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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

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