After reading about some of my fellow missionaries’ adventures in deputation, I came up with this idea for a blog post. Hope that it is a blessing and help to you.
The Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, is well known in many parts of the world. They believe in being prepared for every emergency and practice the techniques they learn regularly.
Be Prepared is a good motto for a missionary to have. I will be writing a series of posts on being prepared for ministry, not only on deputation/furlough/home assignment, but also for ministry on your chosen field.
This first post will be about being prepared for ministry while on deputation/furlough/home assignment. (From now on I will only use the word deputation, but it will refer to any time you are in the States or your home country reporting on your work or raising funds.)
Today, I will be dealing specifically how you can be prepared for any ministry eventuality by taking some time before hand to prepare. Ministry opportunities abound when one is on deputation. Sunday school, Main service, Evening service, Mid-week prayer meeting, Vacation Bible School, Missions conferences, Youth rallies, etc. All of these afford an opportunity to share your field and burden. However, each instance may use different materials. For example, the tools you use in a main service will not be the same ones you use in Junior church. Preparing your tools ahead of time will make you less stressed when five minutes before service the pastor tells you, ‘You will be teaching the 5-6 year old Sunday School class.’ Less stress is good in a life style that already has a lot of stress built into it.
What to prepare
Ok, so I have convinced you that you need to prepare materials ahead of time, but you ask, ‘what do I prepare and how do I fit it into my little deputation car?’ This will require a bit of mental exercise. Think of all of the activities you have participated in while attending a church. Write them all down on paper/Word Document (Take your pick). Then analyze your list. Which activities use the same or similar materials? Example, Sunday school, VBS and Junior church use the same or similar materials. For them I would prepare a game, a song to teach, a lesson that can be graded according to age group, and a memory verse. This is what I would do. Can’t sing? Prepare an object lesson. Think outside the box a bit. You never know what God will use to touch the hearts and lives of children. There are some excellent materials that have a series of lessons that fit together nicely. (I will be reviewing some of those materials in a later blog post.)
Main services, evening services, and mid-week services tend to use the same tools as well. The obvious is a video presentation. This should present your field of service, your calling, what you intend to do when you get to the field/what you have done on the field, and your background. Most of this is covered by classes offered by your mission board/mission agency.
What if you don’t have time to set up for a video presentation? Have you written down your testimony so you can give it at any moment? Have you adjusted your testimony so you can fit various time constraints? Do you sing or play an instrument? Can you start a question and answer session? Sometimes life throws you for a loop, and just like the Boy Scouts, we need to be prepared for anything. The lights went out in the middle of your video? Surely you have seen it enough times that you can present what is in the video! Are you a single man? You should be prepared to preach at any moment. Don’t have your Bible handy? Scripture memorization is a wonderful thing. Didn’t you know that was the purpose of all those verses they made you learn at Bible College and in Sunday school? Besides, as a Missionary Kid, I can personally attest that if you have at least one sermon that you have preached a lot, you can preach it from memory, Scriptures and all. (In fact, so can your family!) If you are a single lady, you should also be prepared to teach at any time.
The point of this exercise is to prepare for all of the events you can think of. Be smart about what you prepare. If you can, make your materials useful for more than one event. Think about the space you have to work with in your car.
How do I fit it in my car?
By taking the time before hand to think about what you may be asked to do, you can think about your materials and the space in your vehicle in a logical manner. By using items for multiple purposes, you can carry less and do more. As I mentioned before, Sunday school and Junior church use the same materials. Where ever you put your materials, make sure they are easy to get to at a moment’s notice. (Also from personal experience, MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN THE CAR BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE PLACE YOU ARE STAYING! Especially if you are driving any distance. If you want the story, contact me later.)
Think outside the BOX
Churches see a lot of missionaries, especially at missions conference time. What can you do to be memorable? A friend of mine has a set of puppets that relate to her field. They are all animals that she encounters on a daily basis. She uses these puppets to teach children about God and about her field at the same time. (I remember her presentation to my Junior church class more than 10 years later.)
Whatever you decide to use, flannelgraph, flashcards, object lessons, etc. the one thing that can make a story useful to the Master, is to consider Him in all things. There have been times that I planned to say something and God has asked me to teach a different topic. He is the only One who can breathe life into your teaching and use it to reach the hearts of your hearers.
Please let me know what you come up with. I am always looking for good ideas I can use in my own ministry!