Ideas for Supporting Missions in Your Church
Why should we be involved in Mission?
Some thoughts from one of our CMS members in SA, Supporting Mission is to be part of a huge, strong, worldwide enterprise called the Kingdom of God. It is a mind-expanding activity, in which you learn a lot of geography, and stuff about world events that doesn’t get into the news. It takes one out of the holy huddle mindset, with the assurance that, however feeble the Church may seem in one’s home country, it is expanding by leaps and bounds in many places of the world. It provides a stream of prayer material which enables the exercise of power – God’s power focused through prayer and praise – out into the wide world. Above all, it is the immense privilege which God has granted us: that of being part of the team which gets Kingdom things done, part of the cause of godly events.
We should remember also that our spiritual lives are the result of Mission. Without the train of evangelists, pastors, teachers, scholars, translators and martyrs, back to the Apostles, there would be no Christian church. We owe it to them to honour their work on our behalf, and to do our bit to keep the flame burning. “No man is an island”! The Dead Sea is dead because water flows in but not out. The Sea of Galilee is full of fish because water flows both in and out.
Get to know your missionaries!
The Lord has given us a mandate to take the gospel to the nations, to give everyone the opportunity to know Him. We’re not all called to “go” and so we send our representatives to work on our behalf, to be the channel for us to reach out to those who don’t know the Lord. The best way to encourage this mission within your Church is for people to get to know missionaries and through them, get to know the people with whom they are working.
Missionaries are just ordinary people like us with strengths, weaknesses and needs like anyone else, but serving the Lord in a different place. Living in a different culture can be exciting and stimulating, but can also be draining, frustrating and lonely. We, their supporters, are on the same team, and it is in getting to know them that we can discover the best ways we can help them in their task. Here are a variety of ideas of things that we can do as individuals, Home Groups, and congregations. The list is in no way exhaustive just ideas to get you started. If you have a brilliant idea share it with others so we can all encourage each other in our responsibility to care for our missionaries and to be involved in the Lord’s great commission to go and tell.
Small groups – adopt a Missionary
Decide amongst the group which missionary you would like to adopt. While your link missionary is on home assignment look for ways to help, encourage and get to know them. Ask their director if they need help finding and/or setting up a home for them, or if they will need a car.
* Provide a “welcome home” hamper including food & household items to get them started when they first arrive back.
* Provide meals for them, particularly when they first arrive or when they have a particularly busy schedule.
* Offer to show them around (they may not be familiar with the area in which they are staying) show them the best places to shop, hairdressers, etc
* Offer to help their children adjust to a change of culture, eg clothing advice, latest trends in vocabulary, understanding Australian rules football.
* Offer to go shopping with them: particularly for teenagers.
* Think of things they may need help with: changes that have occurred since they were last home eg bus tickets and routes, road rules, rubbish collection, recycling, water restrictions etc.
* Invite them to your home for a meal.
* Invite them to join you on outings – picnics, the beach, the zoo etc.
* Offer to baby-sit for them.
* Ring them to see how they are going and if they need help with anything. Give them a night out, together if a couple, or with a friend if single.
* Invite them to join your home group as often as they can, at least once to share their story and their ministry, more if they would like, and more when they are able just to be a part of the group.
* Invite them to dinner with the home group.
* Decide as a group if you can financially support your missionary. Think of ways to raise money as a group to do it.
* Be sensitive to their needs: when they just need time to themselves.
While your link missionary is on the field think of ways to keep encouraging them.
* Receive regular prayer updates and pray for them within the group each meeting.
* Buy a phone card and ring the missionary during your group meeting, or talk to them using Skype.
* Send photos of your group, making sure they are not too large providing they are happy to receive attachments.
* Write emails about what your group is doing, or news on members of the group, prayer requests from within the group. (But don’t expect that you will get a personal reply to every email.) When e-mailing, check before sending attachments or long messages. In some countries e-mails are monitored. Find out if there are topics that you should avoid mentioning for security reasons. Ring the CMS office for their latest security guidelines.
* Send the parish bulletin occasionally and tell them about what’s going on at church.
* Include in letters what is happening in politics, sport, the community.
* Press reply and respond to missionaries/ prayer/news emails.
* Remember their birthdays and wedding anniversaries with a phone-call, SMS, email, or birthday card.
* Send a parcel but make sure you know what is suitable to send (check with the CMS office if unsure) and that it won’t incur charges at their end – videos, magazines, books, chocolates (but not to hot countries in their summer) or things for their children. Check first to see what they would like. If you send parcels check that they won’t have to pay heavy customs duties. Mark your parcel “printed matter only” (if that is what it is), “NCV” (no commercial value) or “gift”. Tell them that you are sending the parcel and what is in it.
* If you prefer talking to writing, send an audio or video tape or a CD of you or people at your church. Send sermon tapes to encourage your link missionary.
* Send resources to help with their work – books, ideas and creative suggestions for teaching activities and presentations for students and children, craft supplies. Check first what they would like, what they can’t get in their country, and what will not attract duty.
* Visit them: a well, planned visit from supporters can be a great encouragement to missionaries.
* Keep in touch with their family back home, especially teenage children back for education, adult children and parents. Offer help where needed.
* Join with one or more other small groups and invite the Parish Mission Secretary or the missionary’s advocate to come and share the latest news and prayer points: show a power point or video clips, have an international meal together choosing food from the missionary’s host culture.
The above article, “Ideas for Supporting Missions in Your Church” was written by Alasdair Livingston. The article was excerpted from www.cms.org website. January 2017.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”