PROMOTING HOME MISSIONS GIVING IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
J. T. PUGH
Almost every Department of the United Pentecostal Church has had a representative for their cause in the local church for some time. The home missions program has been entirely dependent upon the vision and drive of the pastor, who may already have his head swimming with so many organizational efforts and local church responsibilities that home missions is often left without an advocate in the assembly. This is why it is so important that the Outreach Director assist the pastor in keeping the home missions cause before the congregation. Most people must be motivated to give. A need has to be regularly presented to generate the level of giving needed for these times. Following are ways the Outreach Director can keep Home Missions before the church.
KNOW THE HOME MISSIONS PROGRAMS
Acquaint yourself thoroughly with all of the ministries of the Department Secure and read any material available from your Sectional, District or General Director.
The brochure “Seven Ministries For God” will give you the basic Home Missions programs. You should request specific brochures or pamphlets on all programs. This will enable you to be able to answer questions and present the cause of home missions in an intelligent and knowledgeable manner. You should also be acquainted with the Home Missions policy as it appears in the United Pentecostal Church manual.
PROMOTE THE REGULAR MONTHLY OFFERING
The United Pentecostal Church manual states under Home Missions policy, Section 5, Paragraph 1, “To finance the Home Missions program in the District each church in the District is requested to send at least one offering each month for this purpose.” Talk to the pastor about the particular Sunday which
you feel would be most appropriate for this offering. Bulletin inserts, posters, bulletin board announcements and other mediums can be used just prior to the weekend to remind the congregation
of the offering which will be taken. Regular home missions giving is part of being a “Staker.”
All home missions offerings, with the exception of Christmas For Christ (which is sent directly to the General Department in Hazelwood, Missouri) are to be sent to the District Home Missions Department.
From time to time you may want to inform the pastor of the level of home missions giving. Prepare a current report of what the church has done during the year to date. Busy pastors often appreciate a conscientious reminder concerning the regular monthly offering.
Be sure the congregation is made aware of when the home missions offering is to be taken. Special bulletin inserts or other announcements would be in order. Have special reports or a particular motivating presentation ready for the service if the pastor allots time for it. It should be brief and spiritual.
SPONSOR LOCAL CHURCH MISSIONS CONVENTIONS
Many churches now have an annual missions convention. See your pastor about including home missions in the next convention in your church. Volunteer to assist him in planning this particular facet of the convention. Your placing should include the following:
(A) Have on hand all available home missions literature, such as information pamphlets, copies of Outreach, the latest CFC newsletter and any other current items.
(B) A Home Missions speaker. Someone will need to represent the Department personally. The pastor may want to invite a home missionary directly from the field (which may be the next state or the next town). If this is not possible the District or Sectional Home Missions Director may be available.
(C) Some type of visual presentation. This may take the form of slides, overhead projector, or simply a map with dots or flags indicating mission starts or needy cities.
(D) Large signs or banners. A standard missions convention sign is available from the General Home Missions Department. You may want to stretch across the auditorium a sign with a locally selected slogan painted on it.
(E) The young people would cooperate in painting a number of colorful posters which could be placed on walls, in entry ways and even in classrooms.
KEEP THE BULLETIN BOARD FILLED
If your church has a bulletin board be sure that something about the missions is put up regularly. Announcements concerning rallies, Home Missions Sunday, and similar events should be posted. Small stick-on signs, buttons, and even bumper stickers have shown up on bulletin boards. Poems pictures and missionary letters and reports can also be used. The only limit to good bulletin board promotion is your imagination. Make sure that bulletin board material does not remain unchanged so long that it becomes stale. Keep the information current and fresh. If your church doesn’t have a bulletin board, ask your pastor about securing one.
HOME MISSIONS LITERATURE RACKS
These racks are becoming increasingly popular. Attached near the tin board or exit door, they offer another avenue of keeping missions before the church. Copies of departmental brochures, booklets, and the “REACH” should be available in the rack. Attractive literature racks can be purchased or easily
made from peg board and metal holders available at most hardware stores.
KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON
Maintain contact with your Sectional and District Home Missions Directors. Make sure you have all the materials available to you for local promotion. See that they receive regular reports from you, concerning your program and activities. They would also appreciate any ideas which you may have. Suggestions are always in order.
KEEP A SCHEDULE
Establish a promotional schedule. Write down dates of rallies, offering Sundays, convention dates, and deadlines for promotional printing or publicity. This calendar should be drawn up in coordination with your Sectional and District Director. Go over the proposed dates with your pastor and make sure there are no conflicts with other church activities or programs.
LOOK AND LISTEN FOR GOOD IDEAS
Share ideas with other local church Outreach Directors. Find out what they are doing to promote home missions giving in their churches. A well known writer once said, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea when its time has come.” What are some other ways you can think of that Home Missions giving can be accelerated in your local assembly? List them below.
THE PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST
For many years the home missionary has been almost alone out on the field, without ample financial support For years, many Christians have lavished their money on worthless or superfluous presents at Christmastime, giving to one another rather than to the Lord on His birthday.
Through Christmas For Christ, we have a remedy for both these ills. The Christian now has a way whereby he can channel his money into a worthy cause rather than waste it on others who already have more than they need. He is afforded an excuse not to waste money on decorations, trees, and other frills which have no spiritual meaning. He is free now to abandon a vicious cycle whereby he is almost obligated to do more than he can afford, for those who need very little. He can still give, of course, but he has an excuse to give less and to channel his money into a worthy cause.
For the missionary, it is a breath of life, a resurrection of hope and an emergency vehicle. For the sinner, it is a channel of mercy and the best gift ever given to him. To give a city a church is to give the greatest gift you can give.
WHAT CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST DOES FOR THE MISSIONARY
Basically, missionaries are financially supported fully for one year in establishing a pioneer work in a needy area. Most cities are over 25,000 population, preferably metropolitan and big city areas. Training, transportation to the field, personal support, rentals and many things are done for the missionary. The average support per each missionary under Christmas For Christ figures roughly to be $10,000.00 for one year. On the surface, this may seem quite lucrative until you take note what
this $10,000.00 does. Of late, the program has been expanded to include the following coverage.
1. It pays the missionary’s way to and from the training seminar.
2. It boards and rooms him while there, also taking care of his eats and rooms while enroute.
3. It pays the travel, board and room expense of the instructors who attend the seminar.
4. In order that he may meet and have personal consultation with his future District Superintendent, asking him questions, etc. , we bring him to the seminar.
5. If the missionary feels it is necessary to make a preparatory trip to the field of his labor prior to moving, his expenses are paid.
6. His moving expenses are paid.
7. His personal expenses on the road while moving are taken care of.
8. A home is rented for his family for a minimum of one year.
9. A building is rented for one year.
10. On the 25th of each month, for 12 months, he is mailed a check for his living expense.
11. He is given close to $300.00 worth of personal evangelism tools.
12. He is furnished all the tracts he can use.
13. Up to $300.00 is made available for advertising.
14. A full-time evangelist is made available to him without cost.
15. All administrative cost come from this amount.
16. All promotion costs also come from this $10,000.00 average.
THE OUTREACH DIRECTOR’S RESPONSIBILITY TO CFC
The pastor may designate the Outreach Director to oversee the promotion of the CFC offering. In the event he does so, you will need information and help. We offer the following in the spirit of helpfulness, to better equip you to assist the pastor in this matter.
SPECIAL MATERIALS AVAILABLE
Filmstrip With Sound
Each year since 1967 a filmstrip depicting the need for CFC and its accomplishments has been produced by the General Home Missions Department. A sufficient supply of these is sent to
each sectional home missions director and are available for showing in every church. He should have these in hand about November 1st and will put your church in his schedule, either for him to personally show the filmstrip and conduct an introductory service or for your church’s private use. If you find these are unavailable for any reason, feel free to contact the General Home Missions Department.
