How can churches cultivate a culture of missions?
- Preach expositionally. Scripture is filled with instruction to believers about God’s plan of salvation and our responsibility to spread the good news of salvation in Christ to the ends of the earth. Faithful Christ-centered, expository preaching should, over time, teach a congregation to heartily pursue local and international evangelism.
- Pray intentionally. Begin to pray for other countries in your pastoral prayers. In your church’s prayer meetings, regularly pray for foreign missionaries you know. Pray also that God would raise up missionaries from among your congregation.
- Study diligently. Give out good books on missions. Hold Sunday School classes on evangelism or missions. Start a “missions reading group” geared toward equipping those considering international missions. All this will leaven the congregation with knowledge about missions and will help the church as a whole develop a coherent vision for missions.
- Connect personally. Seek out relationships with like-minded workers who are already on the field. Try to host them at your church when they’re on furlough. Interview them before the congregation and encourage the congregation to get to know them personally. As your church builds increasingly personal relationships with foreign workers (whether you support them financially or not), members of your church will gain an appreciation for their work, a desire to support it, and perhaps even a desire to go themselves.
- Sponsor short-term trips. Short-term trips expose people to the needs, challenges, and opportunities of missions work. But be sure to plan trips by first asking overseas workers how you can help them, not by showing up and making life more difficult for them. This might be something as simple as providing child-care for foreign workers while they attend conference opportunities.
(Some of this material has been adapted from Tom Ascol’s article, “Cultivating a Culture of Missions in a Small Church”)