Steve Van Zanen, Director for Missions Education & Engagement for Christian Reformed World Missions, has been researching what churches identify as needing from missions agencies.
Through a survey of a random sampling of Christian Reformed pastors, the following were identified as the most important resources and services that CRC congregations most need in order to engage in international missions more effectively.
- Excellent inspiring communication: stories of changed lives, monthly prayer requests, better rather than more communication.
- Church to church relationship opportunities between North America and overseas, including visits by others to North America.
- Encouragement and help in moving to fewer but deeper mission support relationships.
- Help planning and processing short term missions trips: security/safety training, opportunities listing, affordable STM trips that focus on learning, not just doing.
- Missionary visits by longer term missionaries: real stories of ministry, using PowerPoint and video.
- Pastors/members trips to mission fields for cross-cultural exchange.
- Electronic communication from missionaries: blog, Skype, semi-annual video between visits.
- Personal face to face connection to missionaries beyond Sunday morning worship presentation.
- Prayer resources with current requests/answers to prayer.
- Information on places for individuals to serve medium or longer term, and skills needed: Opportunities for young people, retirees.
- Missions education materials: on missions, other religions/cultures, trends, distinctives of holistic Reformed missions (DVD based).
- Testimonies of church members who have served short term and seen lives changed, in order to motivate others.
- Dynamic videos: missions broadly speaking, not part of a missionary visit.
This information will help your mission agencies prioritize areas of service.
Is there anything you would add to that list? Affirm? Change? Comment below!
It must be exasperating when CRWM has been doing most of those right along. There must be some underlying malaise in churches that pastors don't know how/can't overcome.
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