Steps to a Good Missions Conference
A page from the ebook, Stuff you need to know about Doing Missions in Your Church, (an updated version is available from http://www.davidmays.org/Resources/resmays.html).
The keys to a good missions conference are purpose, prayer, planning, promotion, program, and follow up.
Select the date and make sure it doesn't conflict with anything that will compete for a large section of your congregation. Set the date well in advance, up to one year.
Recruit a respected and effective leader to head up the Conference Team. Assemble a separate conference leadership team. Include lots of people in the planning and preparation.
- Plan well in advance, at least six months.
- Pray before you do anything else, while you are doing everything else, and after everything is done. Prayer is perhaps the single most important part of the Conference.
- Develop a purpose for the conference. What do you hope to accomplish?
- Find the best keynote speaker you can get. The missions speaker sets the tone.
- Develop a solid program with elements of creativity, drama, storytelling, and lots of participation. Do at least one new thing you haven't done before.
- Do a special education effort for church leaders.
- Run a children's conference at the same time.
- Make your promotion as good as the best event in your church.
- Showcase your missionaries to their best advantage.
- Call people to commitment. Challenge big. Give them several alternatives for response. Provide a way for them to record their response. Provide ways to begin implementing their commitments immediately.
- Follow up on the responses and help people to carry out their commitments.
Most commonly neglected areas: Prayer and Follow-up
In addition to the above, I suggest the following:
- Recruit some prayer warriors to pray for the event and the results. Keep them informed.
- Recruit a small group to help and advise you.
- Decide on a theme, motif, logo, slogan.
- Do high quality promotion and begin well in advance.
- Make the event fit the church. If your church is informal, be informal; if family oriented, be family oriented, if professional, be professional. If your church writes your own drama, write drama. If you make your own video, make video. If potlucks are popular, have a potluck; otherwise don't.
- Incorporate the conference into your normal church schedule and ministry activities – Sunday School classes, adult Bible fellowships, small groups, children's ministries, etc. Infuse each ministry with missions.
- Involve your pastor in ways that put him in the spotlight but don't burden him with work.
- Make sure your pastor is present at the conference. Nothing speaks louder than a pastor's absence!
- Use your missionaries to their best advantage. Give them plenty of time with individuals, in homes, and in small groups. When time is short in the public service, interview them.
- Make sure the children get the missions message. Do something fun and creative with them.
- Be sure the program is at least as strong as the promotion. Otherwise you lose credibility.
- Request commitments at the end of the conference and follow up in ways that help people carry out their commitments.
Click here for additional and innovative conference ideas, also compiled by David Mays