What Can the Church Do to Address Human Trafficking?

HOW SHOULD THE CHURCH RESPOND TO THOSE ENSLAVED TODAY?

“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves.  Remove your evil deeds from My sight.  Stop doing evil.  Learn to do what is good.  Seek justice.  Rebuke the oppressor.  Defend the rights of the fatherless.  Plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16-19).

The church cannot ignore the issue of human trafficking.  The church is called stand against evil, seek justice, care for the least of these, and rebuke the oppressor.  Our God calls us to speak out and to reach out.

AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, HE CALLS US TO BE AGENTS OF JUSTICE AND TRUTH… OF LOVE AND GRACE.

What can the church do?

  • Care enough to get involved.
  • Begin paying attention and being aware of those that may be victims of human trafficking.
  • Avoid the temptation to blame the victims for their situations.
  • Be willing to reach out and offer a hand of help and hope to someone victimized by trafficking.  Offer unconditional love and remember that the chains of sin are not always broken quickly.
  • Realize that breaking the chains of trafficking will not come easy; it will require time, patience, and endurance.
  • Understand that not every situation will result in success, but through the power of God, victories are possible.
  • Address the issue of pornography honestly with your church from the pulpit and in small groups.
  • Begin men’s and women’s groups, where individuals can find a safe place to share their struggles and be freed from pornography’s hold through transparency, accountability, biblical study, and prayer.
  • Train church, children, and youth leaders to recognize the signs of abuse and trafficking vulnerability; and seek to increase awareness how perpetrators utilize extortion and weak areas to exploit the vulnerable.
  • Utilize MinistrySafe and their five-part system that provides a framework for sexual abuse prevention in your ministry areas.
  • Be cautious in allowing new members or new attendees to your church in serving in children’s or youth ministry.
  • Conduct Child Protection training for church, youth, and children’s leaders.
  • Develop child protection policies that build in safeguards.
  • Conduct background checks on youth and children’s leaders in the church before allowing them to serve.
  • Teach Biblical sexuality in appropriate settings to youth and adults.
  • Support or volunteer with a ministry that is working to free victims from trafficking.

The church can make a difference and free those chained by exploitation and evil.

“Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).

Unpacking Your Short-Term Mission Experience

After you’ve planned, prepared, implemented and returned from your mission trip, it’s time to unpack. Not just your suitcase, but the mission experience itself.  Follow-up is an important part of going on mission because it helps the participant to understand what they learned and how God can use it in their everyday life.   There are people needing a witness in our own neighborhood and unreached people in our local community.  Taking a mission trip to another state or even a foreign country should help us to be more comfortable sharing our faith and encourage us to be a Christian witness in our hometown. There are so many ways to impact our community and the area around our church using the same skills and resources we take overseas.  So, help your church members returning from their mission trip to unpack their experience and awaken within them the realization that the mission isn’t over.

Here are some suggestions for unpacking the mission experience that provide continued growth:     

  1. Talk about the ministry experience and ask how what they did there can be used here at home.
  2. Share journal entries, pictures and videos with the church.
  3. Have a time of testimony and “sharing” during a public worship service.
  4. Provide a safe environment for discussing what they learned about themselves (weaknesses, failures, disappointments) and what God is teaching them.
  5. Ask them what they learned about God?
  6. Share about the experience on social media with pictures and testimony of God’s activity.
  7. Challenge them to consider how the mission experience may be the beginning of a journey God has planned for them, leading to vocational ministry, missionary service, or involvement in local ministry.
  8. Help them to plan service initiatives at home that draw connections between their missions experience away and service at home.
  9. Encourage them to continue the spiritual disciplines practiced on the trip like prayer, devotions, Bible study and worship.
  10. Send letters or emails of thanks and encouragement to the host missionary. Share with them how God used the mission experience.
  11. Discuss what “next steps” they will take on their spiritual journey.
  12. Send a reminder email or letter to every participant 1 month after returning with a picture of the group on the mission trip with the words… “Don’t forget! God did great things and He isn’t finished with you.”

Unpacking the experience can be a tremendous blessing and serve as a reminder to what God did … and is still doing.

 

KBC Regional Mobilization Consultants Stand Ready to Help

The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Mission Mobilization Team is blessed to have 7 “self-funded” mobilization consultants across the state that stand ready to help a church, association or individual connect with in-state missions.

