Pastors: The key to a church’s missionary vision
By AfriGO Team
God has chosen pastors to direct his church. It is the pastor’s vision and example that will steer the church and its participation in mission. If you lead a church, your role is to help your congregation understand and accept its responsibility for mission, both locally and beyond. Everyone needs to know that we all have a part to play in God’s missionary plan.
You can encourage every member to take part in mission by going or by sending (through praying and giving). Consider giving a missionary message to God’s people at every opportunity.
Your church might have a missions committee or programme, but don’t form a committee to do what the whole church should be doing! This is a great start! But no matter where your church is currently, there are always more steps to take when it comes to cross-cultural mission. You may be able to help your members come to a place where the people can say, “We are a missions-minded church,” not just “We are a church with a missions programme.”
Serving in mission should not only be something discussed by six people in a church office. How much better if it is on the lips of every person in the congregation! Instead of a world mission focus one week per year in a big campaign or conference, why not follow up with missions information and challenges throughout the year?
Mission trips are not just for the youth group. A trip to visit a people group who are living and dying without Christ in your country or the country next door can open a person’s eyes and expand their vision. Give members of your church a chance to take part in a mission trip – it’s life changing!
Pastor, God is calling you to encourage the missionary vision in your church. Teach your members that they:
- are a necessary part of the (praying, giving and going) team.
- need to commit themselves financially and also keep their promises. Their offerings are valuable no matter how much they give.
- are privileged to pray for their missionary regularly; their prayers make a difference.
- should be involved in the neighbourhood, country and world.
- need to have short-term goals and long-term goals.
Here are some ideas to help shepherd your church:
Host a missions conference. Invite missionaries or people who have participated in mission trips so they can share, train and challenge.
Plan a fundraising event. This motivates and raises awareness, so the church can pray for and give to missions. Even before your church has missionaries, the congregation can start saving for missions. At the same time, people can be praying for God to raise up missionaries. Whether your church supports them partially or 100% will depend upon the circumstances, but those whom God has called should be able to count on support from their home church.
Adopt a missionary. Every Sunday school class, church group or ministry can do this. The goal is to keep in contact with and meet some of the missionary’s needs. He or she will feel supported and loved, and the group will grow in their in commitment to mission.
Encourage giving. Everyone, starting with the children, can learn to give consistently and from the heart. Offer practical ideas about how to save or raise money.
Highlight mission in church services. At least a few minutes of every service should be dedicated to mission. Show the congregation that your church’s involvement in mission is important to you.
Inspire through missionaries’ stories. Make use of their testimonies and stories and recommend their biographies. Use visual aids when possible: flags, maps, pictures, PowerPoint presentations and bulletins.
Create a missions wall. Post to the wall names and faces of missionaries the church supports. Put missionaries’ letters there and highlight the important points mentioned.
Study the book of Acts. Preach on this book and organise an in-depth study. Help your congregation learn what it has to say about mission.
Start missions support groups. Start a prayer group for missions or a missions committee.
Excerpted and adapted from Let’s Go! Interactive Missionary Training, SIM International, April 2015 edition.
Photo by Joni Byker