Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Emphasizing Distant Mission Partners

There are many opportunities, and many ways, to emphasize for a congregation your distant mission partners. Of course, you can "bring them in" for your big mission celebration or at a time convenient to the congregation and visiting missionary.

Technology offers many options throughout the year to engage a missionary, to renew a partnership and take next steps in conversation, or to share one church with another church. I've heard of congregations doing Bible Study, or communion, or doing a book study together.

You can also do some fun, experiential things in worship or discipleship that engages mission and the distant partner. In addition to sharing information about a distant country or culture consider incorporating music, insights from the mission partner, and prayer as key components of the experience. Note how adaptable this could be for any "age or stage" as you help the experience fit your audience.

Check out the following as a great example from a General Board of Global Ministries worship experience today:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Old, and New, and Contextual

Do you know how some music styles and story strike you in deep ways that you just can't explain? Even though I tried to get past "roots" type Americana music there's just something about it that usually speaks to my soul.

Now, if you can get past this admission, consider the music, the people, the place that is part of your soul.

And, as you go through this musical soul search think about how we express our music, people, and place in our expressions of church. I'm not talking about generic, cookie cutter church with this. Instead, I'm thinking about the various people groups in any community that find affinity with local creativity and expression. I'm thinking about the voice that draws us into old stories and helps us to find our place in the current story.

Read The Fiddle and the Voice and consider how the old, and the new, and what is contextually appropriate to a community still seek expression. Imagine how enriched church might be as we find our voice in our own community.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mission Bazaar

McKendree UMC  offered a Missions Bazaar as part of their annual mission focus. The theme for the Saturday late afternoon bazaar was "Passport to Missions" and featured booths from the various local organizations and countries that McKendree serves most directly in mission. Throw in some food, music, and door prizes with the informational event and you have a wonderful recipe. It was a high energy, fun, exciting atmosphere for all ages!

Mission Celebration: Theme Idea

McEachern Memorial UMC has a long tradition of mission involvement locally, nationally, and internationally. As part of their annual mission emphasis they recently did a 4 Sunday sermon and worship series with focus on "loving God" and "loving neighbor." The last Sunday was their culminating mission focus weekend which also included bringing in some of their key mission partners from around the world. This allowed for a focus from local to international in mission, a time to celebrate how God had used the church and partnerships in the last year, and the change to challenge everyone in the congregation to take another faithful step in the mission of God.

As part of that they looked at the changing dynamics in their community and how to better match all the mission and ministry of the church around the new reality. "Windows" became a theme image and were used as a focal point in worship to consider "who you see when you look out the window."

Love God and Love Neighbor is a powerful theological element of Christian and church practice that should be in your rotation of mission celebration themes.