Their primary duties are to:

  1. Establish and maintain good relations with Directors of Missions, pastors, and churches in their regions.
  2. Recruit and enlist Kentucky Mission Service Corps and North American Mission Board MSC-funded (self-funded) missionaries, including developing prospects, following up on missionary leads, maintaining contact with the prospects, and assisting with the application process.
  3. Identify needs and discover places of service in Kentucky. This includes assisting with the completion of missionary requests and suggesting possible uses of KY-MSC missionaries to ministries, churches and associations.
  4. Promote and actively “tell the Kentucky missionary story.” They are available to make presentations at churches, associational executive board meetings, associational annual meetings, mission fairs, community events, On Mission Celebrations, etc.
  5. Serve as a liaison between the missionaries in their region and the KBC and/or NAMB. The consultants check regularly on the missionaries to offer support, encouragement, networking, and prayer, and communicate specific needs and prayer concerns related to the missionaries.
  6. Assist with short-term volunteerism, helping to identify new ministries and locate areas where short-term volunteers are needed. The consultants also help to connect mission teams with mission opportunities.

Serving as Mission Mobilization Consultants are:

  • George & Cathy Chinn from Hartford (South-Central Region).
  • Ryan Horrell from Louisville (Central Region).
  • Pat Howard from Bowling Green (South-Central Region).
  • Arlene Miller from Crofton (West Region).
  • John Morris from McDowell (East Region).
  • Twyla Sheffield from Winchester (North-Central Region).

Currently the South Region position is vacant and Teresa Parrett, KBC Missions Mobilization Coordinator, covers that area.  (If you live in the South Region and are interested in serving as a KBC Regional Mobilization Consultant, please contact the Missions Mobilization office at [email protected].)

We are grateful for these 7 individuals, their knowledge of Kentucky missions, and their commitment to serve.  They are available to you, so feel free to call on them at any time.  They will be happy to assist.

 

Short-term missions done poorly and done well

While in a hotel overlooking a European city, our vision team recapped the experiences we had over the previous days as we met with various missionaries and visited several European countries.  Our goal was to find ways that we could connect our local churches from the state conventions we represented to mission partnerships in Europe.  As we listened to one another share, one state convention leader remarked, “Money alone is not the answer.  We need boots on the ground.”

He is right.  While the Cooperative Program is an enormous tool for gospel advancement, money alone is not the answer.  Yes, we need long-term missionaries.  But we also need local church short-term teams partnering with missionaries for long-term impact.  Boots on the ground involves not only our long-term missionaries, but short-term teams doing missions well.  Here are ways missions is done poorly and done well expressed with opposite key statements.

  • Go in order to see “new places” / Go in order to see God do a “new work”. If we go in order to see new places, then we go for the wrong reasons.  Comparing stamps in our passports is not our goal.  Don’t misunderstand me, seeing new places is always exciting; but our aim is not simply for the thrill of the adventure or to travel the world.  We go believing that God is at work and we desire to see Him do a “new work” in the lives of those we are serving with and among. So, go expecting God to do something new in you, your team, and those who you intend to serve.
  • Go without a plan and be rigid / Go with a plan and then go with the flow. “Winging it” is not the best approach to maximizing our impact and effectiveness.  Sometimes we spiritualize our lack of planning as trying to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.  To further complicate our unpreparedness, teams or individuals are reluctant to bend as schedules change.  Or worse, they bemoan how things are different than “back home” and how they wouldn’t “do it that way.”  On the other hand, our preparedness for what we plan to do and where we are going does not minimize the Spirit’s leading; it maximizes it.  We must prepare our teams well and then be prepared to go with the flow as circumstances change.  Being flexible with a spirit of willingness is critical for the Spirit to work in and through short-term teams.
  • Forget that a spiritual battle is underway / Recognize that a spiritual battle is before us. In the moment of experiencing new places and new people, we can easily forget that the challenges of the mission field—that often are dismissed as culture shock or personality conflicts, are directly tied to an unseen battle. Paul reminds us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood (cranky short-term team members or unfamiliar cultural customs), but against Satan and his dark forces (Eph 6:12).  Short-term teams need sensitivity to the fact that the spiritual reality that we may not perceive is much greater than the tangible reality around us.  A battle wages and we do not fight it with conventional weapons, but with the armor the Lord supplies (Eph 6:10-20).
  • Neglect to prepare your team / Be intentional about team preparation. Similar to going without a plan, teams that fail to prepare will prepare to fail.  On the other hand, teams that are intentional about their preparation will be an asset to the strategy of the field missionaries.  Basic preparation is necessary for maximizing the team’s impact with the work of the missionaries.
  • Set your own agenda / Develop a strategy with the missionaries. While many short-term teams mean well, they can often be a burden to missionaries.  The burden might stem from a lack of adaptability in their new (short-term) environment or it might involve an unwillingness to listen the counsel of the missionaries on best practices.  Often, the burden revolves around short-term teams setting their own agenda over against the desires and/or counsel of the host missionaries. Short-term teams that have the most gospel impact are those which submit to the leadership of the host missionaries in planning the purpose of the team. Think about it.  It only makes sense that those who have immersed themselves in the culture by living among the people and learning the language and way of life are the ones who know best what strategy will be most effective in advancing the gospel in a particular area.  Short-term missions done well involves teams that develop strategies with the host missionaries. This collaboration results in advancing the gospel in way that could not be done with the long-term missionaries only or at least be done at the concentrated pace that a short-term team provides.

