C. Philip Slate
- Prayer. If you have a prayer list, put “global evangelizing” on it. Ask God to raise up workers for the harvest (Matt. 9:38). The Moravians had prayer for world evangelizing 24 X 7 for one hundred years, and their people went all over the world. William Carey’s sister wanted to go with him to India but could not because she was a bedfast invalid. She prayed for her brother forty years.
- World Bible School and World English Institute. (Check their Web sites for information and instructions.) God alone knows how many people have become Christians through paper and electronic correspondence courses. An extraordinary number of churches in East and West Africa were started from WBS students. This is an easy task and produces great fruit.
- Join a sister church in helping to support a missionary financially, spiritually, and emotionally.
- Contribute to the pool of new missionaries. Historically, a disproportionately large number of our missionary men and women have come from small churches, not our larger ones. There are several ways to plant missionary seeds in the lives of young Christians. See numbers 6,7,8,9,10,11,13,14,15,16,17 below.
- Communicate (letters, e-mail, Facebook, Skype, and others) encouragement to missionaries. Some missionaries have returned home prematurely because they were discouraged, feeling no one cared about them.
- Urge members to attend missions/evangelism workshops when they are conducted in your area. Get a group together to make the trip. For example, the church in Savannah, TN, hosts an Evangelism University annually for young and old alike.
- Join other churches in hosting an evangelism workshop.
- Have annual missions-emphasis Sundays, or world evangelism Sundays, on which you plan for the congregation to hear progress reports, conversion stories, and biblical lessons on God's will concerning worldwide evangelization. A church may conduct a workshop on domestic church planting as well.
- Preaching. Request or require whoever preaches to your congregation to address evangelism twice or so per year. One study of churches of Christ indicated that “the church’s missions involvement is directly related to the number of sermons preached on missions.” 1 This is a church responsibility, and joy!
- Show missions films on special occasions. Several good videos or DVDs are available on well known missionaries. Secure a Lifeway catalog for samples.
- Library. If your church has a lending library, put in it some good books on the world evangelism tasks of the church, biographies of our missionaries, and books on general principles of world evangelization. World Evangelism in Winona, MS, has produced a large number of very useful books on these subjects. If you do not have such a library, you will do people a favor by creating one. One can get Internet information on how to organize a church library.
- Put world evangelism in your Bible school curriculum, for both adults and young people. For teaching resources check with World Evangelism in Winona, MS, and Missions Resource Network of Bedford, TX (www.MRNet.org).
- Should they develop an interest in doing so, help some of your young people to go on well-organized short-term missions trips or to serve as interns with missionaries on the field. These trips vary enormously in their effectiveness, chiefly because of the way they are organized and led. Consult good sources on short-term missions. The Sunset International Bible Institute of Lubbock, TX, has a very fine program for young interns, called AIM (Adventures in Missions).
- Invite missionaries to speak to your church, not to raise funds, but to tell how God is using them in world evangelizing. Research done several years ago by Dr. Joe Hacker of Harding College indicated that "hearing a missionary speak" or having contact with a missionary were among the big motivating factors in causing many of our people eventually to become missionaries. 2 The situation is likely the same today.
- Help to conduct Vacation Bible Schools or evangelistic endeavors (knocking on doors, distributing literature, etc. for a gospel meeting) in an American community where the church needs a boost. Plan carefully and appropriately. Request larger churches to invite you to participate when they plan such things.
- Teach people how to talk about their faith, to share the gospel with others. Teach it “in house,” urge members to attend personal evangelism workshops elsewhere, or have someone to come in and conduct such a workshop.
- Good missionaries usually come from among people with good faith. Therefore, to develop missionaries—as well as strong Christians who may never become missionaries—be sure to conduct classes for new Christians. I have a list of nearly twenty such lesson series or booklets on this subject. Check with a good brotherhood bookstore or contact me. 3
1 Gailyn Van Rheenen and Bob Waldron, The Statues of Missions: A Nationwide Survey of Churches of Christ (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2002): 22.
2 W. Joe Hacker, Mission Prepare – 1970 (Searcy, AR: Harding College, 1970): 14, 31.
3 Dr. C. Philip Slate may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org