Leaders Blog

Give and Pray

It is December, time to trim the tree, decorate the house inside and out, and send Christmas cards. Not to mention shop. Shop for family, friends, co-workers, the pastor’s family, the mail carrier, Sunday School teachers, and school teachers. Then there is the entertaining, baking, Christmas parties, Christmas cantatas, and everything else that we are supposed to do in December. Wow! Are you tired yet?

All these things are so fun and make Christmas special and memorable, but they aren’t what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about the incredible Gift that was given to us all, Jesus. We need to make sure that all our activities are about Him and not just about the holiday.

Emphasize International Missions

Look at the Southern Baptist Convention’s calendar and you’ll see that almost every Sunday, week, or month, there is an emphasis placed on something: senior adults, worship music, the Cooperative Program, etc. The first week in December is set aside for international missions.

And there are a number of ways your church can emphasize international missions this week and every week:

IMS Participation Often Leads to Missions Involvement

Hosting the International Mission Study is one sure way to give missions knowledge to church and community members. Participation in the study often leads to prayer for missionaries and their people groups. Many times, attendees are spurred to join missions efforts.

Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and a member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, said prayer, advance delegating, and working out details are keys to success when hosting the study.

“We use the wonderful materials from the promotion kit to try to spark interest, [do] bulletin boards, [find] posters,” Moor said. In addition to the pastor promoting the study, it is announced in the bulletin for 3 or 4 weeks beforehand. A “guess how many of something that pertains to the country” game is presented. Church members have to attend the study to get the prize given to whoever is closest.

Pray for the World

You only need to glance at a newspaper or listen to the news to become aware of the urgent need for prayer. No longer can we be concerned with praying only for our family, community, church, and state. As leaders, we need to engage our members in sincere prayer for the entire world.

Why not start with the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer on November 7? Consider implementing one of the strategies Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, used to involve her church in the Day of Prayer:

• Involve all the Baptist churches in your area. Make phone calls and send invitations. Enlist a contact person from each church and ask her to personally invite women to attend.

• Plan to alternate which church hosts the prayer event each year. Or host the event at a Christian Women’s Job Corps site to highlight the ministry hosting the prayer event.

Promote Missions Growth

Our pastor concludes every Sunday morning service with the same reminder: “We are the people of God, sharing God’s love, because God’s love changes the world.”

At any time, our church has members on one or more missions trips or we’re planning trips—domestic, international, or both.

We have an international university student outreach program with welcome activities at the beginning of the academic year, an international Bible study, and friendship families who open their homes to students. For many of these students, this is their first time to attend church or hear the gospel message.

Our church also plans local community outreach, either one-day blitzes or ongoing activities, such as Bible studies at the jail or support of the local crisis pregnancy center. (The pregnancy center rents a house from the church for $1 a year.) In addition, we partner with the university’s Baptist Campus Ministries for local outreach and missions trips.

Feed the Hungry

Rather than just a once-a-year emphasis like Global Hunger Sunday, some churches maintain a year-round global hunger missions plan that involves all age groups and missions organizations. Some events are churchwide, some specific to a particular age or life stage, and some sponsored by one organization but open to all. Events might include the following:

Churchwide

• Host a community Thanksgiving meal. Invite participants to bring nonperishable items for the church or community food pantry or an offering for Global Hunger Relief

• Schedule regular offerings for global hunger, the local food pantry, or the church benevolence fund—after Lord’s Supper services, one Sunday per quarter, or other times the church chooses.

• Invite a North American Mission Board or International Mission Board missionary to share how funds given to the offering for Global Hunger Relief have been used to meet physical as well as spiritual needs.

Senior Adults

State Missions Coffeehouse

One of our church’s most successful state missions events was the Applause! Coffeehouse. To celebrate what God is doing in our state and promote the state missions offering, the fellowship hall was transformed into a coffeehouse, complete with casual seating and subdued lighting. Specially designed placemats featured facts about the state missions offering, a brief story about one of the ministries the offering supports, and a state missions word search puzzle.

Adorning one wall was an art display featuring the state missions artwork the children had created during their regular Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors meetings.

Specialty coffees were served, as well as tea, hot chocolate, and an assortment of bakery items. A tip jar was available for people to give to the state missions offering.

While there was ample time for those attending to converse with their friends, there was also entertainment, which included stories about missions work in our state, a comedy routine about church planting, and special music with a missions theme.

By All Means

 What does "By All Means" mean? How can you explain the 2016–2018 WMU emphasis theme clearly to church members of all ages? Instead of telling them, why don't you show them? Use the following 5 scenarios to paint a picture of what serving "By All Means" looks like in everyday life. 

Each of the 5 scenarios can be expanded as time allows. The performers remain in place at the end of each scenario. The skit concludes with a responsive reading.

Scenario 1

A man with cancer asks his doctor if they can pray together before his risky surgery. The doctor replies, “By all means, yes,” and the 2 bow their heads to pray.

Scenario 2

A teenage boy asks his dad if he can borrow the car to take his unchurched friend to the evangelistic youth meeting at church. The father says, “By all means, son,” and hands his son the car keys.

Scenario 3

A visitor at church asks to sit next to a church member. The church member says, “By all means,” and the visitor sits down beside him.

Let the North Light Shine

Crawling over a desk to get to the window cords certainly didn’t look professional, but it was the best I could do. The wide desk impeded my access to the cords.

I’m not a job hopper, but when I do start a new job, my first step is opening the windows. February 8 was no different. To my delight, these windows face north.

Painters love north light because it’s constant. The indirect light allows the artist to judge the values more easily than changing light that tends to come from other directions.

Even educators write about the academic benefits of natural light, but few teachers in my school opened the blinds on their windows. We often know what’s good for us but focus on the negative aspects instead—“the glare on the board gives me problems,” “the room is too hot when I open my windows,” etc.

Still, teachers used to tell me that they would walk in my room when I wasn’t there and just sit and think. “I don’t know what it is about your room,” they said. I wanted to tell them it was the natural light, but I knew they would follow with reasons they couldn’t open their blinds. So, I just smiled and thanked them for the compliment.

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Adults: Prepare to Do Postmodern Missions

We live in a postmodern world. You probably already knew that, but you might be wondering what it has to do with missions.

Postmodernists don’t believe in absolute truths. They believe everything is relative and shaped by the cultural context of a particular time and place. So when you share the gospel with postmodernists, you may get rebuffed, because what is the truth for you is not truth for them.

Don’t give up. Adapt.

First, let go of assumptions you may have about postmodernists:

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