Taking Care of Your Heart

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I have served in active ministry for the sake of my Lord for forty years, and in my role as Disaster Relief Director for the last decade.  Ministry is not for the faint of heart, weak, or timid.  Our calling often requires us to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Christ and others with long hours and stressful days.  This can wear on us spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I was reminded of this in May of 2017, when I began having some neck pain and numbness in my left arm.  When this continued for several days, I decided to call my cardiologist.   I was quickly scheduled for a heart catheterization, and the result was three stents placed in my coronary arteries.  I am thankful for God’s sufficient grace, and that I could catch this health problem before it caused more serious issues like a major heart attack or stroke.  God has reminded me afresh that I cannot serve him well if I do not take care of my own health.

I would encourage you as a minister to:

  1. Develop a regular discipline of exercise.  I have found a morning 30-minute exercise regimen to be best for me as I often lose control of my afternoons and evenings as ministry needs arise during the day.  Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and can maintain. For me, it is walking or riding a stationary bike.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet.  It is easy in ministry to eat on the “go” and to make less than healthy choices.  I am disciplining myself to watch my portion size, to eat more vegetables and fruits, and to watch my cholesterol and fats.  I thank God that eating healthier has increased my energy for His sake.
  3. Get Proper Rest.  We all need a good night sleep.  God recharges the body when we allow it to rest and trust the events of the day to Him.
  4. Take time to get away from ministry for brief periods and to allow God to restore you.  Unlike the Energizer Bunny, we will run down without some down times to relax.  Ministry can be demanding and stressful, even when things are going good.  Burnout and Compassion Fatigue are damaging to us and our families, and can be deadly to ministry.
  5. Rely on the strength of God’s Holy Spirit to help you begin and maintain good health practices.  If overeating is a weakness for you, then ask the Spirit to help you fight the urge to make unhealthy food choices.  If lack of exercise is your problem, then ask God to help you set your alarm and get up a few minutes earlier.

God has reminded me that I cannot minister effectively if I neglect my own physical, emotional, or spiritual health.  God cares about our bodies.  He gave them to us.  He wants us to do all we can to keep our bodies healthy and active for His sake for the days that He has appointed us.  Take care of yourself for your sake, but even deeper for His sake!

“For you were bought at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

What’s a Lollapalooza?

I recently had the privilege of attending a lollapalooza put on by Dexter Baptist Church in western Kentucky.  Pastor David Little led his church to plan and implement the lollapalooza event as an effort to reach out to their community. I had never attended a lollapalooza and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In fact, I’m not sure I could’ve spelled lollapalooza without googling it on my computer.   

So where did this word come from?  Legend and Encyclopedia Britannica have it that musician Perry Farrell claims to have named a large international music festival Lollapalooza back in 1991 after hearing the word.  The popularity and use of the word grew.

People have developed this positive association with ‘-palooza’ and it’s become kind of shorthand.  People have hosted a saleapalooza, gameapalooza, kidzapalooza, doggiepalooza and a variety of others you’ve no doubt come across.

Webster’s dictionary defines a lollapalooza as one that is extraordinarily impressive; alsoan outstanding example”.

What Dexter Baptist did was indeed, “extraordinarily impressive”.  This church that normally averages around 60 in Sunday morning worship had 89 people attend their lollapalooza that included music by a Christian band, free food (and lots of it), door prizes and giveaways, bouncy houses and games, and a presentation of the gospel.  The most exciting thing about their lollapalooza was that four individuals committed their lives to following Christ and another person recommitted his life to Christ.

