Missions Growth

All Things Big and Small

When I think of missions, my first thought is a big trip taken overseas. I think of going to Africa or Asia, eating strange new foods, forging new relationships and working hard, and meeting the needs of people who have never heard of Jesus.

Then I look around me and realize there are people right outside my front door who have never heard of Jesus. I realize that anywhere I am is a missions field if I’ll just let God use me as a missionary.

It’s hard to remember that we are called to be missionaries as soon as we accept Jesus into our hearts. It’s hard to be intentional about sharing His love with others as we go about our sometimes mundane day-to-day tasks.

We don’t have to pack a giant backpack and head to Africa in order to be missionaries. In fact, there are over 269 million lost people in North America, so we need to consider taking off our giant backpacks and reaching out to our many neighbors who are lost.

See a Need, Meet a Need

One size fits all. Not really. I have never been a “one size fits all” woman. We are all unique. Some are tall, some are small, some are thin, and some are not at all. So if “one size fits all” doesn’t work with our clothes, why do we think it would work with our missions efforts?

There are a lot of approaches to missions growth. But I don’t think that there is one magic approach that fits everyone. Here are a few that have worked in New Mexico.

Look for a need, and then find a solution for that need. We had a small Children in Action group that we wanted to grow. We noticed that many of the elementary students had to wait for older siblings to get out of sports practice to go home. So we changed the time of our CA group to that hour. Now years later, we have more than tripled the size of our original group.

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.

5 Questions to Start a New Year of Missions

Welcome to a new church year and a new year for your adult missions group! Just as January 1 brings the feeling of a fresh start, the beginning of a new church year can be a great time to give a fresh start to your group.

Here are some questions to get your leadership thinking about how you can grow this year:

In the Bag

A number of years ago, my husband took a new pastorate. I was quite saddened to learn that there was no missions organization in the church and determined that I would seek to change that.

Shortly after settling in, I mailed a plain brown lunch sack to each woman who actively attended the church. Inside it was an invitation to a women’s get-together at the church with instructions to put something in the bag that represented her and bring it with her to the meeting.

As the women gathered, we shared what was in our bags. Some women brought an item from a favorite collection. Some brought items representing their hobbies. One woman brought a favorite recipe. One woman brought pictures of her grandchildren. Another brought a book she was reading. One after another, the women showed what they’d brought and told their story. We oohed and aahed . . . and had fun learning about each other.

Grow One by One

I’ll never forget my first invitation to be a part of my church’s Women on Mission group. I was a young mother at the time and remember picking up my daughter from the nursery one Sunday following the worship service. Once our family returned home and I was going through the diaper bag, I noticed a diaper in the bag that did not belong to my daughter. Someone had written on the diaper just as you would write out an invitation to a party or gathering. The invitation was to the Women on Mission meeting for the following night.

I had wanted to get involved with that group and having that very unique invitation was just what I needed. I became a part of that missions group and never looked back.

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.

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.

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