Long Play Album
The CFC long play album produced each year by the promotional committee has become an item of special interest to many of our people. This 33 1/3 rpm record is produced as a promotional item to be given to each minister to acquaint him with the current year’s CFC effort. However, many church members request a copy after hearing the record. Combining the sweet singing of some of our own people with a narration provides a vehicle for a spiritual message, spiritual singing and an incentive to give.
Order these directly through the General Home Missions Department yearly or request a supply through your District Home Missions Director.
At least two newsletters giving information, pictures and reports of CFC pioneers works are printed yearly. Mostly, they are distributed at district camp meetings, general conference and CFC rallies in November. However, a supply may be available for your church through the District Home Missions
Department. If not write the General Home Missions Department.
Each year a promotional committee is appointed to devise plans for general promotion for Christmas For Christ. They provide special helps and information to assist the district and church in enclosing this project. The material is distributed either by special packet sent in the mail to each minister or included in the FORWARD, a United Pentecostal Church magazine for ministers. See your pastor for any printed materials he may receive and wish you to have.
CFC Christmas Plays
The annual Christmas program of the church is ideal to utilize for a dynamic CFC promotion. Why just tell the story of the birth of Christ over and over again in the same matter? Give it an object, namely, the receiving of a gift for Him through Christmas For Christ. By using the plays offered by the General
Home Missions Department, you will find a helpful tool. The plays climax with an appeal for giving worked right into the play. The pastor may have received a copy or they can be ordered.
PROMOTING CHRISTMAS FOR CHRIST
About November 1st, it should be mentioned from the pulpit and in church bulletins concerning the upcoming CFC drive. Alert people to the dangers of overspending and suggest they set aside an amount equal to what they spend for gift exchange to be given to CFC.
During the month of November, consistently mention the offering and our Christian attitude toward Christmas.
The last Sunday in November, or a special night toward the end of the month, have a special service to give a full introduction of CFC, including the purpose of the program, the need of CFC and its accomplishments. Set a goal and, if possible, take pledges from the people. This should be the time
the CFC filmstrip is shown.
CFC Day Program
Many churches use a candlelight program. At the close of a Christmas giving sermon or the program, the pastor lights a single candle as a symbol of the Light of the world and from which many lights have been lit to illuminate the world. Candles can be provided for each person present who, in turn, light
their candles from the pastor’s, returning to stand at their seat. The increase of light is obvious, greatly impressing upon the church the experience of sharing the light with others. At the conclusion of worshipful singing, the offering can be taken. Each family and person can bring their offering to the altar, either wrapped in a package or in an envelope.
If the church uses an annual Christmas play, it is fitting to use the theme of Christmas For Christ. If you don’t feel to use the plays provided by General Home Missions, why not have someone write your own?
Many churches use the pledge system to raise their offering. Each pledge is a “promise by faith” that they will give a certain amount. Make it clear that those who cannot pay their faith pledge are not bound to it. Ask them to just do their best.
Several churches make an occasion just after Christmas for the people to pledge for the next year. In this manner, they are able to set aside an amount each week or month and have an offering ready by the offering date.
“Christmas Club For Christ”
Banks use this system for people to save money for Christmas buying. Why not use the method to help people save money for Christmas For Christ? Announce to the church that members can join the “Christmas Club For Christ.” Tell them to designate “CFC Club” on the offering envelopes each week along with their name. An account on the church books can be kept in their name with each week’s offering being added. By the next Christmas, a sizeable offering would result, ready for CFC day. Or, a person could use the bank’s system for the same purpose, saving his own money until time.
Offering Deadline – January 31
The last day of January is the official deadline for offerings to be included on the published list of current giving. Try to have your offering mailed to the General Home Missions Department, 8855 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, Missouri 63042, no later than January 31st. Have it postmarked by midnight of that date if at all possible.
This date is necessary to give the General Home Missions Department ample time to make the list of givers and total the amounts for the CFC Administrative Committee to make appointments and appropriate the money to those chosen.
