Leaders Blog

Educate Church Members about the Cooperative Program

The Cooperative Program is the foundational means of supporting Southern Baptist work in each state, nationally, and around the world. Without the Cooperative Program, missions offerings such as the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions are simply inadequate. Yet there are many in our churches who have no idea what the Cooperative Program is or why it is so important. Cooperative Program Sunday—April 10—provides an annual opportunity to educate church members (and leaders!) about this vital approach to supporting missions.

Tips for Effective Missions

New church plants and even established churches sometimes lack funds and manpower, but there are several small, practical things that can be done to facilitate effective missions.

Global Missions Involvement

Getting the church involved in global missions can be intimidating. Distance, cost, language, and numerous other factors seem to prevent meaningful involvement, yet we know from Christ’s words in Acts 1:8 that we are to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth.”

The church plant with which I’ve been working for a couple of years is still quite small. We do not have a lot of resources to send people to the ends of the earth, yet I have been so blessed to see how our little congregation has made such a big impact globally.

One of the primary ways we participate in global missions is through awareness and prayer. We take time during each service to discuss current events and intercede for the people of the world and the missionaries and ministries serving them. Time and again, we hear testimonies of God’s faithfulness in answering prayer. Prayer is one of the most effective, powerful tools we have, if we only make time and room for it in our lives.

Loving Local Missions

After growing up learning about international missionaries, I was quite disappointed when God established my missions field in an English classroom at my former high school. I felt so limited, but after I started teaching, I realized that I have more ministry opportunities in my classroom than I would have in many “ministry” positions. Through this realization, God gave me a passion for local missions.

The power of local missions is in the ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships. There are so many charities we could support, so many organized drives and walks and fundraisers in which we could participate, but study Scripture and you’ll see that Jesus didn’t do any of these things. Jesus lived alongside those who needed Him. He ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and built a rapport with them that allowed Him to ask personal questions and challenge sinful behavior. He didn’t help them because it was a good thing to do. He helped them because these were His friends and He loved them individually.

A Missions Gateway

Get involved in missions

If you pay attention to the news, watch YouTube videos, or read social media posts, then you will begin to notice that everyone seems to have a platform whether he or she comes from a religious background or not. People have causes they believe in and are willing to fight for. The numbers of people giving to charities, working with organizations to help those in need, and participating in community service are astounding. Colleges applaud volunteer work, and some high schools now even give special diplomas for students who earn a set number of hours of service. It seems many people have the desire to help others.

The biggest difference between secular acts of service and what we call missions is motivation. When we participate in missions, we meet people’s physical needs to introduce them to Jesus; missions is service with an evangelical focus.

In a world where so many people want to help others, Christians have an amazing opportunity to make a mission out of providing service opportunities.

Show Your Love and Say Thanks to Military Wives

In thinking about Project HELP: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, I thought it might be a good idea to plan a retreat for military wives. We honor the enlisted men and women who defend our country, but what about their spouses and the sacrifices they make? Little did I know that some of the military wives who came would share that their husbands have PTSD or were wounded and they needed this time for themselves so much!

To provide this time “away” was a blessing as I watched them connect with each other and our leaders. The retreat was beyond anything I could begin to explain—it was a God-appointed time just for them and they “soaked” it up.

Our purpose was to provide an opportunity for them to be refreshed and renewed. Using my military task force and my special PTSD task force, I had great resource people to help me think through this idea. I applied for a grant for military ministry, wanting to be able to use some of those funds to provide this retreat for the military wives so they would not have to pay anything to come.

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Connect the Dots

National WMU has launched a new growth plan called Connect the Dots. I believe you will find this to be an effective plan as you share the joy of what it means to serve God and His people.

Discover New Members 

Look around your church and discover how you can add new members to your existing WMU organizations. Many people are looking for ways to get involved; they just need to be invited.

Organize Groups 

Could your church form new WMU groups? Are you currently leading children in missions through Children in Action but could transition to Girls in Action for girls and Royal Ambassadors for boys? Do you have missions education for every age level, including young women? If not, consider starting a myMISSION group for them.

Teach Churches 

There are churches in your community without missions education for children and adults. Build relationships with the leadership in those churches and share the importance of ongoing missions education for all ages. Assist them as they begin and encourage them in their efforts.

Spotlight Entry Points 

Let It Go!

I had the privilege of being a part of an associational WMU celebration that included a mealtime and great opportunity for fellowship. I love meeting people and wanted to engage in conversation with the people around me whom I’d just met.

As I engaged in conversation with a woman seated across from me, I quickly learned that she was a part of the associational WMU leadership team. I thanked her for serving and she very quickly began sharing with me that she would be resigning her leadership position by the end of the year. She told me she no longer felt she should be serving on the leadership team because she was not needed. I asked her why she felt she wasn’t needed. The reason—the associational WMU director was not delegating or relinquishing any responsibilities to her. Under those circumstances, I believe we would all come to the same conclusion.

She went on to say, “Have you heard the expression that with some people it is their way or the highway? That’s what I’m dealing with.”

Participate in Children’s Ministry Day

Each February, thousands of children across North America participate in ministry projects on the same day:Children’s Ministry Day. 

Since 2008, more than 170,000 people have taken part in CMD! WMU invites all children in grades 1–6 to participate February 13.

This year’s theme is All for You and the theme verse is Mark 8:34 (NIrV): “Jesus called the crowd to him along with his disciples. He said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must say no to themselves. They must pick up their cross and follow me.’”

Lead your church to plan a hands-on CMD project that involves children in direct ministry to unchurched community members. Use these ideas to get started:

Start Something New

I love wandering through bookstores when I have free time. While I have a Kindle and a tablet for reading when I fly on airplanes, I really prefer a real book. I love the feel and smell of a new book and the comfort it brings as my mind is transported wherever the book takes me.

I especially love missionary biographies like Both Feet In by Bud Fray and A Thousand Times Yes by Wana Ann Fort. Books like these provide deeper insight into the life and calling of missionaries and inspire us to lead and participate in missions with passion as well as knowledge. Their stories challenge us to commit our very best to the calling God has given us to live a missional life.

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