Modern Ideas for Your Missionary Program

Christianity has changed drastically since the days of the Book of Acts. I once read that the Greeks turned Christianity into a philosophy; the Romans turned Christianity into a government; the Europeans turned Christianity into a culture, and the Americans turned Christianity into a business. This is a succinct description of the mutation of modern Christianity. It is no wonder then that Christianity today looks nothing like New Testament Christianity.

Missionary fervor was once the heartbeat of the church. Missions was so much the heartbeat that Paul could write this to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not speak anything.” Here are a few ways that we may be able to recapture that missionary fervor in our modern missionary programs.

Consider Prayer

Turn the Wednesday evening Bible study back into the Wednesday night prayer meeting. Start the evening with a ten minute charge on prayer. After the charge, split up into smaller groups and pass out copies of all the current prayer letters. Wrap up the evening with a public missions-centered prayer or two. I would encourage a corporate record be kept that explains when and how God answered every specific need.

Consider Support

When adding a new missionary to your missionary program, consider supporting them term by term rather than committing to an unending relationship. That way there can be liberty to follow the Spirit’s leading if a missionary or a ministry changes. You could review and renew the missionary support as your missionaries return to report to the church. The emphasis in support should always follow the leading of the Spirit of God rather than loyalty to tradition, an individual or ministry.

Consider Giving

Budget a significant percent of your missionary commitment for Spirit-led random acts of giving. If the money is available when a missionary comes to present a need, the body can participate immediately as God leads. Spontaneous giving is thrilling; it will maintain the excitement that should surround any missions program!

Consider Going

I am not necessarily a fan of short-term missions from a missionary’s perspective. Often, for the missionary, the burden and responsibilities that come with a short-term visit from supporters can outweigh the blessings and benefits. Nevertheless, visiting the mission field can be a life changing event. In Lamentations 3:51 Jeremiah wrote, “Mine eye affecteth mine heart…” Consider a yearly, well planned, strategic, short-term missions trip in consultation with your missionary and his mission board. Many who visit a mission field come back a different person—focused and on fire for the glory of God.

Yes, things may have changed since the days of Barnabas and Paul and Silas. However, God hasn’t changed. Neither has His commission to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Perhaps some of these ideas can help us recapture the missionary fervor in our modern missionary programs.

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