THE KEY TO GOOD GIVING
Planning, information, enthusiasm and follow-through are important factors in a successful giving program in the church. Plan your approach carefully, inform the people of the need and your plan for giving, be enthusiastic, and follow through on your plan.
SOME MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT HOME MISSIONS
Attitudes take years to develop and are influenced by many factors. Often, a misconception or misunderstanding can hinder the progress of a work in multiplied measure. These misconceptions become stop signals, detour signs and “go slow” indicators in the mind of would-be participants, sometimes stymieing their unfettered support. Consider the following misconceptions along with their factual and scriptural answers.
1…..That home missions is always “out there” in the next state or across the country.
Everything around you is “home.” When you do witnessing, visitation, soulwinning outreach, anything in the line of evangelism, you are doing home missionary work. The cities close to you which have no church are home missions territory. You can do missions work right in your own “backyard.”
2…..That to do home missions work, a person enters a perpetual state of struggle, in a continuously precarious foothold, in always hostile territory.
There is a period of struggle in establishing a new work, as well as fragile beachheads and sometimes hostile territory. However, many of the areas described as “hard” by one worker become fertile, productive fields under the care of another. Hungry hearts are everywhere. Many works are self-supporting after a year. All of our churches were, at one time, a home missions work, including our
3…..That an offering taken for home missions is not a world missions offering.
Jesus did not distinguish foreign missions from home missions. He said, “The field is the world,” which includes our national boundaries. World missions was His concern, without discrimination as to near or far. Money given to home missions is given to reach the world Missions is missions.
4…..That home missions churches are always built by men who have nothing more to do and cannot find a better place to work for God.
Missions is not a sideline of the church. It is the first call to duty. The attitude that missions building is a lesser calling is due to materialism and an undue attention given to secure positions and long tenure in other ministries.
Pioneers are not always highly polished statesmen but they know the language of progress, the price of advance and the sweet fruits of victory. A majority of pioneers left secure, successful positions to voluntarily enter the sacrificial, heroic work of missions.
5…..That it is cheaper to build a home missions church than to build a foreign work.
The idea of using the brush-arbor, tents, the run-down storefront and abandoned schools and church buildings gives the idea of cheapness. However, there is no cheap way in our day. Rents are high and purchasing property in suitable areas is often financially out of the question. It costs a home missionary as much or more to buy a board, a nail or steel, paint, brick and labor as it does the foreign missionary. And because so many of us, and the outsiders, see his building, it should be as nice as yours, in time. Inexpensive bargains are the exception and not the rule.
6…..That home missions work is not as exciting as endeavors abroad.
True, there are exotic lands and mysterious peoples in foreign lands. However, the same devil destroys and the same Jesus repairs at home and abroad. Distance does not enhance Satan nor does nearness dim the glory of our Saviour. Every miracle of salvation or healing, anywhere in the world, should
cause rejoicing, tears and shouts of victory.
7…..That men who build home missions churches are not missionaries.
Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Wherever you witness and work for God, you are a missionary.
8…..That home missionaries have it easier than foreign missionaries and their burden is not as intense because they have not gone as far from home.
The home missionary and his work is seen continually by all. He is often expected, by reason of surrounding living standards, to be as nicely dressed, attend all meetings and give as much as others. Eighty per cent of our home missionaries go without promise of regular financial support. None are
supported by a department for life. Many home missionaries have invested their life’s savings into the work, been broken in body after sacrificial labor and have died without attention or honor. We tend to expect them to raise up a successful work in a much shorter time.
9…..That the inhabitants of our homeland are not as desperately lost as the heathen in distant lands.
A soul is a soul whether his skin is black, red, yellow, brown or white or if he lives in North America or the uttermost part.
Every soul is lost until he hears and obeys the gospel.
lO….That we have enough churches at home now, therefore, we need not build more.
We are not keeping up with the population growth nor have we as yet placed even one church in every city. Most cities do not have enough United Pentecostal Churches though they have from one to twenty. Every new church enlarges our ability to reach farther around the world by strengthening our home base.