by Steve Bailey
It is often asked by sincere members of The Church, “How can we do more for missions that goes above and beyond our regular contributions? ” This is the very question our congregation asked about eight years ago. The idea was suggested that each person in the congregation set aside one dollar a day for a year, and by doing so, our congregation could raise substantial funds to further our mission efforts. Well, you could have blown us over with a feather when we put a pencil to the numbers and found that we could give over $200,000 dollars if indeed each person set aside just one dollar a day for a year!
Let me explain how the math works for this to be a success in your congregation. The key is for each person in the congregation, man, woman and child (children) set aside one dollar a day for 365 days. Let’s use 400 members as the base. Multiply 400 by 365 and that will total $146,000.00!! You may have more members in your congregation; you may have less. But the key is one dollar a day per member! That’s one George Washington dollar bill—two fifty cent pieces, four quarters, ten dimes, twenty nickels, or 100 pennies…whatever it takes to get the point across. It all adds up, and adds up very quickly.
Just imagine, if each person gave up a “Starbucks type coffee drink,” in the morning and placed that money in a jar, (some of those drinks are $5 each). Or how about that afternoon “high energy drink” to help get you through the day? Those can be upwards of $4 each. You can see how quickly the dollars add up. To get the children involved, they may decide to give up that afternoon “convenience store snack” as all this adds up quickly as well.
Another side benefit is that it shows families where all that “expendable pocket change” is spent each day! The key is for each family member to support the mission’s effort. It builds enthusiasm, plants the seed for a missional heart in your children, and motivates mom and dad to be an example. Our congregation also displays a PowerPoint slide each Sunday morning during the announcement time. This is a visual reminder of the mission connection. Each week, this slide reminds people how much money could be saved by setting aside just one dollar a day for the church’s mission.
So, how is it done?
First of all, I would suggest you build toward that special day of giving for an entire year. When you emphasize missions all year long, teaching not about a “great suggestion,” but rather Jesus’ command, “The Great Commission,” people will recognize their God-given duty toward missions. As our congregation prepares year-long for the special offering, we dedicate one month solely to the mission effort throughout the globe. This provides us an extra level of preparation in the weeks leading up to our missions offering.
Secondly, Choose the Right Time of the year for MM. Personally, I love the fall for mission emphasis. There is something about the harvest time and building on that theme. I might suggest you consider the month of October. Summer vacations have all passed; it is after the “back to school” expenses for mom and dad and the kids, and before the holidays set in.
The 5th Sunday or last Sunday of the month could be used as the official collection date. When you build on this event all year, Mission Month becomes a highlight for the membership. The deacon of missions may choose to send a letter to the membership the third week of the month reminding everyone to be prepared for the Mission Contribution. In that same letter, he may want to reiterate the specific works that will be supported by their gifts.
Third, invite guest speakers to your pulpit during the mission month emphasis. By inviting guest speakers, you emphasize how important missions should be to the congregation. You might want to invite speakers from the places you currently support or anticipate supporting. It will be an added expense for long distance speakers, so you may consider using SKYPE to avoid added expenses to allow any foreign missionaries an opportunity to preach “long distance” to your congregation. I might also suggest you allow the missionary to give a short “table talk” at the Lord’s Table that Sunday morning. This will show how all brothers and sisters in Christ share this great feast across the globe. Of course, if you do not have access to SKYPE you can invite speakers that are closer in proximity to preach face-to-face and fly them in, or have them drive to your congregation. Combining all the adult classes and allowing the missionary to fill the pulpit builds camaraderie and rapport with the membership. Members can actually see the person you are asking them to support financially and the “connection” with the missionary is vital. Missionaries know what is needed in the field and most are not afraid to ask for help in the work before them.
Fourth, conduct Mission Sunday with zeal and passion. Praise God with songs of His glory and of saving the lost. Pray for specific missionaries, locations, and how God has blessed each giver. All this prepares the guest speaker to present a powerful Biblical message about missions.
I would further suggest that the regular contribution be taken in the usual format as you do each Lord’s Day. Then following the sermon, collect the special mission contribution. While the monies are being tallied, the announcement of the total mission giving will be made at a catered or “Pot Luck” meal. Members are more likely to stay and share in the joyous announcement of the sacrifice made by all the members for missions.
Let me share some numbers. The first year you may be surprised as to the amount that is contributed. The amount may be not quite what you expected, but remember; it is more than you had for missions before with no special collection. If you build on the giving and really push this effort each year, you will be surprised at the growth…it is contagious! My assumption is, if you promote this correctly, and with great enthusiasm, and the elders, deacons and mission committee all get behind this effort; God will be glorified. Each and every year I am blown away at the success of this ministry. As an aside note, I don’t think we have failed, in any one year, to meet our weekly budget and also see our mission contribution take in more than the previous year! All on just a dollar day! Seems so simple doesn’t it?
If you employ these ideas and other “tailor made ideas” to fit your congregation, you can have a successful Mission Sunday! By doing these things, you can help carry out the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Just think; it was all done with just a $1 a day! Can we deny a God so great that we can’t spare a dollar a day? Some may ask, “have we reduced our missions to just a dollar a day? Is that all we want to give to God?” Of course not! But it is one way to give toward missions, and it takes just $1 a day. May God bless your efforts!
Steve Bailey is the senior minister for Mesquite Church of Christ in Mesquite, Texas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.