Before we discuss how, let’s first answer the question why. The biblical mandate found in Matthew 28:19 (known as The Great Commission) clearly states that we are to go into all the nations and make disciples. Whether a domestic effort here in our own community, or an international effort taking the gospel abroad, we are all called to serve. Most churches use the term outreach for their local evangelistic endeavors and call their international efforts missions. Let’s focus on the international aspects of The Great Commission and discuss ways to encourage church involvement in missions.
Getting Started in Missions – Taking Your Ministry Global
First of all, it is hard for a church to be involved in something they know little about. Regular updates are a necessary part of being involved in missions. After all, the call to go and take the Gospel is usually part of a group effort. One way to create awareness is to set aside a time during the Sunday service to report on the ministry of a particular missionary or family of missionaries and express thankfulness, discuss prayer concerns and come up with a game plan to continue to meet their needs. A slide show of pictures in the background during the announcement will make it more personal and hopefully hit home.
We need to touch, feel, and see the adventure behind the story. Most people choose a missionary’s life because God has given them a strong passion for the people they minister to. Passion is contagious, which is why hearing the story first-hand is important. Set a time for a representative of a missions effort to present what is going on, talk about what is being accomplished, discuss the short and long-term needs, communicate prayer requests, and go over the general health of the effort. Don’t just send your missionary off to the field and let the general population of your church forget all about them. They are part of your church family and have needs and desires as all of us do. Be interactive and creative when you inform your church.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Sending some kind of a mailer or newsletter will help put the missions team on the map for members of your church. Pictures of the family and the actions that are taking place make it personal. We often forget the human side of these amazing servants of God, but they are getting up every morning asking some of the same questions we ask each day at home, asking God to provide and care for them and change the lives of the people they serve. Encourage your congregation to not only send support but also to write a personal note of encouragement.
If exposed to missions at an early age, little ones will grow up respecting the work of missionaries. It might mean contributing financially, serving as a missionary (long or short-term), it could also mean praying for the needs of those in the mission field, or volunteering to provide administrative support from home. It is our duty now to teach them to love God and love others.
An excellent way to get the church involved in missions is to provide opportunity for members to volunteer in a variety of efforts both domestic and foreign. Organize teenage groups to fund-raise, plan and participate. Family mission trips also tend to have positive outcomes. Being a part of something makes that effort personal. Long-term relationships in the form of friendships, supporters and prayer warriors are forged.