By Emily Drayne
From time to time, every church needs to refresh programs and activities, including missions ministry. No matter the church size, budget, or the number of missionaries supported, missions can easily be prioritized and incorporated into your church activities.
A Minute for Missions
An easy way to incorporate missions into your Sunday service is to do a “minutes for missions” each week. This can be as simple as showing a few photos of a missionary you support and talking about them for two or three minutes. Show a map of where they serve and talk about the type of work they are doing.
If a person or group from your church has visited the missionary, show photos to help connect with the congregation. Pray publicly for the missionaries. Emphasize the global impact their sacrificial lifestyle is having for the Lord. Consider including mission information in your bulletin or setting aside a place in the lobby to promote the missions your church supports.
Missions Emphasis Week
Many churches conduct a missions emphasis week to showcase all the missionaries and mission organizations they support. It’s a great way to show the value of mission work and explain the role your church is playing. This can be as easy as setting up some tables and chairs for the missionaries and possibly feeding them a meal or two. Consider paying for the missionaries’ transportation and lining up host families to house them.
A church might also consider including a missions time during their Vacation Bible School. It’s an easy way to teach children and students about the impact people are having as well as educate them about cultural differences.
A missions night is another way to incorporate missions into your church’s culture. A night of prayer or worship centered on missions can make an impact on the hearts of people in your church. An interactive approach to the evening will make it memorable.
Set up stations around the room where people can write a prayer that is sent to the missionaries. You could have a guided display of prompts for people to pray through on their own. Another option: Ask the missionaries your church supports to write their prayer requests on pieces of paper and share them with people who visit the station. The possibilities are endless.
Certain organizations will provide a hands-on service project that takes place at your church. For many people, physically doing something makes more of an impact than listening to someone talk. One of the best known service-project options is a meal-packing day. The meal packets that are prepared can be sent all over the world.
The cost of hosting is based on how many meals you pack. This could be an all-day event or last just a few hours. The organization the church works with will likely do a brief presentation about the meal you are preparing and who it will benefit, and your church members can share that information with others.
These hands-on opportunities go beyond a mere financial investment, but will be things your church family will talk about for a long time.
You never know how or when hearts will feel that tug toward missions. And while not everyone feels called to go on a mission trip or serve overseas as a missionary, people often want to help. These types of projects, mission emphasis weeks, or nights of worship are easy ways to get your church family involved with the missions you support. And the missionaries and mission organizations benefit as you spread awareness.
Mission endeavors require both goers and senders. Without the senders, we can’t have many goers, and without the goers, the senders’ job would be irrelevant. The church needs a balance while realizing that everyone has their own mission field at home or work.
I urge you and your church to consider starting a missions emphasis initiative as you plan for your post-Easter activities. The church offers a great platform to educate people and to provide real help. These activities will encourage the missionaries who are serving and also your congregation.
Emily Drayne lives in North Carolina and has served with the International Conference on Missions since 2011.