Dexter Baptist also set “an outstanding example” of how a church can reach out and touch more people through a community event like a lollapalooza than they do on any given Sunday morning.  Yes, it took lots of planning, work, promoting and inviting.  But it was worth it to see so many spiritual decisions made.

The church went outside, the community was engaged and it was a great evening together.  But nothing was more “extraordinarily impressive” than the life transformation I witnessed as people experienced the salvation of Jesus Christ.  Let me challenge you to follow the example of the Dexter church and plan something extraordinarily impressive to reach your community for Christ.

The Kathy J. Strange Answer Center – Sharing Christ Through Social Ministry

 

For nearly 18 years men, women, boys, and girls have heard and seen the gospel message lived out through the efforts of the Kathy J. Strange Answer Center in Henderson, KY.  In the year 2000 a couple of churches in the Green Valley Baptist Association saw the need for a social ministry in their area, and the Center was started in September of that year as a ministry of the Association.

The Answer Center is named after its founder, Kathy J. Strange, a retired social worker who had a vision and a heart for ministering to the people of Henderson, Union, and Webster counties.  She wanted a place where people could come and shop for needed items and have the gospel of Christ shared with them.  A place where they could see and feel Christian love.  Kathy served as Director of the ministry for a nearly 15 years, before being diagnosed with cancer.  She passed away in December 2015.

The Center continued and, according to Director of Missions Bill Patterson, has been a strong ministry for a number of years.  “It is like the face of the association now,” said Patterson.  “It is the number one social ministry of the association and has a great evangelistic outreach.”   Last year (2017) 31 professions of faith were reported as a result of the ministry and so far they have seen 6 professions of faith in 2018.  “That is why we do what we do,” said current director Jeff Burke.

Jeff, along with Nancy Brown, a retired school teacher, and nearly 90 volunteers from the Green Valley Baptist Association churches, serve on the average of 105 – 110 persons each week by providing clothing and household items to those who have a need.  They are on pace to serve nearly 4200 in 2018.

The Center is open every Saturday (except for the fifth Saturday of the month or holidays) from 9:00 – 10:30 AM.  Clothing is laid out just like a department store and the families come in to “shop” every other month.  When the family enters the Center they are given one bag for each person in the household, and can fill the bags with as much clothing as they can put in them.  Donations have been very generous, which allows them to give out extra bags to the families if needed.  The clothing includes coats in the winter months and they are beginning to carry school uniforms for the children.

In addition to clothing, the Center also has household items such as towels, sheets, pots & pans, dishes, etc.  Director Jeff Burke shared about a couple who recently had 5-year old foster twins placed in their home.  They had gotten help with clothing but did not have beds for the twins.  There were no beds at The Answer Center when they came in but, the very next day, Habitat for Humanity called saying they could provide $100 vouchers for families to come and buy anything out of the Habitat store, which “just happened” to include beds.  The family got their clothing, the beds they needed, and the family is now regularly attending church.

Another success story was told of a lady and children that came from a local shelter to get clothing.  After working with her for about three months, the lady not only got clothing, but found Jesus.  She was saved, baptized, and continues to be active in a local church.  She moved into her own apartment, and the center helped her with household items, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and a fan.  She got a job at a local fast food restaurant, then went to school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  She now works full time in a nursing home.

Each year mission teams come to serve at the Center.  Recently 160 young people with World Changers came to serve and some of the students said, “we just feel the presence of the Lord in this place.”

The Center has close ties to the Kentucky Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board.  Both Jeff Burke and Nancy Brown are Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionaries in their roles at the Center.  They receive grants from the Eliza Broadus Offering which helps meet the needs of the families they serve.  In May 2019 the Center will be hosting a free medical and dental clinic in conjunction with the North American Mission Board dental trailer and the Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization Team.

“It is a great blessing to serve at the Center,” says Nancy Brown.  “Every day it is amazing to watch God meet the needs.  As a teacher I prayed ‘for’ my students.  Now, when they come to the Center I can love them, hug them, and can now pray ‘with’ them.”  How rewarding.  Needs are being met and lives being changed at The Kathy J. Strange Answer Center.  Kathy’s vision lives on.

To see how you might volunteer or assist this ministry contact the Green Valley Baptist Association office at 270-827-9867.

