For the Hope Grace Brethren Church in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Missions has always been at the very heart of their vision. Ever since its start in the 1970s, the leaders of the church have passionately shared with their community the value of the Great Commission and have provided many wonderful ways to get involved.
So, when Jessica approached Pastor George suggesting her idea, he was more than happy to see it through. In fact, he absolutely loved the proposal! The dinner seemed simple and thoughtful. And on top of that, it would provide an opportunity for their church to celebrate the work God was doing in the world through their missionaries.
Pastor George gave Jessica the go-ahead and she began to plan.
Initially, the Hope on Mission event was going to be a small dinner for just a few of their in-house missionaries. But, as a gesture, Jessica decided to email a handful of missionaries outside of their church to see if they wanted to come too.
In all honesty, she wasn’t expecting many people to reply. However, the RSVP’s started rolling in. And, once the word got out that the event was happening, other mission-minded folks asked if they could come too. By the end of the month, several people were added to the guest list and their initial dinner plan for a dozen grew to 75 people.
But, the numbers are not what made this event so special.
The Hope on Mission event wasn’t a fundraiser or a conference. Rather, it was a time to hear how God was working around the world, a time to celebrate the victories, and a time to pray for the needs. It was above all a unique time to fellowship.
During the dinner, several missionaries and ministry reps gave mini-presentations. Intentionally, there was at least two missionaries or ministry reps at each table, so that church members could talk and connect. Plus, there was an ice cream social afterward to further expand the networking and fellowship.
The table was the focus of the event.
As Jessica walked around the busy room, she was so pleased to see people talking, laughing, and praying with one another. People from all over the country and the world were connecting with each other, especially with members of the Hope Grace Brethren Church.
There was impact all around, but it was evident that the missionaries and ministry reps were most affected. The fellowship that the Hope on Mission event offered sent them a real heart-felt non-verbal message saying, “We truly and dearly care about you and how you are serving God.”
We love hearing stories like this one! When churches take extra measures to love on their missionaries, they do so much good by it. Being a missionary isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s more on the difficult side in most cases. So, feeling the love and support from family, friends, and churches is always a plus.
How does your church show their appreciation to those they send? Have you ever thought about organizing an event like Hope on Mission? Well, as Jessica will tell you, it’s well worth the work! And, at Encompass World Partners, we think so too. Consider connecting with your pastor and exploring how you can connect your people with missionaries for the purpose of fellowship. If you get any good ideas, let us know too.