This is an important, and too often overlooked, practice that can help you improve the effectiveness and quality of your efforts. It's a great time to compare notes that you've taken after all the experiences of the past year. You certainly don't want to wait until it's time for that event again and try to recall what you all said you needed to remember that next time! Nor do you want to keep on doing the same routine with subtle to nonexistent changes that no one really notices, and more importantly, that has no impact.
For United Methodist churches the clergy and committees do have resources available, but sometimes it's a matter of knowing the right resource and tapping that at the right time. For missions and outreach we have expertise and tools for local, national, and international mission. I can help you and your committee access all of the resources of our General Board of Global Ministries. I find this is a vastly underutilized resource by many UMC congregations. It's as if we've forgotten that we have this national and global network at our finger tips! I'm here to help you with that.
One of the best ways to move forward in mission is through a special event. A Mission Celebration can be a great way to re-energize a congregation, campus ministry, or other ministry around mission. It can be a time of inspiration, of education, or of service, or a great combination of all these elements and more. Some key ingredients for a successful Mission Celebration include:
- Establish goals for your Mission Celebration tied into the "next steps" that your congregation and members need to take in mission. This should aim for solid challenge steps for every member and all ages. Assessment of where you are and where you are headed is key to this.
- Build your theme and event elements around these next steps. Your aim is to engage church members and make mission accessible for their every day life. How do you advance the mission movement in your congregation, community, and with your mission partners?
- Secure the very best speakers, teachers, and missionaries that you can that will help your church move forward in the missio Dei. Did I mention I can serve as your "one stop" help in this as we tailor the UMC Global Ministries resources to your event?
Beat the rush as the next couple of months are the best time to secure speakers, trainers, and missionaries for your mission event. It is generally wise to have your personnel line-up set at least 6-9 months before your event. If you are targeting one of our most sought after speakers, like Thomas Kemper, you might want to plan on a year or more in advance. But it can be done if you work your big mission event well and give yourself and your team plenty of time in the process. As you do this, you will find greater impact from the mission focus as you broaden involvement and get the right people who can help your congregation take another step in following Christ in action.
Plan now for your winter-spring 2016 mission celebrations! And call on me to help you collaborate with GBGM to pull in mission leadership from around the globe.