A missions-minded church is pastor-driven. The pastor creates a mission culture through his leadership. Besides preaching Gospel messages, he compels his people to join in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) to take the Gospel beyond the walls of the church—as far as the nations, in fact.
He regularly shares the pulpit with missionaries. As missionaries share their stories, they become “real people” and can inspire others to join in the work. The pastor partners with missionaries locally, nationally and internationally. A missions-minded pastor depends on missions-minded members.
Here are three ways members can personally participate:
1. Learn about missions. The more you know about specific missionaries and their needs, the more specifically you can pray and support them. If your church has mission education classes, join in. The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) has mission education material for all ages, boys and girls, men and women to partner with churches to make disciples who make disciples.
WMU even has a new resource for youth, “Missions Journey: Students.” If your church does not have a specific time set aside for mission education, the material can be used to supplement other gathering times. You can find these relevant resources at wmu.com.
Sign up to receive missionary updates from missionaries you know. These periodic updates can keep you connected to missionaries around the world. The International Mission Board (IMB) and North American Mission Board (NAMB) also have great resources to inform you about missionaries (imb.org, namb.net).
2. Support missions. You can financially support mission endeavors and missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program and specific mission offerings. In the fall, the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering supports pastors, provides evangelistic opportunities, and embraces brokenness as an opportunity for Gospel advance in Oklahoma. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering raises money to support NAMB missionaries. To support IMB missionaries, you can participate in the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
Besides praying for and giving to missionaries, you may be able to join them on the field. A short-term mission trip provides an up-close and personal way to support missionaries.
Responding to missionary updates also grows your friendship with missionaries. They would love to know how to pray for you, as well. Everyone can play a part in supporting missionaries.
3. Be on mission wherever you are and wherever you go. A missions-minded church does not merely rely on agency supported missionaries to obey God’s command to go. They understand the responsibility of the church. Ed Stetzer explained, “Not God’s church has a mission, but God’s mission has a church.” God has called each church to be on mission with Him. Look around your church. How can you corporately reach out? How can you help the brokenness around you to earn the right to share the hope of Jesus?
A missions-minded church reaches out.
God also calls us individually to fulfill His Great Commission. You may never set foot overseas, but God has placed you in a unique mission field. Look around you. Engage people in your path. Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with them. Boldly share your testimony with love.
A missions-minded member goes.