What is a Missions Fair?
Depending upon the goals you have for it, it is a different, and in my opinion, a more attractive and interesting way of doing missionary reports. It also allows the located preacher to preach and not be constantly interrupted by visiting missionaries preaching and giving their reports. It allows the church’s members to actually visit with missionaries and see what they are doing. We usually have our fair during the Bible study hour on the third Sunday of each July.
Why have a Missions Fair?
Simply because it is the best use of a missionary’s time and resources and honestly, it is the best way of getting and giving mission reports either in person or via some visual medium. We have also learned that doing the old way is a turn off for many young people. Some of them will not attend if a missionary is visiting and going to preach. This sounds tragic but that is the way it is here. Mission fairs give special attention to missions and missionaries and present some very powerful visuals. Members and guests can meet and talk to missionaries.
What are the results of a Missions Fair?
We’ve done two now and the missionaries were very impressed, and the members enjoyed it thoroughly. I think a sincere interest in missions has been cultivated within the congregation. I think it is too early for us to tell, but if the interest is any indication, the results will continue to be positive.
Displays in the vestibule with the missionaries and brief videos (4 to 5 minutes max) being shown in the auditorium. An after-worship lunch with ethnic foods and American foods is offered. Variety is good. There is color and activity and personal involvement using this method.
Missions Fairs present a positive view of Missions. Our younger people want to see people being served (doing) as well as people preaching and teaching. Our missionaries need to do some study in this area. Brief interesting videos take planning; they don’t happen by accident. They must move their viewers emotionally. In the past I have made videos for some of our missionaries. However, they are now learning to do make the videos themselves.
This idea of Missions Fairs was originally given to me by my brother in law Richard Youngblood. Richard, now retired, was the involvement minister at the University church of Christ in Murray, KY for many years. The church had a missions committee and the missions committee met with the missionaries every year with a rotation of all the missionaries over two or three years. Here in Athens, we alternate between a Ministry Fair and a Missions Fair every other year. Presently, our elders do not meet with the missionaries when they are in town for the Missions Fair. I believe the Missions Fair is primarily for the membership but a creative leadership can make it much more.
The goal is to elevate missions and missionaries to their rightful place and to move members to love the lost and those who unselfishly reach out to them. Without evangelism, the lost remain lost. Trav
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