Adults on Mission Blog

Get Creative to Focus on WMU

Focus on WMU week provides an annual opportunity to remind your church of the role WMU plays in the church’s missions efforts and to recognize church leaders and WMU members who are making those efforts happen.

This year, increase awareness of WMU in your church by highlighting missions activities from the past year. Include weekly ministries as well as events and trips. Here are some easy ideas you can use to engage more age groups in Focus on WMU week.

One Step at a Time

In one family photo, Dave is holding a 2-year-old girl. In another, a 4-year-old boy. In yet another, three children stand with Dave and his wife, Kara. Each photo represents a step in the journey Dave and Kara have been on since they became foster parents.

When Kara first mentioned foster parenting, Dave was uncertain. Could he love a child coping with unimaginable emotional or physical pain? How would he respond in love to the biological parents of these children? Would he be able to pour his heart into a child and then say goodbye?

Saying yes to God’s call on his life to become a foster dad required a huge leap of faith for Dave, but the rewards of trying something new for the sake of the Gospel have been great.

In his book Faith & Foster Care: How We Impact God's Kingdom, Dr. John DeGarmo emphasizes the need for foster parents who are willing to put feet to their faith and love the estimated 400,000 children who are in the foster care system. Who better than followers of Jesus to teach these children that God knows and loves them?

What is God calling you to do for the sake of the Gospel? What’s holding you back?  

Love in Action

Children’s Ministry Day has become a much-anticipated annual event for our church. Each year, we choose a country, and members of our team lead the children in playing games, creating art, and eating food from that country. We talk about similarities and differences between our culture and that of the focal country. We emphasize the work missionaries are doing in the region and pray for them and their ministry.

We also spend time preparing for a local missions project. Last year, the children decorated cards with drawings and a Bible verse. We attached each card to a loaf of bread. After lunch, leaders took teams of children to a heavily trafficked area in town to give out the bread along with the message that “Jesus is the bread of life.” Our kids learned that people respond in many different ways to the Gospel but that does not stop us from sharing the Good News.

Children’s Ministry Day is an opportunity to get children engaged and excited. Don’t feel like your day has to follow a particular model. Remember—the goal of the day is to help children learn to put love into action.

Your Friend, the Chaplain

“When you’ve seen one chaplain . . . you’ve seen one chaplain.” Many people lump chaplains into one big group and, quite honestly, don’t have a clue as to what they do or who they are. In many environments, such as the military, chaplains gain a great deal of respect. Even respect, however, can become burdensome.

The word chaplain originates from the root word, cappella, indicating a piece of music unsupported with instrumental accompaniment. In a very real sense, that definition could be applied to most professional chaplains. By the very nature of their calling and ministry, they are often left standing alone, carrying the burdens of those to whom they minister.

A chaplain friend told me that one of the loneliest times of his life was his deployment in Iraq. “I listened to their struggles and secrets during the day. Then, in the evenings when they got together just to let their hair down, I was never invited. They couldn’t imagine just having fun or relaxing with me.”

Tags: 

The Ox in the Ditch

My pastor tells the story of discovering the best over the better in a former church. Fairly new in the farming community, he arrived at 6:00 for evening services. He arrived, but no one else did. The building was empty at 5:45, 6:00 and even at 6:15. Discouraged, disgruntled and puzzled, he slowly started to his car. That’s when he saw the lights. Even a mile away on the flat country plains he could tell there were car lights, many car lights. Curious, he drove toward them.

What he found amazed him and then inspired him. Mr. Heiland’s fence was torn and his cows had gotten out. Some were on the road and others were grazing on the grass along the road. My pastor looked from one car to another and there he found his church. Every person he had expected to be at church was trying to help Mr. Heiland lead his cows back into their pasture.

Finally, when the task was done, a church member suggested they just cancel church for the evening. All agreed. That’s when my pastor, with a look of satisfaction and awe, spoke up. “Friends, I think we’ve just had church!” The building was empty but the body had functioned as it should—to help a friend in trouble.

Best Challenges Better

Which door should I go through? The popular television show Let’s Make a Deal serves as a reminder that none of us know for sure what is behind the curtain or beyond the door. Often in living our lives for God, we find safety in just staying where we are. That may be in church, in a position of leadership, or simply showing up and doing what we’re asked. After all, there is nothing inherently wrong with where we are. It’s better than doing nothing.

But living in the realm of better can blind us to the best. So what can we do?

1) Open our eyes to the range of possibilities available.

2) Prayerfully and honestly assess the better option and the best choice.

3) Do not be afraid to step out of our comfort zones. The best will always carry a little more risk. It may demand more from us than we are currently giving.

4) Trust God to support us in carrying out the best when better seems good enough.

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

Networking Works

“My nephew has threatened suicide several times since returning from Afghanistan,” she said. “He seems so close to doing it. We’re constantly worried about him.” A total stranger from another town was telling me this when we were both getting our nails done. “I just wish I knew how to get him some help.”

Thanks to a group of churches (pastors and members), along with other interested community organizations in her town, I could direct her to a local pastor who was passionate about helping soldiers coming home with PTSD and suicide ideation. All over Arkansas communities and churches are coming together to be ready when the need arises.

In our state the local VA assists in forming these groups, but realistically, they can form without VA assistance. Representatives from churches, directors of non-profits, members of law enforcement, local business owners, and other interested parties meet monthly and discuss issues affecting returning veterans. They gather resources and put together guides to those resources.

Praying and Giving

Missionaries tell us that our prayers are the most important thing we can do for them. Opening my eyes to the world around me causes me to spend more time in prayer for missionaries and Christians around the world. WMU keeps us focused on them, where they minister, and the difficulties they encounter as they serve God.

As I communicate with missionaries through social media, I find myself drawn into their world by the stories and pictures of their people groups and their ministry. I am especially drawn to my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted because they bear the name of Christ.

My family has designated the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® as our “Christmas Gift for Jesus” and no gift we give others compares to this gift. You might want to consider putting your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in an envelope this year, tie a red ribbon around it, and mark it “To: Jesus. From:_____.”

On Mission in Jerusalem

In my church we are constantly seeking ways to be involved in missions. Our Director of Missions and other church leaders work together to provide activities for each month in our schools, nursing homes, hospice, shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, Thanksgiving and Christmas outreach to needy families, and associational missions. We also reach out to the military, veterans, police officers, and firefighters.

Our pastor selects an IMB missionary and a NAMB missionary for our focus each month. We learn about the missionaries’ work and where they are serving. Some women connect with them online and maintain lasting relationships. He also brings missionaries to speak at our church and encourages us to be missional in our community as well as around the world.

IMB and NAMB appoint and commission missionaries to serve in the United States and around the world, but God has appointed every one of us to serve in our church family and community. Are you on mission in your Jerusalem?

Seeing the World Around Us

When my husband first became a pastor, we attended a language ministries conference. I was overwhelmed with the love I witnessed
among the people in that meeting. Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15 NIV). God had sent the world to our doorstep, and to every nation He had given special people to love them and minister to them here in the United States.

Today we are automatically positioned to see the world around us—at grocery stores, medical offices, restaurants, the post office, theaters, and schools. Do you see them—those new to the country, struggling with the language, trying to fit into a foreign culture? They say loneliness is one of their biggest problems. They are waiting and watching for a friendly face that cares about them as a person.

Pages

Back to Top