Sixty-five churches in our conference help support 17 missionaries in 10 countries on a regular basis through covenant relationships (if your church doesn’t have a covenant relationship with a missionary, learn about and consider this opportunity). Missionaries are active in agriculture, aviation, Christian education, church planting, health ministries, and more. Information on all of the missionaries supported by Minnesota churches, as well as their areas of ministry and ways to support them, can be found here.
Every three years, missionaries travel to their supporting churches to tell the story of their ministry. Most of the time, they come through Minnesota. But missionaries need encouragement and other kinds of support all through the year. Here are some ideas of what you can do to support a missionary:
Introduce your missionary to the whole church. Post a photograph and bio of him or her. Make a bulletin insert.
Distribute copies of the update letters your missionary sends out.
Host a prayer vigil for your missionary, based on the information you receive in their letter.
Write to your missionary and let them know you are praying for and thinking of them.
Develop a bulletin board with information about the area in which your missionary serves: history, culture, geography, food, music, symbols, climate, holidays, celebrations, and common sayings and phrases.
Host a potluck supper/fundraiser to raise awareness of the missionary’s ministry.
Designate a “Missionary Sunday.”
Support ministries that your missionary has started in his or her setting.
Participate locally in the type of ministry in which your missionary is involved in his or her setting (i.e. seeds to a local community garden for someone in agricultural ministry).
Visit your missionary! They all love company.
There are currently 360 United Methodist missionaries serving in 80 countries. They come from everywhere and go everywhere, but all have two things in common: They are serving Jesus and working on our behalf. They deserve our support.
Last, maybe you feel a call yourself. To learn how to become a United Methodist missionary, go here.
Thank you for all you do to heal a broken world and to support others who are making a difference in the name of Jesus.
Rev. Lyndy Zabel is director of missional impact for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.