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.

We love to have missionaries speak at our churches, but generally when missionaries come, they speak at 11 a.m. and are then on their way. Making one of these churches aware that a missionary is in town may elicit an invitation to speak at the church in the evening or during an earlier morning service. Don’t assume that these churches know how to contact a missionary speaker. Matching a missionary with a church can help that congregation learn about missions around the world.

Often associations have corporate missions opportunities such as providing meals at a homeless shelter, working in a clothes closet or food pantry, or hosting birthday parties at a local nursing home. Many times, these ministries are arranged by the associational WMU leadership team and may be offered only to those churches with WMU. Making contact with other churches not only helps to spread the responsibility for these ministries but also gives these churches the opportunity to be involved.

Be sure to call on a church that doesn’t have WMU when you need a venue for a missions event. Churches love to host other churches, show off their facilities, and demonstrate their hospitality. Because a church is hosting the event, its church family will be there to see to needs. And in doing so, the church will be participating in an event it might otherwise miss.

While we are helping these churches grow in their missions involvement, we’re also helping them to see the value of WMU and connecting the dots. 

Susan Bryant lives in Kentucky, where she lives out her passion for missions by serving as president, Kentucky WMU, and a trustee for the International Mission Board.

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