There are a number of elements which can reliably get your church excited about missions.
- personalize missions by getting your people face-to-face with real live missionaries
- present them with quality media (e.g.- printed materials, graphics, audio visuals, video)
- clearly communicate practical ways and opportunities by which they can get connected, involved, and support missions ministries
- develop channels for building long-term relationships with missionaries and their field ministries
- facilitate detailed and personal prayer for missionaries and their real-life issues (e.g.- living environment, cultural challenges, children and family issues, specific ministry goals)
All of these elements typically come together in some kind of annual missions celebration. Traditionally, strongly missions minded churches held special missions oriented meetings and events for an eight-day missions conference, starting on a Sunday and running through the following Sunday. In today’s world, most churches adopt a less intensive program using a half-week format (Wednesday through Sunday), a special weekend of events (Friday through Sunday), or a special series of weekends (quarterly or a couple Sundays in a row). The missions emphasis event or missions conference becomes a highlight in the church calendar. It is a celebration in which God’s work through the church to the world is displayed and everyone is invited to participate.
The missions conference is a unique opportunity in the church’s life to focus on what God is doing by way of outreach to the community and to the nations. It is usually an unprecedented opportunity to launch new initiatives, promote missions education, and build stronger ownership with the missionaries and ministries you support.
The key elements for getting your church excited about missions all come into play at the annual missions conference. But, your missions team also needs a plan to sustain those elements through the year.