Mission Projects

Go and Do Right Where You Are

women and men volunteering

Dusting off your passport, getting on a plane, and taking the gospel to another country is always a good way to get out of your comfort zone.

But consider the ways you can stretch yourself right where you are and see God do new things in your neighborhood and city. Why not plan a week this year to do a “staycation” with your family or missions group? Or why not try a “near me mission trip” 1 afternoon a month? You might be surprised what God might show you right where you are.

Where to Start

Before you start, pray for God to give you fresh eyes. When we embark on mission trips to other places, everything is new—it’s as if our brains and our hearts are on high alert for new people and new opportunities. Ask God to give you new eyes to see the people around you as you go to familiar places and do familiar things.

Here are some ideas for things you could try:

Deliver VBS to Senior Adults and Shut-ins

man on road with Bible and bag

Reflecting on the summers of my childhood, I always looked forward to Vacation Bible School (VBS). Complete with fruit punch and cookies, VBS was much less about “school” and much more about growing in my relationship with Christ. The weeklong event typically took place within the walls of our local church with familiar faces and dedicated volunteers.

In today’s world, VBS has happily taken on a revised schedule, with many churches choosing to offer an abbreviated VBS at night or on a weekend. But what about stepping beyond the church walls to personally deliver the gospel to an often-overlooked sector of our society? What if we rolled up our sleeves, packed up our resources, and took VBS on the road to a local nursing home or senior center? We just might discover an untapped dimension to fulfilling the Great Commission while experiencing a whole lot of joy in the process!

Trash or Treasure: A Unique Garage Sale Ministry

garage sale sign

Do you enjoy scrambling through someone else’s no-longer-wanted items to find just the treasure you have been seeking? You may not even know you need an item until you discover it among the collection of treasures. Garage sale junkies, both men and women, are utterly thrilled with their finds.

Rethink garage sales! What if your church organized a garage sale where the items were free as a way to develop relationships in your community that might lead to sharing Christ?

Taking Hope to the Hurting: Network with Social Services to Meet Needs

homeless woman

Picture a lonely single mom standing in line at the social services office or a young woman getting out of prison with no family or friends to support her. Imagine a middle-aged man addicted to painkillers, feeling misunderstood by his peers as he struggles toward recovery.

What do all these people have in common? They are all individuals with spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

So often when we search for missions projects, we overlook the desperate human needs all around us. For many of these isolated individuals, their only connection to “help” is agencies outside the church. Finding these people can help us bridge the gap and build relationships for the kingdom.

Ask your local social services office for specific ways your missions group members can help area individuals. What are people’s most desperate unmet needs? Would the office allow you to post a flyer or church brochure on its bulletin board?

“Race” to Reach Your Community with a Missional Scavenger Hunt

In The Amazing Race, competing teams travel around the world to complete challenges in their pursuit of the $1 million grand prize. Plan an Amazing Race–style scavenger hunt to energize your missions group and reach out to your community.

Divide your group into teams (3–5 people is ideal). Give each team a list of challenges to complete within the time frame of the game. Teams should start with the required task and then choose which optional ones they will complete. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner (recognize the winning team at a church service or with a small prize).

Ready, set, go! Blow a whistle to send teams on their way. Play music to create a race day atmosphere.

Mission Scavenger Hunt

Assign 1 person to be the scorekeeper for the game. Instruct each team to select a team member to serve as reporter and send a photo of the team completing each challenge to the scorekeeper. Distribute the scorekeeper’s contact information (mobile number, email, Facebook messenger, etc.) to reporters.

Share the Gospel in Assisted Living Facilities

“Hey, Bubba, how are you today?” I asked as I leaned over to kiss my husband.

He turned to look at me and nodded his head. A stroke had left him paralyzed on the left side, and he now relied on the assisted living facility’s nursing staff to care for him. Two pairs of socks and fresh fruit lay beneath the small Christmas tree I bought for his table. A Christmas card pinned to the bulletin board offered greetings and reminded us of Christ’s birth.

How wonderful to know that residents who don’t have visitors would not only hear the Christmas story from volunteers but also receive gifts in honor of Christ’s birth.

Have you ever considered volunteering? Here’s how you and your missions group can start sharing the gospel with assisted living residents:

Become a Church Plant Supporter

Planting a new church can be stressful, rewarding, lonely, exhilarating, and exhausting all at once. This is why the North American Mission Board (NAMB) is constantly looking for supporting churches to partner with church planters by praying for them, participating in their work, and providing for their needs. You can help!

Talk to your missions group about supporting a church plant. Here is what your group can do:

Little Sweet Treats: Use Cookies to Open Hearts to the Gospel

Decorations, trees, gifts, and food define Christmas for many, leaving little room for Jesus. Rather they think of Santa Claus and overspending. This year, share the Savior with homemade witnessing tools—cookies—and create a connecting point for future relationship building.

Plan a group cookie party to make, decorate, and share cookies and then use them to open hearts to the gospel. Search recipe websites for decorated cookie recipes, try one of the recipes below, or dig out your grandmother’s favorite cookie recipe. Choose large batch recipes simple for a group to make, or bake a few batches ahead of time and decorate later as a group. Cookies that stay fresh, transport easily, and won’t crumble make for a better presentation.

Prepare an invitation listing December church events as well as Bible study and worship times. Attach a catchy poem like this on one side to use as an icebreaker:

Plan a Prayer for the Nations Night

Antarctica. That was what was printed on the folded-up sheet of paper I pulled from the cup on a small-group retreat once, and we all had a good laugh.

The 7 of us had each drawn a continent to pray for, and that was mine. But as we began to talk about it, we brainstormed who that could be. We talked about the scientists there who might not know Christ. We moved on to people in cold places in other parts of the world—Scandinavia, Siberia, Greenland, and so on. We went in a circle for quite some time, and when it got around to me, I lifted them all up.

That might not have been the most conventional way to pray for the lost around the world, but it’s one I haven’t forgotten even years later. And I think that tactic, while unusual, accomplished something. It made me remember those people. I still pray for them when Antarctica gets mentioned in conversation or in a movie. I still remember the people in all the cold places of the world.

Respect and Pray for Those in Authority

Entering a room in the intensive care unit, I introduced myself as the hospital chaplain, and the very sick woman in the bed raised her hand as if to physically push me away and boldly proclaimed, “I don’t believe the Bible, and I don’t believe in God.”

Many of our elected officials may feel the same way. They may want to push us away. They may or may not welcome our prayers on their behalf, but it does not change our responsibility to pray for them.

Pause now to read Romans 13:1–8 and then consider these motivations to pray:

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