The 16-year-old was moved to tears when he heard the stories of sacrifice, provision, and miracles from the mission field as told by the worn, itinerate missionary. When the pledges were received, he had given all he could—but that was not enough. He went to the altar that Sunday morning fully expecting to surrender to the call of a full-time missionary. Instead, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly and definitively: “I have called you to be a businessman and financially support missions around the world until all have heard.” That call was decades ago. Today, that man serves as chairman of the Missions Board and has been faithful to fulfill the call of God on his life.
Not everyone in the local church has the same passion as that young man, so how does one engage the entire congregation in missions? Four ways:
Spiritually: Set aside at least one Sunday per year as Missions Sunday to focus on the scriptural mandate to finish the Great Commission. On that Sunday, present moving stories to connect them.
Emotionally: The best approach is to present an excellent video that tells the story of a person who was touched by the ministry of a missionary, followed by the live introduction of that person and the missionary. The congregation will be emotionally invested. They will desire to “do something,” so provide an opportunity to involve them.
Physically: Partner will local non-profit ministries in your community who need volunteers. Highlight the organizations that fulfill the Great Commandment to love others as yourself by doing what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25: “As much as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”
Financially: It takes money. When you touch their hearts, you touch their wallets. There are seven types of donors that have been identified by non-profit experts.1 They sit in the local church, as well. We must provide opportunities to reach all seven.
- Those who give because it’s the right thing to do (Great Commission and Great Commandment). Most churches stop there – assuming everyone will do what is right. Those churches miss out on 86 percent of potential contributions.
- Those who give to make their community better. Again, partner with local organizations that help fulfill the mandate of Matthew 25.
- Those who give to a cause. Provide a variety of opportunities (orphan care, evangelistic crusades, missionary support, projects, and so forth).
- Those who give because they have the gift of giving. These folks desire accountability and a report to verify the contribution is delivered.
- Those who give as investors. They are looking for a return on their gift (number of lives touched or saved).
- Those who give because they were a beneficiary of a similar gift.
- Those who give for recognition. Their name on the gift or project motivates them to contribute.
Prayerfully consider strategies to involve both mature and immature believers in missions by providing a variety of opportunities that connect them in various ways.
—Doug Anderson, Pastor, Rose Hgts. COG, Tyler, Texas
- Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully by Susan Howlett. © 2010. Page 67