Another successful Missions Week is in the books! Missions Week 2023 took place April 23 to 30 to help the church body grow in its understanding of and relationship with WCC’s global and local missions partners, to understand how it can better support and encourage the partners and to understand the role each person plays in the Great Commission.
In addition to bookend sermons in the series “Sent” on April 23 and 30, two expositions took place in the WCC café to launch and wrap up the week. On April 23, local missions partners manned booths and shared about their organizations with the church body, while on April 30, global missions partners and/or their representatives or pit crew members staffed expo booths to share what it’s like to share the Gospel at the far ends of the earth. In addition, the church was asked on both Sundays to pray for the partners and write them notes of encouragement.
On April 24, more than 50 people, individuals and groups, prayed for WCC’s missions partners in 30-minute increments during the 24 Hours of Prayer. The vigil was designed to help the church body grow in its practice of praying for WCC’s missions partners, who depend on the congregation for encouragement and support.
On April 26, pit crew leaders and their crews were honored at an appreciation dinner. These teams are WCC’s missions partners’ personal caregivers, encouraging and equipping them, listening to them, reinforcing their work and brainstorming ways to better care for them. About 80 people attended the dinner, at which global partners Beth Baleke (Uganda) and Summer Zimmer (Papua New Guinea) shared on the importance of caring and praying for those who are sent.
About 175 people attended the Taste of Missions event and Silent Auction on April 28. Taste of Missions is a flavorful event that allows attendees to sample street food from some of the regions where WCC’s missions partners serve. In addition to a speed dating-type get-to-know-the-missionaries activity and a kids zone full of activities, a silent auction took place, which raised more than $10,600 for the Missionaries in Training Fund. Attendees could bid on 61 items/packages, including a helicopter ride, a powered La-Z-Boy recliner and a variety of gift baskets featuring items from the countries and organizations where WCC’s global missionaries serve.
On April 30, Missions Week wrapped up during Sunday night youth group. More than 100 students, along with 30 small group leaders and missions representatives attended the Student Ministries Missions Celebration, which focused on how God uses everyone to share His Good News in even the most unlikely places and how each person can be involved in missions as both a “goer” and a “sender.”
“Missions Week was eight high-impact days that helped us understand and become excited about what it means to be a sending church,” said Bonnie Swanson, WCC’s Executive Pastor of Ministries. “The week was also a great example of numerous individuals and teams with different strengths and gifts coming together for a common goal. I am so grateful for the strength we have in the diversity of our missions partners, volunteers and staff and what each brings to the Missions ministry.
“So many people grew during Missions Week in their knowledge of what missions is and how we all play a role in the Great Commission,” Bonnie concluded. “My heart is full as I think about the fact that one of God’s characteristics is sending, and because we are His children and carry his DNA, we are sent, too, just as Christ was sent. I am proud that WCC is a sending church. There is always more we can do, but we are well on our way to ensuring the Gospel is shared here at home and across the globe.”