Make Missions Meaningful
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The whole church can become excited about missions when it becomes actively involved in missions, rather than just sitting on the sidelines.
The highlight of one church is the annual missions conference. Many missionaries and pastors attend, as well as laymen and women. Some help in the kitchen preparing and serving meals to the conferees. Others work on the mission displays. The nursery provides opportunity for active participation of others.
In another church women make quilts and members purchase items for the missionaries who come by. In other churches busy hands pack boxes to send to missionaries at Christmas time.
Now let's talk about some practical ways to make missions meaningful and vital to our Sunday School.
Start with Visual Aids.
Flannelgraph and flashcards not only hold the attention of the young, they also aid memory, and help them visualize the scene.
Be innovative. Use the blackboard or chalk talks. Collect or make dolls to show them how the natives dress. (Juniors and older pupils can help with this.)
Make a missionary display on a bulletin board. Use maps. Announce the coming of a missionary in your church bulletin as well as from the pulpit. Advertise with a feature story in the newspaper.
Utilize Missionary Speakers.
When you have a real live missionary, invite them to speak in your Sunday School, your women's meetings, Daily Vacation Bible School, your Christian day school. Use them as much as possible.
Missionaries and their families love to get letters. Don't forget the missionary children. Get your juniors and teens involved in writing letters to them.
Appoint a missions chairman. Ask for volunteers to write letters. Provide your chairman with postage stamps, envelopes and air letters. He can assign missionaries to these volunteers and give them self-addressed mailers. Have a Testimony for Missions Night for sharing excerpts from the missionary's letters.
Check first which items can be sent duty-free. Find out what your missionary needs and wants.
You might want to send Christmas packages. Christmas is a lonely time for missionaries as they are away from loved ones. Christmas packages help to fill this void.
Some missionaries could use Bibles and Scriptures portions. These would be appropriate any time of the year.
From time to time your missionary will have special needs. Perhaps your church could respond to some of these.
Use Missionary Banks.
Make small missionary banks and distribute to your Sunday School. Encourage class members to drop in their dimes and quarters instead of buying candy and other treats. Decide on specified collection dates. Send the money thus collected for some special mission project.
One year the Daily Vacation Bible School at Bodine Baptist in Oklahoma City took us on as their missionaries. This came to almost exactly the amount we needed to pay our rent that month. What a blessing! Above All Pray.
Some churches or women's groups appoint a missionary of the month. Needs of this missionary is made known. Each one is encouraged to set aside time during this month to pray for the missionary.
Print up missionary prayer lists for each class member. Urge them to place these in a prominent spot and spend time praying for each request.
Have the class members adopt different missionaries to pray for. Make up individual prayer lists and give the appropriate lists to these volunteers.
When the church becomes actively involved in doing for missions, you will find the mission program becoming alive with new meaning for each participant.
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