What Do Missions Mean to the Church?
During the month of May, Grace UMC will celebrate our current mission projects and partners, while discerning where God is calling us to serve today.
Please stay tuned for a video from Chamus Burnside-Savazzini and Lara Stanton launching this “month of mission.”
What Do Missions Mean to the Church?
Most of us have participated in mission opportunities, either as part of an organization, family, school, church, or simply as an individual. Through these missions, we have given donations, assisted those in need, coordinated a service project, participated on a mission trip, or prayed for those who requested it. There are many options and ways to serve others and most of us are called in different ways to serve depending upon our talents, background, and personal experiences. All contributions, no matter how small, are important and make an impact.
Imagine the impact a larger project could have: imagine pooling enough funds to sponsor a playground somewhere in the world, laying the groundwork to introduce children to God. Imagine traveling to a destination like the Bahamas to help clean and rebuild a school or house. Imagine supporting a business in such a way that it makes a difference between closing and keeping the doors open.
Let’s not diminish the smaller impacts, however. These are important too, often easier to fit into our busy lives, and sometimes more manageable in-between the larger projects. Donating some food items, coordinating meal trains, writing a check, and/or donating blood can all help someone in need. Imagine the impact if we all helped just one person.
How do we balance the needs of large and small mission opportunities within our church and community? How can we communicate the opportunities to serve so church members can decide how they can help based on their available resources, including time and personal availability?
The month of May kicks off “Missions at Grace,” an entire month dedicated to gathering ideas for future mission projects, coordinating existing efforts, and helping our members get connected in order to make a difference in individual lives, in our community, and in the world.
Why mission matters?
We believe in God, who lived out a mission-driven life through the person of Jesus. Christ took time to teach, serve, encourage, heal, comfort and pray. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do the same. As Christians, we are charged to live out our faith and allow the overflow of our hearts to produce faith-filled fruit in the world. The act of mission is an answer to a spiritual calling. Grace United Methodist Church has a long history of mission locally, nationally, and internationally. Initiating, responding to, and participating in mission means so many things to different people throughout the church. This is because each person has a specific spiritual pathway, or way that connects them to God, and that unique pathway leads them to express that faith in different ways. Those who exhibit service or caregiver spiritual pathways, for example, seem to enjoy mission opportunities because that is where they feel called and comfortable.
We respond to mission opportunities because the Holy Spirit is calling us to do so. Every person has a purpose in this journey called life and when we stay spiritually connected to God and our calling, we can hear what God is calling us to do. It is important that we respond and share our skills and talents to help others and ourselves. Mission is putting faith into action in a meaningful way that gives hope, shows mercy and uplifts those who may be discouraged. This allows us all to focus on our faith formation and strengthen our spiritual muscle as we respond to the Great Commission: Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20).
We as disciples at Grace UMC should continue to be mission-focused, no matter how small or large these missions might be, because our calling is to help others come to know Christ.