I was speaking recently to the pastor of a small Kentucky church that was doing a great job engaging their local community with gospel focused ministry. I celebrated all that God was doing and how exciting it was to witness the congregation’s concern for their neighbors.
I then asked my pastor friend about the church’s missions involvement nationally and internationally. To my surprise and disappointment, he shared that they were too small to do anything internationally, but hoped someday they could. I reminded my friend that God had gifted his church with missions potential and that it was possible for a small church (his terminology, not mine) to be engaged strategically in international missions.
Here are some of the things I shared that every church should consider.
- Adopt a missionary – work with the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s missions strategists or the International Mission Board to discover a missionary they can adopt. Adoption is a beautiful word that describes the strong relationship between missionaries and churches who pray and encourage them in their ministries. Adoption provides a heightened awareness and a strengthened commitment to missions, personal relationship with an active missionary, regular communication and occasional Zoom calls or pre-recorded videos played during a worship service.
- Partner with others –planning and implementing an international missions experience may seem daunting to one church, but partnering together with other churches or the local Baptist Association makes going a real possibility. Multiple churches can share resources and provide strategically gifted volunteers when one single church can’t.
- Provide housing and transportation when missionaries are state-side – most missionaries will return to the state every 3-4 years and remain here for a couple of months visiting family and taking care of ministry responsibilities. A church can turn an unused parsonage into a missions house for visiting missionaries. This makes their time in the states so much more restful. Contact Kentucky WMU to learn more about how to provide a missions house for missionaries.
- Pray for missionaries and the nations – this is the most important way to support those God has called to serve as international missionaries. It is something that every church can do. Pray for the spiritual, physical and mental health of missionaries serving, and the lost people they minister to. The mission of advancing the gospel is the great work of the church, and prayer is the engine that moves it.
God has equipped your congregation with gifts, talents and resources that are of extreme value to missions engagement and advancement of the Great Commission. A church of any size can be involved in international missions, but whether they do so is up to them. Every church has exciting missions potential – no matter its size. Will your church measure up to its potential?