Having a missionary visit your church and/or home can be an exciting opportunity to educate the congregation or your family about what’s happening around the world. In addition, if it is a missionary you support you will become even more connected and personally be able to relate to the reports you receive from across the world.
You’ll learn about the country where the missionary serves and about issues facing the people of that country.
Questions you and the missionary may consider as you prepare for a visit:
What does your congregation need to hear at this moment?
What does your congregation need to know about that region of the world?
What are your congregation’s particular mission needs?
What are the issues with which your congregation is dealing?
What is happening in your surrounding community?
Are you struggling with how to reach marginalized groups in the community (the poor, homeless, ethnic groups)?
Your missionary’s experience in dealing with global issues may lend some insights into working with these questions. Be prepared to listen with open hearts and minds.
Some possible activities to consider planning during a missionary visit:
Give the missionary as much time as possible to meet and talk with the people of the church. Of course the missionary knows you have valuable programming and other things to consider, but consider the time the missionary has arranged to be away from their family and ministry to share even just briefly with your congregation. Sometimes the missionary is forced to make difficult choices between speaking venues based on the amount of time a church will allow them to speak. Make it worth both parties interest when you invite them to come. And be sure to brief the missionary in advance about your plans and expectations for their visit.
Here are some other ideas if time is available:
- Invite a missionary to accompany you to a local homeless mission, migrant camp, battered women’s shelter, children’s shelter, etc. When you return to the church, prepare a meal together and debrief about what you saw, experienced and felt. The missionary can make connections with his/her experience, guiding discussion and closing with worship.
- Meet with youth. Missionaries can make a great impact on youth and their thinking about the church, the world, and how they can be involved.
- Have a mission event. Serve a meal typical to the country where the missionary lives. Use Global Ministries placemats. Invite members to bring international centerpieces. Include songs in another language. Put the nation’s flag on each table. Give ample time for the missionary to share his/her story.
- Hold a mission fair. Have booths, each including what church school classes are studying about the country or issues faced by the people – information available from your church headquarters, the local library, newspapers or magazines. Invite the missionary to be the keynote speaker.
- Include the missionary in worship. Invite the missionary to do the children’s sermon during worship, preach, or give a stewardship/communion meditation.
- Involve missionaries in Conferences, Retreats, Annual Meetings, Regional Assemblies. Invite missionaries to provide leadership on mission, human rights and community development from a Christian perspective, or lead a spiritual development retreat.
- Plan Informal gatherings at a church member’s home on a weeknight or for lunch. Large numbers are not important. Those who are interested will come.
- Invite the missionary to area church events, Regional/Conference committee meetings or events, citywide ministerial meetings.
- Invite the missionary to meet and brainstorm with your outreach/mission committee and to pray with your prayer group.
- Include the missionary in your evangelism team visits as you call on prospective members or visit those who are in jail.
- Meet with these church groups/task forces: church school classes, women’s and men’s fellowship groups, church governing board, youth groups, seniors’ groups
groups addressing hunger/poverty/health/education/human rights/refugee and immigration issues.