The practice of mission work has changed dramatically in recent decades, and the pace of change seems to constantly accelerate. The way that we celebrate missions in the churches should also be dynamic. The idea of a mission emphasis week, often connected to a Faith Promise program for mission support, goes back several decades in CRC history. Before and overlapping with such weeks was the practice of “Mission Fest” in which a group of nearby churches would hold a full day of meetings interrupted by a picnic lunch when there was a rare visit by foreign missionaries from exotic locales.
These days, in addition to visits by supported missionaries and mission leaders, local churches are celebrating the mission work conducted by their own members who are part of short-term teams or individuals serving with Partners Worldwide or CRWRC’s Disaster Response Services (DRS), or a host of other agencies which help people exercise their passion to serve others in Jesus’ name.
Technology has made it possible to have a “visit” (via Skype) from a supported missionary who stays in the field. A church or community leader from the other side of the world can also appear on the church’s screen who would never be granted a visa or have the finances to come to North America. A stirring mission message can be accompanied by video that enables the congregation to see what God is doing in a distant location.
In the midst of all these new possibilities some things remain the same. Bringing special attention to the mission of God is still vital to keeping people aware of and committed to completing the Great Commission and living by the Great Commandment. And the Word of God remains central in challenging churches to faithfulness in mission both local and global.
Is your church planning a mission emphasis event of some kind this fall? What are you doing that is tried and true? What is new and innovative? How are you going about helping the congregation to be aware of and committed to your congregation’s mission effort?
P.S. If you are looking for some ideas on how to do a mission emphasis celebration, click here.