Skype connected worshippers in Bulgaria with their In Ministry Together partners in the United States during the mission celebration at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta, Ga.
COURTESY TRINITY ON THE HILL UMC
Did you have any idea that God's kingdom was right on your doorstep?
Luke 10:11 (The Message)
In his words to the 70 disciples he sent out for mission, Jesus reminds us that the reign of God is a present reality to those who receive the message of God's grace and love. We step into God's kingdom with acts of kindness and generosity, putting the spirit of love into action. We step into it, entrusted with God's mission.
Through mission celebration events, churches have the opportunity to inspire, challenge and train their members for mission as well as connect them with mission projects locally, nationally and internationally. The events are a strong tool for building bridges of mission with stories, song, praise and prayer.
Why host a mission celebration?
Does your church have an Advance project, missionary or mission theme it supports or wants to support? The Rev. Gary Nelson, senior pastor of Cross Lanes (W.Va.) United Methodist Church recognized that churches in the West Virginia Conference have a heart for mission. He organized a one-day mission celebration for the conference that highlighted mission and ministry in West Virginia and around the world.
Mission celebrations can:
inspire and energize local church members to get involved in mission both locally and globally;
emphasize the foundation of the United Methodist theology of mission and evangelism;
educate congregational leaders about practical strategies to lead their churches in mission work that empowers, celebrates and shares God's love with all; and
- invite the local church to be in mission through prayerful and pledged financial support.
What are some activities to include?
Your congregation can engage actively with the global mission of the church by using guest speakers, workshops, music and personal connections with missionaries around the world. Churches and conferences can celebrate mission in their own context. They might celebrate mission work already underway or present a vision for what could happen by coming together as a community with a common purpose.
At Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church in Augusta, Ga., the event transcended the walls of the church. The Rev. Daniel Topalski used Skype to join the celebration from the Augusta congregation's partner church in Bulgaria. His participation highlighted how technology can be used to build In Mission Together partnerships around the world. Other activities might include:
- keynote speakers
- conversations with congregations and leaders around the world – connecting with the global church via new technology
- missionaries (including young adult missionaries) sharing about their ministry
- hands-on mission activities (e.g., assembling health kits) that involve people of all ages
- workshops that train mission teams and individuals in areas such as worship, developing partnerships, evangelism, intercultural communication, children's ministry and music in mission, as well as training about the geographical areas where The United Methodist Church is involved in ministry
- information on opportunities to be involved in local missions
- opportunities for churches and individuals to make a financial commitment to mission through The Advance
Conference secretaries for global ministries and jurisdictional mission interpreters are available to provide information on planning a mission celebration. They work with staff at the General Board of Global Ministries to arrange missionary itineration schedules, help resource conference and district events and attend events on behalf of Global Ministries. A conference secretary or mission interpreter can also help schedule a missionary for a mission celebration event, provide information outlining how attendees could become more involved in mission through Global Ministries or attend your event to speak on behalf of Global Ministries.
General Board of Global Ministries' staff
To learn more about staging your own mission celebration or how to get started, email [email protected].