Missions Growth

Looking for Pen Pals?

Here’s a plan: Help another church start missions education, and you’ll always have a group to send letters to!

To find a church interested in starting a missions education class, inquire to see if your church, association, or state WMU office has a partnership with another state. Once you’ve found a partnership, contact that convention office and let them know that you’d like to find a church in their area that might be interested in starting a missions education organization. Ask them to help provide a church name and contact person for you to talk to about starting missions discipleship.

What’s next?

The Right Questions

I like to ask questions, sometimes to the dismay of my co-workers. I also like to have information as I make decisions, and questions help me secure the needed information.

Asking questions is another way of evaluating—something we should continually be doing. While we often evaluate at the completion of an event, the beginning of the church year is another great time to do so. Let’s Connect the Dots by asking the following questions:

Bitten by the Missions Bug

Missions is in my blood. I grew up with a mother and a grandmother who loved missions and it has always been a part of my life. Even though my love for God and missions started at a young age, becoming involved in missions requires no set age or way.

People both young and old can pray for missions, give to support missions, and participate in missions close to home or far away. Once you have been bitten by the missions bug, praying, giving, going, and serving are things you will continue to do forever as you develop a missions lifestyle.

Find ways to get others involved in missions by connecting the DOTS

Connect the Dots: Share the Benefits of Missions Education with Others Around You

As a kid, I loved connect the dots puzzles. Most of the time, I could easily see the hidden picture long before the dots were connected. Occasionally, however, the completed picture eluded me until I was almost done with the puzzle. With missions education, we often don’t see the finished product for years, if at all. Remember that child you taught years ago? He’s now a missionary in Asia. Remember that missions offering your church collected for world hunger? A family of six was able to survive until their crops were harvested. Only God can see the big picture of your church’s missions involvement, and it’s up to us to continue connecting the dots. The WMU Growth Plan gives us an easy way to do this.

D: Discover new members. In your church, you can easily find people of all ages who are not currently involved in missions organizations. Make sure parents know the details of your missions organizations and personally invite them to bring their children. Encourage participation in missions education for all age groups.

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.

If you’re wondering how you can help all of those lost people, start with prayer. Prayer is powerful and intentional and miraculous. You are doing amazing things when you pray.

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.

These did not happen overnight. They grew and continue to grow from a concentrated focus on missions. The following 3 steps remain vital for our church or any church to promote missions growth:

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.

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