Missions Resources for the Local Church

This is a condensed version of the missions notebook I created during Intro to Missiology. Resources are linked to rather than quoted.

Introduction

“The mission of the church is to glorify God by making Him known. Mission refers to the total biblical assignment of the church of Jesus Christ. ” Every church should equip its members to fulfill the Great Commission, our biblical assignment. We should live out the Acts 1:8 principle, sharing the good news with both those who are near to us geographically and culturally, and those who are far from us.

The following is a collection of resources that a non-denominational church may use in order to equip its members to accomplish the Great Commission . It is in no way exhaustive, but serves as a starting point on which to build.

Missions Education

Every church member should be encouraged to Pray, Give, Go, and/or Serve. All must know about missions in order to participate in missions. The following is a collection of resources available to church members that would allow them to increase their knowledge of God’s heart for the nations, as well as the needs around the globe.

Examples include a dedicated mission’s bulletin board, mission’s booth, bulletin inserts, and articles in the church newsletter or email. Messages should be regularly preached about missions, and missionaries should regularly be given time to share their experiences with local churches.

A list of the missionaries the church supports should be made available to members of the congregation, along with general ways they can encourage those serving . Members in the church should maintain regular contact with missionaries on the field. Missionary updates should be made available to the congregation, both in written and electronic forms.

Adult Programs

Perspectives. The following information is taken from the Perspectives website. The Perspectives course can be offered as a seminar, or for credit. This course has had major impact on those I know who have participated.

Other “Introduction to Missions” courses can be found at the Go Online Website.

College/Young Adult Programs

The Traveling Team. The Traveling Team are a group of mobilizers who spend their time visiting college campuses to encourage students to become world Christians, to go, give, pray, and serve. They have been very effective in cultivating a heart for missions within college and young adult ministries.

The IT Project. The IT project was the most effective thing we did with college students at one of my former churches. College students will come back with a heart on fire for the world. The IT project includes an accelerated Perspectives course, along with visits to temples of all major religions, street evangelism, small group discipleship, and fun.

Urbana. Urbana is a student missions convention that takes place every 3 years in the Midwest over Winter Break. Students may talk with representatives from many different missions organizations all in one place.

Children’s Programs

The THUMB prayer is one of the best ways I’ve seen to educate children about unreached people groups around the world. There are several different curricula available that use the THUMB analogy.

Worship Resources

There are many websites offering suggestions about music you can use in worship services which are about sharing our faith around the globe.

Howard Culbertson of Southern Nazarene University provides a long list of songs that are missions-related. “In some of these songs the missionary emphasis is only inferred. In others, a phrase or two has a missions accent; in some missions will permeate the entire song.”

Many hymnals also have an index listing songs that may be used for missions themed services.

Internet Resources

RSS Feeds. There are many news feeds for missions available on the internet. The Joshua project has three feeds that members may subscribe to; the Unreached People Group of the Day, the Mission Fact of the Day, and the Mission Scripture of the Day. The feeds may be subscribed to by visiting the Joshua Project Website.

New Tribes Missions has prayer feeds, as well as scripture feeds, and feeds related to specific countries and projects. Visit their website to subscribe.

Website Widgets. Widgets are small pieces of code made available for you to display on your own website. The Joshua Project also offers a widget containing the unreached people group of the day, along with instructions for inserting it into your church webpage or blog.

Prayer Support

Prayer for Local Missions

The GoConnect website offers great first steps in prayer for local missions.

Prayer for the 10/40 Window

Window International Network has an interactive online map with prayer information specifically for the countries within the 10/40 window . Demographic information for each country is included, along with information about terrorism, religion, Christian challenges, and specific prayer points.

Prayer for the Whole World

Operation World offers information that will allow readers to pray through every continent and country in a year. For internet users, I recommend that people set their browser homepage to their pray today page. The bookmark is http://www.operationworld.org/today.html. That page automatically forwards the user to information for the current day.

In Internet Explorer, you may go to “Tools”, “Internet Options”, and on the “General” tab, under “Home page”, type the URL in the box under home page.

In Firefox, you may go to “Tools”, “Options”, and on the “Main” tab, and next to “Home Page,” type the URL in the box, and choose “OK” in the bottom of the window.

Printed Operation World books and calendars are also available on their website.

Pray for Individual Missionaries.

The church should also be praying for Individual Missionaries. Encourage the members of your church to become prayer partners for at least one missionary that you support.

Financial Support

The church should aim, minimally, to tithe their budget. Ten percent of a chuch budget should be given to projects not related to local congregational programs. Giving should be divided between local, national, and international missions projects.

Volunteerism: Finding Missions Projects

MSearch

MSearch, from Urbana.org, has an extensive search of missions projects.

MissionNext

MissionNext is an organization aimed at connecting twenty and thirty somethings with missions sending organizations.

Finishers Project

The Finishers Project has an extensive directory of projects for those late in life who would like to spend time on the missions field.

Musicians Projects

The following resources are specifically for musicians interested in using their musical gifts and talents on the mission field.

Missions Trips. An organization called “Global Missions Project exists for the purpose of using musical expression to change lives. From Scotland to Japan, Belgium to Trinidad, and Brazil to the Middle-East lives are being changed by the power of the gospel through music.”

Keynote. Keynote is Campus Crusade for Christ’s music and missions ministry. Their website includes information about becoming full-time staff, doing 1 year internships, or summer projects.

Ethnomusicology. Wycliffe has an ethnomusicology division, which is dedicated to learning the indigenous musical language of a culture and composing worship music in the language of that culture.

Other Specialty Areas

There are many other “specialty areas” in missions. GoConnect Strategic Ministries has a nice, full listing of links.

Short Term Projects

Here is an interesting clip from a press release by Wycliffe about “Vacations with a Purpose.” Short term missions may not produce a large percentage of people who serve overseas, but it is often a way to develop people’s heart for giving and praying for missions.

General Evangelism Resources

Servant Evangelism

Steve Sjogren’s website, “Outflow,” has a directory of a couple of hundred servant evangelism projects searchable by people, place, and time. Results are ranked by number of people required for the project, and project cost.

North American Evangelism

The North American Mission Board website has links to many resources to aid in US church planting and evangelism, listed by audience.