Oct.17, 2021—21st Sunday after Pentecost Laity Sunday

Note: The third Sunday in October, Laity Sunday, is one suggested date for observing United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday. However, annual conferences and local churches may choose their own date. While Laity Sunday has no special offering, conferences may take a special offering for local or jurisdictional UMVIM programs.  

A Moment for Mission

“Whoever wants to be great among you will be the slave of all, for the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” —Mark 10:44-45, CEB

Last year, as COVID-19 forced United Methodist Volunteers in Mission to postpone in-person mission journeys, Global Ministries and UMVIM jurisdictional offices encouraged team leaders and mission-minded people to participate in “virtual missions.”

For a virtual mission, the UMVIM leader sets a team, plans a week of mission, learns, explores, connects and partners with project sites around the world.

For current virtual mission opportunities, go to https://www.umvim.org/virtual-missions. Then determine which mission journey you will share. Adapt as needed for small groups, Bible studies and missions committee discussion. 

The same website provides resources, including a template brochure, a team-leader checklist and a sample curriculum. Jurisdictional coordinators can also help.

Here are three key steps:

  1. Set up Zoom calls with your team. If stay-at-home orders have been lifted, arrange face-to-face meetings at regular intervals.
  2. Do a book study around the issues. Invite all mission-minded people to participate.
  3. If you still have space available on your team once you can travel again, invite new potential team members to attend a meeting or a local activity.
  4. Today many congregations observe both United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday and Laity Sunday. However, you might choose another Sunday based on your church calendar. UMVIM Awareness Sunday calls the church to celebrate those who have served in short-term missions and UMVIM’s work throughout the world. Laity Sunday honors the ministry of all lay Christians.
  5. It’s a perfect day to honor all volunteers who engage in God’s mission.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, the world is in turmoil. We wonder how to respond. As the hymn says, “Fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you.” In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost God of great blessing, but even greater lessons, remind us again who gives life and who receives it. Sometimes, like Job, we need to have our questioning answered with a lesson –we need to learn that we are not the ones in charge in the universe. The gifts we bring this morning are not a down payment toward future favor, but a token of a debt we will never be able to repay. May we gain wisdom in the giving, and may these gifts be blessed for your glory, not ours. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Job 38:1-7, (34-41))

Newsletter Nugget
Today many congregations observe United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Awareness Sunday and Laity Sunday. UMVIM Awareness Sunday celebrates those who serve in short-term missions around the world. Laity Sunday honors the ministry of all lay Christians.

One way to explore UMVIM is through a “virtual mission.” Unlike an in-person mission journey, a virtual mission is done through Zoom video conferencing. Here’s one suggestion: Block out five days for the experience. Begin each day with a devotional and close with prayer. On Day 1, commission the team, introduce members to the mission journey and have a fundraising kickoff. On Day 2, visit on Zoom with a missioner, review mission goals and share a reading selection. On Day 3, share mission videos, stories and photos; update fundraising progress; and share another reading selection. On Day 4, take time for intercessory prayer and share a reading selection. On Day 5, Zoom with a missioner, report on fundraising and debrief with the group.

Interested? For details, go to https://www.umvim.org/virtual-missions.

Adapted from “Virtual Missions,” United Methodist Volunteers in Mission website. Used by permission.