ELEPHANT BUTTE (BNM) - Missionaries are more than just a face or just folks who live far away. Missionaries love the comforts of home and extended family. They love America. They have fears. They feel inadequate at times, but they have given up those things to serve God and the Kingdom’s advancement. They have chosen obedience over convenience, simply because they love Jesus. As fellow Christians, we are their partners.
During my years on church staff, I have enjoyed meeting many missionaries and connecting with even more of them via Facebook. It always amazes me that one of their main prayer requests is that folks back home do not forget them or stop praying for them. When I first started hearing that, I purchased a spiral notebook to keep a list of missionaries with whom I have connected. I also have several prayer cards taped inside the notebook to remind me of them and their need for prayer.
Recently, in my capacity as senior adult/missions pastor, Church at the Butte, Elephant Butte, we started a ministry of prayer for missionaries. We chose missionaries from the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and other entities. For years we have had a “mission moment” each Sunday, showing a video and praying for missionary workers around the world.
Our church’s new effort will engage each member of our congregation in prayer for missionaries on weekdays, in addition to Sunday. The process is simple and available for any church on God’s mission.
At Church at the Butte, each Bible study and Sunday school class is adopting a missionary family to pray for and connect with. A picture of the family, along with information about them and their ministry, is developed to help get to know the family better. The information provided includes email addresses, Facebook locations, anniversaries, birthdays and other pertinent information about the family. The information sheets are sent to the missionary for approval before distributing them to the classes. Additionally, the small group will send Christmas, birthday and anniversary cards to the missionary and their family. For overseas missionaries, mailing the cards at least two weeks in advance allows them to arrive on time.
Each Bible study or class leader contacts the missionary electronically to obtain specific prayer requests. Using Zoom or Skype is possible for the class to meet with the missionary face to face. If the missionaries live close enough during their stateside assignment, we will invite them to visit the church and their assigned classes. A Bible study class might also plan a short-term mission trip to work with its adopted missionary.
IMB missionaries from New Mexico and others worldwide would love to connect with your church or a Bible study group. Obtain information on missionaries your church might adopt by contacting Scott Wilson at email@example.com. Wilson is the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s mission mobilization team leader. Join a missionary in the Great Commission.