45 Ways to Encourage Global Mission

January 13, 2005

45 great ideas to inspire yourself and your congregation to explore global mission for the first time, or to embark on a new global mission project. Developed by World Mission Interpretation and Networks, these various suggestions include simple tips and fun projects for all ages. Create a "word search" puzzle sheet with words such as mission, give, serve, stewardship, go, partnership, Anglican, global, pray...

  1. Give students three minutes to complete this sentence: "Mission is __________________." Then review the questions on mission in the Catechism (The Book of Common Prayer, page 855).
  2. Place a large mirror in the parish hall with "missionary" printed at the top.
  3. At potluck suppers, encourage international foods, especially from countries that some parishioners call home. Learn folk dances from other countries.
  4. Look for stories about mission projects and post them or distribute them.
  5. Invite an international student, seminarian, or visitor to talk with a group; encourage dialogue and learning on both sides.
  6. Get names and addresses of missionaries who have gone out from your diocese, or who are serving in countries that interest you, and write to them. Check the Episcopal Church Center's web site for Mission Personnel Office (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/global-partnerships) or web sites of other voluntary mission agencies of the Episcopal Church.
  7. Make sure your parish has a budget line for mission.
  8. Have a commissioning ceremony for those about to embark on a special mission project. (See "A Form of Commitment to Christian Service" in The Book of Common Prayer, page 420.)
  9. Prepare for the annual in-gathering for the United Thank Offering (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/united-thank-offering) by leading a review of the UTO Grants List.
  10. Display photos and letters of missionaries your congregation and/or diocese is supporting. Use wall calendars that have a global theme. Church World Service (http://www.cwsglobal.org/), UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/), Habitat for Humanity (http://www.habitat.org/), and Amnesty International (https://https://www.amnesty.org/en/en/) are good sources.
  11. Create a small display on a parish hall bulletin board called "Did You Know?" Using a map of the Anglican Communion, highlight different provinces as they are lifted up in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, available from Forward Movement Publications or on line at http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acp/index.cfm.
  12. Sing a hymn or anthem in a language other than English. Tell a story about the church's work in the world where that language is spoken.
  13. Arrange a telephone call with a missionary in the field, or with a local church leader in a link parish or diocese during a congregational meeting.
  14. Display a large Peters Projection map of the world, or a globe, in a prominent location; draw attention to areas where Christians are few, or the Good News of Jesus Christ has yet to be shared. Consult David Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia (published by Oxford University Press: http://www.us.oup.com/us/?view=usa) or Patrick Johnstone's Operation World (http://www.operationworld.org/).
  15. Use bookmarks offered by mission-related organizations in hymnals and prayer books in the pew -- or design your own.
  16. Plan several mission offerings yearly, especially around those times in the liturgical calendar with a mission focus. Be sure the congregation is involved in choosing mission personnel or projects to be supported.
  17. Observe World Mission Sunday on the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, as urged by our General Convention in 1997. Resources are provided on a special web site (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/world-mission-sunday).
  18. Call Episcopal Parish Services (800-903-5544) and get a catalog; look for mission education materials; use these resources for adults, children and youth.
  19. Reprint missionary letters in your parish newsletter; ask for a regular column in your diocesan newspaper, too.
  20. Use pottery and baskets from other countries in place of your usual chalice, paten, and offering plates.
  21. Use United Thank Offering (http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/united-thank-offering) or Episcopal Relief and Development (http://episcopalrelief.org) placemats at all congregational meals; UTO blue boxes and the ERD's hope boxes can go on every table, as well.
  22. Help the children get involved in the Church School Mission Offering by ordering copies of Treasure Magazine, treasure boxes, and planning a study program ().
  23. Use a variety of breads from around the world for the Eucharist.
  24. Host "Mission Evenings" and invite missionaries on furlough, or those who have returned or retired, to tell their story.
  25. Ask everyone in the congregation to place money in a medicine bottle and bring it to worship as an offering for a medical mission project.
  26. When you read of a disaster in any part of the world, pray for those who are suffering, and find out how you can help. Episcopal Relief and Development and the ecumenical agency Church World Service are organized to send money, food, blankets, medicines, and many other sources of relief.
  27. Have a "Minute for Mission" during worship weekly. Plan ahead; have a committee of volunteers gathering stories and prayer requests so that this time is focused and effective.
  28. Prepare or participate in ecumenical worship services for World Communion Sunday, World Day of Prayer, or One Great Hour of Sharing. Local or regional councils of churches, Church Women United (http://www.churchwomen.org/), and Church World Service (http://www.cwsglobal.org/) can help you with materials.
  29. Organize a study of missionary saints, using the book Lesser Feasts and Fasts, and bring this teaching into the worship on the appropriate days (for example, Uganda Martyrs on June 3).
  30. If your diocese has a companion relationship with another elsewhere in the world, write to churches there and exchange information, pictures, prayers, and worship bulletins. Look for links that will make this interesting to all.
  31. Use poems or prayers from around the world in worship.
  32. Regularly include missionaries, as well as the churches highlighted in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acp/index.cfm) in the "Prayers of the People" on Sunday.
  33. Order a set of flags from the United Nations, hand them out, and ask people to find out enough about the country (and its church, if there is one) so that the rest of the congregation can pray effectively.
  34. Have a prayer service of lighting candles, one for each country in the world. Note how the world, like the room, is made brighter by our care for each other.
  35. Show the video The Many Faces of Anglicanism, available through Episcopal Parish Services (800-903-5544).
  36. Use mission hymns frequently (#528-544 in The Hymnal, or #778-782 in Wonder, Love, and Praise).
  37. Ask each worshipper to take one name and pray for that diocese during the coming week.
  38. Compare artistic depictions of Jesus from around the world.
  39. Survey your congregation to find out members' country of origin, or other links. Invite them to share memories, customs, and foods.
  40. Have a "Stone Soup" supper or "Loaves and Fishes" meal where everyone contributes an item to a plain broth or brings a loaf of bread to share. Ask for donations that will be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development to relieve hunger in the world.
  41. Promote international pen pal experiences for children and youth in the congregation.
  42. Observe Anglican Communion Sunday (mid-January) and send a special offering to the Anglican Communion Personal Emergencies Fund (for lay workers and clergy throughout the world).
  43. Look at all your books and then decide how to support the Church Periodical Club (http://www.churchperiodical.com/), the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (http://www.spckusa.org/wp/), and other mission organizations edicated to sending books to churches and seminaries and children's libraries that need them.
  44. Communicate electronically with Anglicans and other Christians around the world.
  45. Join ECUNET (http://www.ecunet.org/) and communicate electronically with Anglicans and other Christians around the world.