associational

Focus on Generations

Imagine a gym full of preschoolers through women in their 80s. Imagine fun and games mixed with ministry. Imagine a multigenerational morning celebrating Focus on WMU association-wide. 

While it might sound unwieldy to have all age levels together for 1 large event, everyone in our association enjoyed eating a potluck brunch before the children led in prayer for those on the missionary prayer calendar. Soon everyone split into groups to work on ministry projects specifically designed for his or her age level.

Moms who were not members of Women on Mission participated with other women and learned more about missions. In a role reversal, the children worked on projects while the adults played games designed to help them learn more about missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering® using ideas that could be duplicated in their churches. Laughter swirled around the gym.

Pray for Missions

Prayer is vital to all we do in WMU. We can’t all go, but we can all pray.

Hold a special prayertime focusing on those serving globally and in the United States. Pray also for those without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting a missionary family who served in Brazil for many years through the International Mission Board (IMB) and learning the story of their miracle daughter, Priscila: 

In 1996, we were pregnant with baby number 4. We were just out of language school and living in Niterói, a city of around 500,000. We had planned on having this baby like the previous 3 and doing natural childbirth. We had finally found a doctor who would agree to not do a C-section and had just begun practicing our Lamaze breathing methods. However, God had other plans. Our youngest daughter, Priscila, was not going to come into this world on time but would instead arrive 2 months premature.

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.

Scenario 4

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

For many of us, the title of this blog brings to mind the title of one of the wonderful hymns of our faith. It is one of my favorites.

I must confess that as much as I love singing this beautiful hymn, I have to be very aware of the words—“Wherever He leads I’ll go.” You see, I’m a planner and an administrator. While these can be great traits, they can also be stumbling blocks. I have to ask, “Are these your plans, Lord, or mine?” Ouch!

As I reflect on the emphasis, All for You, I’m continually challenged to surrender, sacrifice, and serve:

• surrender completely by denying self;

• sacrifice willingly by taking up my cross;

• serve intentionally by following Christ into my community, state, and world.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

Emphasize the Association

I’m thankful to be a part of a church that values our local Baptist association. Keeping the ministries, resources, and needs of the association in front of the church assists the church in continuing to pray for and be a part of the ministries of the association.

During the Associational Missions Emphasis on May 15–22, our association will host an open house. This is the time for church members of all ages to meet the associational staff, see the facilities, and learn even more about the ministries and churches in the association. During this time, church members can prayerwalk the facilities and commit to pray for the association in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead.

Find out what your association is doing to celebrate this coming week and consider ways your church can be involved. And check out the Summer issue of Missions Leader for creative ways to focus on associational missions. 

 

Passport Not Needed

The International Mission Study is always an eye-opener as to what is actually going on and where God is at work around the world. Through this focused study, our church members can travel around the world without having a passport or getting those painful and expensive shots!

In past years, our church held a special event where the study was taught and a covered-dish meal, with foods from the country being studied, was served. Other years, we used the study as our mission study during the November monthly Women on Mission®meetings. In both cases, we decorated the room and tables to carry through the theme of the study.

One year, we decided on a different approach. As associational WMU director, I invited the director of missions to team-teach the mission study with me. Special invitations were mailed to pastors of churches in the association telling them the theme of the study and the time frame needed for presenting the study.

Building Missional Churches

We all have them in our associations—churches that have not caught the vision for how WMU can be an integral part of missions in their churches. Does that mean that those churches will totally miss the boat when it comes to missions involvement? Not at all. But it often requires that we come alongside them in order to help them develop a heart for missions.

As an associational WMU director, I made a point of getting to know the pastors in my association. Getting to know about the pastors and their churches helped to make a connection with them and understand their direction. I always made sure that the pastors and key people who didn’t have WMU in their churches received the same information as other churches. This might be through letters, emails, or phone calls. And since everyone seems to be on Facebook these days, you could start a group for associational churches to keep them informed of missions opportunities and allow them to interact as they post on the page as well.

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