In the Bag

A number of years ago, my husband took a new pastorate. I was quite saddened to learn that there was no missions organization in the church and determined that I would seek to change that.

Shortly after settling in, I mailed a plain brown lunch sack to each woman who actively attended the church. Inside it was an invitation to a women’s get-together at the church with instructions to put something in the bag that represented her and bring it with her to the meeting.

As the women gathered, we shared what was in our bags. Some women brought an item from a favorite collection. Some brought items representing their hobbies. One woman brought a favorite recipe. One woman brought pictures of her grandchildren. Another brought a book she was reading. One after another, the women showed what they’d brought and told their story. We oohed and aahed . . . and had fun learning about each other.

After everyone else had shared, I pulled an item from my bag—a treasured item that had been given to me by a missionary friend serving overseas. I shared how missions is an important part of my life.

The women had little knowledge of WMU, so I enlightened them (I love talking about WMU!) and I asked if they would be interested in starting a women’s missions group. As a result, we began meeting monthly with a handful of participants. I could have wished for more people—OK, I did wish for more people to be involved. But I learned that missions growth is not just quantitative; it is also qualitative. This small group of women began to study mission stories and fervently pray for missionaries. The women began to see needs among the lost in our community and look for ways to meet those needs. They began to give to missions offerings. They became a missions voice in our church. They became friends who shared a common love—the love of missions.

Over time, these women helped our church see the need for missions education for our children, too, and we began Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action. We also began a monthly craft group that gathered to make a craft and pray for missionaries.

A church with no organized missions presence now had one . . . and it all began with a plain brown lunch sack.

Jeanette Cloyd is a full-time volunteer who strives to follow Christ’s leading in Fairfield, Illinois, and wherever God-sized adventures take her. She can be contacted at







Age Level: 
Back to Top