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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. 

 

Recognize Spiritual Growth

I’m going to reminisce a bit here so please humor me for just a moment. I’ve had the privilege of being a missions leader for a number of years. In years past, I served as GA director in my church. One of the highlights for the girls was the recognition service in May.

Each GA had been paired with a woman in the church who was a part of Women on Mission. Throughout the year, each GA and “mentor” had forged a relationship with each other and the family of the GA. The mentor would come to GA on the fourth week of the month to help her GA with her individual achievement plan activities. In addition, the GA and her mentor would do things together at various times during the year as well as attending our GA/Mentor Tea on a Sunday afternoon in the spring.

Use Missions Involvement as a Catalyst for Missions Growth

Your church may be planning some summer missions experiences. These may include a missions trip, outreach during a community event, a special project with children, or some other missions involvement targeting a group in your church. Often projects of this nature are planned as one-time experiences, but they can be catalysts for ongoing missions involvement if you plan ahead.

• Plan well for the missions experience. Make sure the project meets a need and is well organized. Begin making plans for a follow-up experience as well.

• Engage others in planning.

• If you are going to assist at an established ministry site, then include the ministry leader(s) in your planning. Coordinate the plans of your group with them.

• Advertise who you will be ministering to and specific tasks to be done during the ministry.

• If items are needed for the project, tell people in your church what is needed and by what date.

• Provide training as needed. This may be done the day of the event or in advance.

• Take pictures of people from your church as they are engaged in the ministry.

Prepare for Leadership Surprises

I am an “out front” leader. I have been all my life. My dad loved to tell the story of taking me as a preschooler to visit Vacation Bible School at another church. It must have been the first day and there was a bit of confusion about lining up to go in. My dad said I announced to the other children, “Follow me; I know what to do.”

Thus my first surprise in leadership was to learn that not all leaders are like me and that my style irritates some people. This was and still is a painful lesson. It is one of the most difficult issues I face in leadership. It is helpful to remember you can’t please all the people all the time, yet sensitivity to your own style is valuable.

Another important lesson was to value those who lead without title or position. Some people aspire to be leaders, while others just are leaders, even without recognized leadership roles. They are often the people who lead from behind and get more done than most of us realize. Without them, many projects and events would never happen.

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Work Better with Church Staff

As a WMU leader, a good working relationship with church staff is vital. Whether your church has just a few staff members or many staff members, get to know them and be aware of their responsibilities.

DO

  • Respect their time. Make appointments when you need to meet with them whether for planning or discussing an item of concern.
  • Include staff in planning. Ask for staff members’ input and ideas before asking for their help.
  • Thank them for their help. No matter how seemingly small the task, your appreciation goes a long way.
  • Honor church policies and procedures. Your cooperation helps the staff do its work and will help you achieve your goals.
  • Plan ahead and keep deadlines.
  • Honor your commitments to church staff. If you have agreed to carry out a task, then do it with excellence.
  • Pray for church staff.
  • Participate fully in church activities. Be supportive of the staff in all areas.
  • Volunteer to help with a variety of church activities. Staff members appreciate those who help where needed.

DON’T

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Responding to Global Hunger

Two years ago while on a missions trip to South Africa, I had the opportunity to participate in food distribution in the local community. The missionaries with whom I was working informed my team that the food had been purchased with Global Hunger Relief funds. It was a thrill for me to have a firsthand opportunity to hand out the bags of food and share with those receiving them.

Two hundred families had the all-important yellow card that allowed them to receive food. To my dismay, there were an equal number of families—including child-headed households—beyond the fence waiting and hoping for some food. Did these families riot when there was no food for them? No, they waited patiently—albeit desperately—for whatever there might be for them. As we concluded the distribution and had to leave, they were still standing there looking through the fence.

Scenes such as this change your life. I have always led in the Global Hunger Emphasis in my church, challenging our members to give so that we can do our part to alleviate hunger around the world. To be able to go the next step and respond personally has ramped up my efforts.

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.

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