banner across street

Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (4 of 4)

Free New Testaments.

Find out if you can give free New Testaments or John&Romans to schools, placing a tract in each one of them. Take people from your church (even if not saved or very faithful) to help you. It’s a good teaching point to help those with you and gives you more helping hands while at the school. You can do the same at police stations, fire stations, hospitals and work places/companies. Take some free snacks and/or water bottles will make it to be very well received and gives you a good relationship with the local authorities.

 

Everything has a Purpose. 

Remember that everything has a purpose —  for both evangelism (getting new contacts, sharing Gospel and making the church presence known) as well as discipleship (using the activities to help and teach your people and let them be involved in the work). VBS, kids carnival or any kind of special event can grow both your contacts and your church. Know your purpose for having the special event and make the most of it.

 

Gather Messages. 

Try to collect as many messages as possible so that you can work more on fishing for new people than you do studying for a message. Of course you need to study, but it would be better to have a lot of people and preach a halfway prepared message than to have only a few people and a preach a super prepared message.

 

Teach your people the 3-minute “rule”. 

Before speaking to people you know after service, spend the first 3-minutes greeting visitors. It is natural to talk to those that you know, but teach the church people to be friendly to visitors.

 

Touch Base Weekly. 

Touch base with your church people every Saturday (or day before a service) or at least once a week. The natural thought is that people should be mature enough and you shouldn’t have to coddle or remind them to come to church, but remember that they are baby Christians. For probably the first year or more that we were in Argentina, we would text or call most everyone who attended our church to encourage them to be at church on Sunday. Instead of hoping someone will be at church, give them a little nudge to be at church.

 

Scripture Verses.

Put Bible verses on the walls of your church and front of your building. After someone looks so many times, they have the verse memorized, but a verse can also emphasize the purpose of your church.

 

Cover a Large Area with Tracts & Flyers.

Find out from the mail system how to pay to place tracts or invitations in every house and business in a five mile/km (or whatever distance) radius. Even if the city does not have a mail system, there are businesses that will deliver flyers. And if there is no business that does this to your knowledge, there are always people looking for various jobs… if you have the money and plan, they have the time and need for the work and money.

 

Signage. 

Get big signs, banners, posters or any kind of signage and pay to have them put up all over the city. For a small amount, in Argentina we use to put up banners that go across a road. Even though it may be ripped down in a month or two, it was worth paying to have the people see it. I have noticed in almost every country, there are signage for political agendas, big concerts, plays, religious and communal events.

 

Plan a Big Evangelistic Conference. 

Rent a tent, arena or banquet hall and go big with an evangelistic effort. Promote it! Drawing a crowd is a great way to get the Gospel out as well as let them know your church presence.

 

Series. 

Plan and promote a series on interesting and needed topics. Offer what people need, capture their attention. Be a wise fisherman. Subjects such as family, creation, marriage, kids, finances, learn to pray, how to be successful, etc. catch people’s attention and are very needed.

 

Get Small Ads in the Newspaper. 

One about your church and another maybe about starting a small series that will interest people.

 

Use Outside Advertisement. 

Put your church website, times and info on the windows or walls outside of your building. Put a big sign that lights up at night with the church name and info on it.

 

Nursery Workers.

Make sure to get nursery workers right away. You can use volunteers and teach your people immediately. You can even pay outsiders to watch the kids, but make sure you have nursery workers at the beginning.

 

Bike Parking.

Put a bike rack bolted to the cement outside of the church. This will make it inviting for people who come on bicycles or motorcycles.

 

Transportation Routes. 

Find out which buses or transportation comes by your church and put that information on your tracts, website and everywhere else so people know how to get to your church.

 

Preaching Points & Bible Studies.

Start preaching points and Bible studies throughout the city. It gives you an opportunity to know people and then invite them to church. It gives you an opportunity to take any young man you’re training and gives them opportunities to be involved in ministry.  Church families can invite their friends to their house and let you go share the Gospel or a discipleship lesson for one hour.

 

Blitz. 

Plan an evangelism blitz, saturating an entire area, once a quarter or a couple times a year. You can pay people (many countries and people deliver restaurant flyers, sometimes there are companies that dedicate only to this) or do it with your church and volunteers. It is a great time to sow the Gospel as well as make people aware of the church.

 

Movie Nights. 

Plan a service in which you invite people specifically to watch an evangelistic movie (there are several good Christian movies you can use). Make flyers, prepare popcorn, or some snack, and then give a short challenge after or even during the movie (stop it at some point and explain). Give out the Gospel clearly and send every visitor home with a guest packet (tract, bulletin, pen and a thank you letter from pastor).

 

Thank You Letters. 

Every time someone visits the church, get their address and follow up within a week by sending  or personally taking a letter thanking them for visiting the church. This is a extra touch and almost guaranteed to get the visitors to return at least one more time. One of the men in Argentina said that he was so impressed we gave him a personal letter that he returned back for another service… and now he is pastoring! Most countries do not send personal letters (outside of a bill), so this follow-up letter is a very effective.

 

Hospital Visits/Evangelism. 

Go to the local hospitals and pass out a small gift bag with a tract, water bottle, a pack of gum or mints. It is very effective and thoughtful since most people do not receive free gifts. My wife has walked through the newborn section of the hospital passing out diapers with a church invitation. It was very well received.

 

Christian Tracts & Literature in Your Country. 

Find the Bible society, Baptist Union, Christian bookstore or any other Christian presence in your country (online or physical location). You do not have to agree with what they believe, but many will offer some tracts and other good material you can use. Before translating your own tracts (or other materials) find out what they have available, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you can borrow the work of others. You can get a cheap rubber stamp made with your church address and info on it so you can easily place it on your tracts or whatever you purchase or print.