by Elisha Lim
1) Missions Awareness Program
This is an excellent way to expose the individual to the mechanics of missions along with its supporting agencies. The individual will be able to catch a glimpse of how missionaries work and live in the mission field and how missions organisations like OMF, SIM and OM serve to support these missionaries in their work and livelihood. The organisers (usually missionary support groups) would also be able to give a wider perspective on the various types of mission work that exist (eg. engineers, nurses, bankers, etc.). They would also be able to furnish information on the receptiveness of countries to the introduction of the Gospel as well as statistics and behavioural patterns of citizens of a particular country.
2) Personal Encounter with Missionaries
This approach adds the personal dimension to the exposure process and it has proven to be very fruitful for many individuals. The personal accounts of the missionaries may serve to enhance the individual’s understanding and desire for greater involvement in missions.
3) Reading Literature on Missions Work
In this approach, we find the individual is left very much to oneself to take the initiative in acquiring more knowledge through reading. Some helpful materials for gaining inspiration would be autobiographies of missionaries who faithfully served God in various parts of the world. This is a good way of getting youths to be interested in missions because they can take their time when reading the book. Also, the cost to buy a book is relatively low.
Our youths must realise the reality and relevance of prayer in being co-labourers in this ministry of reconciliation. By being a prayer partner with a missionary friend, youths will not only be encouraging and supporting the ministry, but they will in turn be spurred on to greater interest and involvement.
Praying for a specific nation or people group will also serve to help the youth develop a compassionate spirit towards others who are lost and underprivileged. At this point, I would also like to add that the involvement of adults would be an added bonus as guidance and encouragement are required in this area of prayer.
5) Support Groups
Unlikely as it may seem, youths can support tremendously in the area of finance for a missionary or missionary groups. In many instances, youths have been known to use their creativity to organise fund-raising projects to support those out in the mission fields. They can also pledge to give a portion of their weekly/monthly allowance to this cause.
Similarly, other youths have been known to support the missionaries’ emotional well-being by sending occasional cards, letters or newsletters. Although this form of support is rarely acknowledged, it is nevertheless an important aid to missionary work.
6) Missions Awareness Program (MAP) Trips
Sometimes words and pictures can only do so much to try and bring reality to a person, but experiencing the situation and surrounds are quite different altogether. This notion is similar with a mission trip. The spiritual, emotional and physical needs of people will suddenly become a reality when our youths meet them. Our youth need to recognise that there is a real world outside. They should also realise that their presence alone is an encouragement to both missionaries and the people there.
Adapted from the “Missions Conference ‘94” booklet, a 1994 BCC production.