"The most effective aspect of this class was the purposeful introspective look at my own Church's support of global missions." -- student on course evaluation
The following two "An Accurate Picture of My Local Church's Involvement in Global Evangelism" reports were turned in on the same day. The two students were supposedly reporting on the same church.
What a difference. One student did the proper research. The other attempted to write a report simply from personal observation (that turned out to be less than stellar!).
Windsor Hills is a small inner-city church that for its size actually has a great deal of missions going on. They don't have a very large world wide missions program and only donate money for that cause, but they focus more on evangelism in their community.
They have angel food ministries that helps bring in other families that normally wouldn't come near a church event. They also have a southern gospel outreach the last Saturday of every month. There are prayer circles and cards that go out for other people as well as several hospital and nursing home visits. Compared to a lot of churches this isn't very much but for a church that averages less then 100 it is fairly impressive.
That was brief. Sounds like not much was going on in terms of global involvement. Indeed, the first paragraph has the only information relevant to what the student was to research. No bibliography of people interviewed for the report was included.
Now, take a look at this second report. Remember, these two reports on the same church were submitted to me on the same day.
I attend Windsor Hills Church of the Nazarene and serve as the Director of the College and Career Class. We have been attending Windsor Hills Nazarene for two and a half years. I interviewed the NMI President at the church to get a better glimpse of how our church participates in world missions. Even though my husband and I are on staff, I realize that there are sometimes things that go on behind the scenes that we are unaware of. I was greatly surprised at some of the things that I learned.
I asked our Nazarene Missions International President if we circulated mission books or audio versions and she said that we circulated the printed books as well as audio ones. Our NMI Vice President circulates the books and audio books through our Sunday School classes, and when an individual is done with the book or audio book, she collects it and continues to pass it along. The Vice President also keeps a record of who reads what books so that it can be calculated at a later time. The President explained that one of the reasons why people may not realize that we do this is because it is not announced in church, but rather just word of mouth through Sunday School classes.
Every once in a while, posters and flyers are posted up on bulletin boards through the church, but this is not the major way of advertising for missions' promotions. Generally, skits will be done at the beginning of a Sunday Morning Service to help promote missions. I think that this is a great idea. It is more interactive with the congregation rather just passively expecting people to glance up at the billboards and expect that to get them on the band wagon as a result. I think that people in general will respond more positively to skits that are done live. For one thing, it is unpredictable as to what will happen, and secondly, it allows them for a second to step into someone else's shoes.
Our church does give financially to missions in various means. We participate in Faith Promise, Easter Offering, and Thanksgiving Offering, as well as the Memorial Roll program. Even though I have been in a leadership position for almost three years at this church, I did not even realize myself that all of these offerings went to missions. The sad truth is that most believers don't give much to missions. One drawback for my church is that we are so far behind on paying district budgets that it seems hard to raise funds for other areas.
Once a month -- normally the third Wednesday -- the midweek service is focused on missions. Our NMI President told me that she wished that she could do more towards this service such as prepare foreign foods and such that had been done in the past, but she just doesn't have the time. She runs our women's ministries. Her husband is in charge of Angel Food Ministries and she heads up NMI on top of her full-time job and commuting to church from Riverview to Windsor Hills. I felt bad when she said she wanted to do more, but I appreciated that she herself acknowledged that more could be done in these areas. The church also brings in three to four missionary speakers a year to help promote a global worldview.
One thing that our NMI President wants to do differently is to have the missions done on Sunday evening instead of Wednesday. She feels that one of the biggest hindrances to the effectiveness of missions' promotions is simply that people are interested but don't want to be involved. She thinks that this is the case because most people don't think that they are a part of missions. They just don't feel a connection between themselves and the missionaries serving around the world.
I do see areas that my church could be more active in missions, but I also completely believe that they are doing it to their complete capacity. I know feel that it is time that the pastoral staff steps up the challenge and figures out a way to help with the missions promotions. I think that a big part of that simply begins with our own attitude towards missions.
[Attached was a bibliography of three or four people that had been interviewed for the report.]
-- Howard Culbertson,
"This course has practical assignments that involve what is happening in the local church!" -- Lynda B., Nazarene Bible College student
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Searchable PDF of course textbook
-- Howard Culbertson,
"This is a great coarse that opened my eyes to the struggles Christians face around the globe. It gave me an understanding of the real need for missionaries around the world. It's still hard to fathom that there are over two billion people who have not heard about Jesus.+ -- student on course evaluation