In Sunday's services, we prayed for all the people we have who are currently on mission trips. Some are youth; some are young adults; some are adults. We have an average worship attendance of about 350 people each Sunday in three services, so our church is not huge. And it wasn't long ago that, like many churches, the only mission trips were yearly treks by our youth.
But times have changed. This year we have folks going to Africa, Costa Rica, Guatemala but also Camp Barnabas, outside of St. Louis. And the youth will also do a week of local mission in our county later this summer.
As United Methodists our focus has always been on practical divinity; that is, making daily living better. We take the long view of mission work, but we don't neglect the short term either. We firmly believe that preaching the message of Christ also involves making sure people are healthy, well-fed, and educated, and living with dignity and justice. We know that the first priority of a hungry person is food for themselves and their families, so when preaching the Gospel, we also provide meals. And of course there is UMCOR--disaster relief.
As the United Methodist Church we are in mission around the world, but as congregations we are increasingly making a global impact by sending out our local people to places that the UMC may not be able to go.
It is a truism that through the Internet, each church has a global footprint. But we are also sending out more local missionaries each year making a global witness.
We are proud that we have Christian witnesses serving around the world. As you may know, there are more martyrs today than ever, so we should not take sending these people into a hostile world lightly. They are serious Christians who are putting their faith into practice and on the line; and we can all be strengthened by their commitment.
How many people is your church sending forth in mission?