Discipling short-term mission teams

As the eleven apostles wait on the Mountain in Galilee for Jesus, they are filled with mixed emotions.  No doubt they wonder, “What will Jesus say and what will we do next?”  When Jesus appears to the them, the heart of His message is “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

Short-term missions is for the purpose of making disciples, not just somewhere else, but among our own church members.  Pastors and church leaders should view short-term missions as a two-point prong—making disciples locally and globally.  We go elsewhere to assist missionaries in their work of making disciples in other places, but we also understand short-term missions as a vital part of making disciples of our own church members.

There is something incredibly valuable about pouring into our own church members while they are away from normal routines and distractions.  Don’t miss this opportunity through short-term missions to have long-term discipling impact on your church members.

Here are some suggestions for discipling your short-term mission teams.

  • Encourage team members to enlist prayer partners. These partners can be within the church, family members, or other believers outside of the church.  Lead them to give weekly or monthly prayer matters leading up to the time of the mission effort.  For the time of the mission effort have your team members give a daily prayer point guide to their prayer partners before they leave.  Also, encourage team members to have at least one prayer partner that prays with them each week leading up to the mission effort. They can pray through Facetime, in person, over the phone, etc.
  • Develop personal time in God’s Word and prayer. Nothing prepares the team member more for missions than his/her personal time with God.  Several months before the mission effort, teams can be encouraged to read through certain passages or books of the Bible.  For example, reading through Acts prior to and during the mission effort is a great way to prepare the team spiritually for what they are about to do.  Providing specific prayer guides for the team member’s own spiritual preparation is essential as well.  This might be the first time these team members develop an intentional personal time in God’s Word and prayer.
  • Teach them how to share the gospel. Missions is not missions if the gospel is missing.  There are many tools that can be used to teach teams how to share the gospel.  The point is not one particular method as much as making sure each team member can articulate the gospel concisely and clearly.  Spending time with the team not only teaching them how to share the gospel but giving them opportunities to practice on one another and even in the community before the team leaves is critical.  The goal is not teaching them to be an expert in winning arguments, but simply telling the “old, old story” of Jesus and His love.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation, not our presentation or method (Rom 1:16).  Share the gospel and trust God to do His work!
  • Utilize your time on the field for discipleship. While on the mission effort, being intentional about pouring into the team members is essential.  Taking them through a study in the Bible (like Acts) or a book is a great way to have deliberate discipleship time while on mission (there are a number of short, but impactful books that could be used for this purpose).  Either in the morning before the team leaves out for the day or in the evening when you settle down from the day, walking the team through a planned study time is a valuable way to point the team to God’s Word and apply both the Word and their daily mission experiences to their Christian life. Amazingly, God often uses His Word and the experiences of the team while on mission to grow them exponentially.  Take advantage of that time for team discipleship.
  • Don’t forget when you get back home.   Pray for new habits and convictions that begin to form while on the mission effort to remain once you are home.  Team members often ask themselves and their churches, “now what?” when they return home.  The experiences are often overwhelming and can cause frustration when others back home don’t quite see things in the same way as the team members upon their return.  Learning to leverage one’s experience for personal growth and influence of others is a delicate but important step.

Short-term missions is valuable for assisting missionaries in their strategies to reach other peoples and places with the gospel, but also crucial in raising up mature believers in our own congregations.  It’s not a matter of which of these two impacts we desire for short-term missions; it’s that we pray for both.

Embracing the Stranger Next Door

It was estimated that last year over 50 million people were displaced from their homes, with around 19.5 million forced to live as refugees. These people have been driven from their homes by war, violence, persecution, and disasters.  They have lost their culture, friends, security, sense of community, and often their dignity.

These are people with names, dreams, and hopes. These are people just like you and me. These are people loved by God. And they are coming to our communities.  Every year refugees, students, and other internationals are coming to our communities.  They are becoming our neighbors.  God is bringing the nations to us, and the church has been called to take the Gospel to all peoples.

How can we embrace the nations and reach out to those from other cultures that God is bringing to our communities?

