FOREIGN MISSIONS IDEAS FOR THE LOCAL CHURCH
Rev. James Bigelow
When you receive confirmation that a missionary is to be in service with you – start the wheels rolling! Make it a “special” service. Download and print posters, display flags of that particular country, print bulletins, decorate the lobby, plan special service features by the children and/or young people. Roll out the red carpet!
When the missionary calls to confirm the service date and time, ask him about the role of his family overseas. Often, the missionary wife has a helpful ministry of speaking to ladies. Many of the older children are accustomed to teaching, helping with Sunday School classes and doing outreach work. Be considerate of the younger children. They would probably love to interact with other children in a classroom rather than hear their parents talk about the same things for the umpteenth time!
Keep the service preliminaries to a minimum. Sing missions-oriented songs. Talk missions. Pray for the missionaries who are with you and the country to which they have been appointed. Expose as many members and guests to the missions service as possible.
Communicate to the missionary as to the type and length of service you want. Is preaching or teaching to be part of the service? Are PowerPoint or DVD presentations desired? Do you want a question and answer session? Should the missionary present the Faith Promise program? Remember, the missionaries are willing to adapt their presentation to your needs.
Missionaries will issue Foreign Missions credit receipts for the offerings they receive as well as for other costs incurred by the church, such as for lodging and meals. All money given for a specific project will be credited to the local church. The expenses of a missionary family can be very high. The members may come from the field needing a new wardrobe, transportation, and perhaps housekeeping items. Add to this the cost of vehicles, maintenance, insurance, fuel costs, eating in restaurants and sleeping in motels. Be generous! Contact your DFMD if you need financial assistance.
Partners In Missions
A traveling missionary wants to share the Foreign Missions work with you to increase your burden and involvement and to thank you for your faithful support. He must raise his operating budget before he can go to the field. He does this by soliciting PARTNERS IN MISSIONS (PIM) commitments from the local churches. Churches can hasten the harvest by becoming his Partner! Although small commitments are greatly appreciated, they require lengthier travel schedules. It is advisable for a church to have a few good-sized commitments rather than many small ones. A minimum monthly pledge of $50.00 is suggested.
It is not necessary to wait for a missionary to visit your church before becoming his partner. Endeavor to accept missionaries as partners just as soon as you are financially capable of doing so.
All missionaries send regular newsletters to their PIM’s. These letters report what is happening on the field. Post the newsletters on the bulletin board, distribute them to members of the congregation to serve as prayer reminders at home and read key statements from the pulpit to keep the missionary burden and interest alive. Many churches share the letters with the Sunday School classes to be read by teacher or student.
Writing To Missionaries
Missionaries are away from home and enjoy hearing the news of local churches. Write to your overseas ambassadors. Take a personal interest in them and their family. Send photos, news clippings or other special items of interest. Be sure to ask the missionary what his family may need before sending any packages.
This article “Foreign Missions Ideas for the Local Church” by James Bigelow is excerpted from Apostolic Accent, 2007.