By Allen Tilley, Pastor – First Baptist Church • Carthage, Texas
(via the Baptist Progress) Every pastor knows his church must make missions a priority (Matt. 28:18-20). Missions is one of the foundational principles for being part of an association, but how can we lead our churches into becoming personally involved in mission work? While no one right answer exists, here are seven suggestions for helping your people be more mission-minded:
• Stress missions. Infecting the church with the missions’ bug starts with the pastor. Your people will not catch what you do not possess. By preaching, teaching and emphasizing missions, your church will develop a passion for mission work. Before you start, spend a season of prayer, asking God to make your church a great mission church.
• Form a Missions Team. Find those in your church who already have a mission fever, then charge them with raising the church’s awareness. Let them also plan and carry out their ideas for involving the church in missions. As the pastor, your job will be to support the mission team and promote their ideas. Utilizing a team will not only involve people, but they will generate more ideas than you could alone.
• Start in your community. Too often when we think of missions, we think of other parts of the world, but one of the most overlooked mission fields is right in our own backyard. Most people are afraid of knocking on doors. To alleviate those fears, we’ve practiced random acts of kindness like passing out free water bottles on a hot day in front of Walmart. (Be sure to ask for permission first). Each water bottle had the church’s name and address on it. Then we washed windshields, leaving a note that our church did it. We annually pass out free popcorn during our community’s Christmas parade.
• Take short-term mission trips. Twice a year, we lead a small group on two foreign mission trips, working with BMMI (Baptist Medical Missions International) and working with missionaries directly on building projects. Those who’ve gone on these trips tell us they are lifechanging. When these groups return, they report to the entire church, infecting everyone else.
• Establish a fund. At our church, we have the GIMP (Go In My Place) fund. Because not everyone can afford to take a mission trip, the church has set up a fund that pays half the cost. GIMP is funded solely by individuals who give above their tithes. This way, even those who can’t go on a mission trip can have a part in missions.
• Have a missions fair. Every year, our missions team plans a missions fair in the place of our regular morning service. They decorate the auditorium, invite missionaries to speak, show videos from past mission trips and provide lunch with foods from around the world. Over the years, this has become one of our most anticipated services.
• Develop a relationship with missionaries. By getting to know a missionary, his family and field personally, your people will fall in love with missions. They will offer their prayers, support. They will also make calls, and write letters as they stay up-to-date with what’s going on with “their” missionary. Because every church is unique, find your missions voice, come up with your ideas and develop your own missions activities. Having a heart for missions builds enthusiasm and gives hope for the future.
This article was first published in the November 2019 issue of the Baptist Progress and is shared with permission.