  • Smile and welcome them.  Grace and kindness work in any culture.
  • Open your eyes to those that God has brought to your community.  Take time to see the server at the restaurant, the cashier at the convenience store, the nurse at the hospital, the new person in your office, or the neighbor across the street who may look, dress, and speak a little different from you.
  • Consider adopting a refugee family through your small group or church family.  The Kentucky Baptist Convention Missions Mobilization Team can help you connect to families through partnering ministries.
  • Start a conversation.  It can be as simple as asking someone their name and where they are from.  Ask them about their family or homeland.  Inquire about religious beliefs in their country.
  • Be a good listener.  Seek to be a learner.  People tend to listen to others who really listen to them.
  • Pursue genuine friendship.  Many internationals would love a real friend in a new land.  You are called to share with folks in a relationship, not sell the Gospel.
  • Be an ambassador for Christ.  Let them see Christ in you.  A good ambassador knows when to talk and when to listen.
  • Practice hospitality.  Share your phone number if they need a friend’s help or guidance. Invite them over for tea or coffee.  Drive them to the doctor or help them at a grocery store.  Have them over for a meal at your home.
  • Pray for them.
  • Share your faith story.  Tell them what your life was like before Christ, how you came to Christ, and what Jesus means to your life now.  Try to work on being able to share this in two to four minutes.  Avoid church words like lost or saved, as unbelievers often do not understand the internal language of Christians.
  • Remember the goal is not to win debates, but to passionately share your faith.  Stand strong on what you believe in a loving manner.
  • Finally, be ready for the day when your new friend wants to know how they can have a relationship with God through Christ.  Be prepared to share in everyday language what sin is, who Jesus is, and what the Gospel is.

 “Act wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.  Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6).

How to Uniquely Involve the Uninvolved

Have you ever felt that only a small number of church members were doing the majority of the work?  It’s pretty common in churches, at least the ones I’ve been a part of, for us to depend upon the same few individuals to teach Sunday School, sing on the praise team, lead the men’s ministry, serve as deacons and coordinate the discipleship ministry.  When this happens, we are observing what is called the 80-20 rule or Pareto principle.

The Pareto principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian mathematician and economist,  states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the inputs or causes.  What if we’re observing the 80-20 rule in our churches because we don’t provide opportunities for the uninvolved 80% to be involved in ministry that utilizes their gifting, skills and experience?  Ephesians 4 teaches that believers have been gifted and should be equipped for the work of the ministry.  Ephesians 2 reminds us that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  So, what if we’re not seeing more believers involved in ministry and missions because we’ve limited the ministry opportunities made available to them?

An example of this was recently seen when one of the international missionaries with whom we partner needed someone to come alongside them to help with the artificial insemination of dairy cattle on a Muslim island where a plaque had killed most all of the cattle population.   Several Kentucky farmers with the experience and knowledge stepped up to meet the need, and provided a Christian witness too! These farmers may not have volunteered to lead a VBS class or sing in the choir, but God had gifted them uniquely for “such a time as this”.

There are many unique missions opportunities that allow believers to find joy and fulfillment in serving because they’re using the talents and gifts God has equipped them with.  Christ followers want and need to serve – but not all are given the chance if ministry opportunities ONLY exist within a very narrow window of mission experiences.

Here are just a few of the many ways that Christ followers can use their passion, skills, talents and experience to be uniquely on mission.

  1. Athletes are needed to help with sports camps (football, basketball, archery, etc). 
  2. Help is needed with literacy classes or after school tutoring
  3. Farmers are needed to help with artificial insemination of cattle & crop production
  4. Business and leadership classes for professionals in other countries
  5. Cooking and food service help is needed in disaster relief work
  6. Business owners can help with the development of micro-businesses that provide income for indigenous church planters and missionaries
  7. Volunteers can learn how to install and repair wells that provide remote villages with fresh water
  8. Those with construction experience are needed to provide ramps or make repairs for the handicapped and elderly
  9. Plumbers and electricians have skills that can be utilized internationally or here at home as a witness
  10. Skilled chainsaw and heavy equipment operators are needed in disaster relief work
  11. Car mechanics could provide assistance to single mothers and the elderly
  12. Medical professionals can serve through clinics in remote villages or in areas of poverty here in the U.S.
  13. Small motor repair courses can be used as a ministry in many cities throughout the world
  14. Woodworking, leather or metal work may provide income for church planters in many places if they are trained and provided start-up resources
  15. Retirees have years of experience to offer and should prayerfully consider using their unique skills and gifts for an extended period of time
  16. Students should consider giving a month or a summer to serve in a mission opportunity related to their major or degree program

Every skill or talent can be used for God’s honor if we give it to Him through missions opportunities.  The next time you observe the Pareto principle happening in your church, let me challenge you to consider how a unique missions opportunity would involve that unengaged believer to use his passion, gifts and talents.