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7 Ways You Can Launch a Missions Movement In Your Church

By Mike Pettengill, Nov 2, 2015

Many churches want to be involved in global outreach and missions, but feel they can’t. Our church is too old, too young, too poor, too new, spread too thin, or just not ready. Are these excuses valid?

One common reason churches are not involved in missions is failing to understand that involvement in missions is a biblical imperative. Scripture mandates local churches and their members to glorify the Lord by sharing His grace, mercy and truth with the lost across the street and around the world.

Acts 1:8 tells us we must share the gospel in our town and around the world. Matthew 28:18-20 commands us to go to all nations and make disciples. Jeremiah 22:3 tells us to show justice to the orphan and the widow. Isaiah 58:10 says we are to feed the hungry. Missions is important for the spiritual growth of Christian disciples and for the expansion of the kingdom.

Once we grasp that we must be involved in missions, the question becomes how. Even with limited resources, your church can foster a missions movement. If your church is not involved in global outreach, here are a few ideas for you and your church leadership to prayerfully consider:

1. Teach
From the pulpit and in all your Sunday school classes begin teaching about what Scripture says about missions and serving the poor. Allow your congregation to be educated on the importance of glorifying the Lord through service. Lesslie Newbigin said, “Mission is an acted out doxology. That is its deepest secret. Its purpose is that God may be glorified.” The church is a place to educate, instruct, and prepare its members to impact the world and share God’s love, mercy, and message. Our purpose in the church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ and teach them to make disciples.

2. Pray
During your weekly services begin to pray for the missionaries you know. Pray as a congregation for several missionaries by name. Include missions ministries in your prayer bulletin and during all prayer times. A.B Simpson said, “Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” If you don’t know the names of missionaries ask your denomination or neighboring churches.

3. Host
Invite a missionary to come talk about their ministry at your church and host them for a lunch. Allow Sunday school classes to ask questions of the missionary. Invite a missionary to preach on missions. When missionaries come visit your church thank them and honor them in front of the congregation. Cover the cost the missionary incurs visiting you. Plan a missions conference and invite several missionaries.

4. Serve
Get out in your community and have your church serve the poor where you live. Organize volunteer efforts for your church at senior centers, food pantries, or women’s shelters. If your church isn’t spreading the gospel to the lost across the street and around the world, your church doesn’t understand the gospel.

5. Support
Begin to financially support missionaries and missions organizations. Provide your congregation with opportunities to sew, collect baby clothes, donate food, or financially support a missionary on their own. John Piper said, “All the money needed to send and support an army of self-sacrificing, joy-spreading ambassadors is already in the church.” Did God make U.S. churches the richest in history so they could buy new cushions for their pews or to spread the gospel around the world?

6. Go
Contact your denomination or a non-denominational Christian missions agency and inquire about opportunities to send a short-term mission team next summer. Collect information on how high school and college students can be missions interns. Organize several annual missions trips and make them regular events at your church.

7. Send
Ask your congregants to prayerfully consider moving to the mission field. Encourage them to dramatically alter their lives and serve Christ in the world. Mike Stachura said, “The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” Challenge your church to take a drastic step of faith to glorify God. The church is in greater danger by being safe than it is in taking risks to evangelize the lost.

Missions and global outreach can be hard for individuals and congregations to understand. Began to transform the DNA of your church and facilitate their growth. Foster a radical heart for the world in your congregation. The gospel doesn’t teach us how to better love ourselves, we do that just fine. Instead, the gospel teaches us how to better love the world.

Mike Pettengill has served with MTW in Honduras and Equatorial Guinea. He is now the director of MTW’s West Coast office.

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Pray for our single missionaries serving internationally in the midst of their unique struggles. 

Pray for missionaries to remain faithful in the mundane and not get caught up in striving to perform for the praise of others. 

Pray for missionaries who are doing valuable work yet have trouble raising support because their work or field is deemed less exciting or less important than other mission work by some in the church. 

Pray for missionaries raising support and for potential donors to grasp the eternal importance of supporting missions.

Pray for missionaries who are experiencing homesickness on the field.

Please pray for God’s protection over new missionaries and our MTW family as we engage in God’s kingdom work.

Pray for current missionaries, future missionaries, sending churches, and donors to be willing to ask the question, "How could God use me?"

Pray for missionaries on the field who struggle with loneliness.

Pray for a new parish-style church in Bangkok, Thailand, where the missionaries and church members are able to live in close proximity to one another and more easily minister to the community around them. 

Pray for God's provision for missionaries raising support, and that they would remember that developing ministry partners is a ministry.

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