The ACEM Missions Conference - Its Planning, Execution, and Evaluation

By Rev. John Kao

In the New Testament, we find numerous numerous instances of missions conferencing between Jesus and his disciples: Jesus’ often exaltation on the vision of the gospel ministry and on the need for prayer, the challenge of short-term missions and evaluation, and the charge of the great commission. In the early church, we find similar cases; the consultations of world missions strategies, the development of missionaries and their commission, the channeling of missionary funds, and the report on the mission fields, etc.

Coming from a background of first-hand experience of world missions, I put world missions on a high priority when I planted a new church in 1975 in Toronto, Canada. A the beginning, our involvement was merely limited to inviting missionaries to speak on Missions Sundays and making offerings to missionaries and their work. On the fourth year, we launched our first Missions Conference.

Over the past fifteen years, the missions fund has grown from $10,000 in the first year to over $    (the 25th). In the same period, God blessed us with seven new churches planted, Sunday attendance from seven families at the beginning to over 5500 in eight meeting places, many young people dedicating their lives to serve God in full-time ministries, and many brothers and sisters participating in short-term and long-term missions work. Therefore, our church leaders are convinced that missions work is the way of blessing for the church.

Preparation before the Missions Conference

Preparation for the Missions Conference begins a full year before the conference date. A pastoral and staff member is entrusted with the responsibility of co-ordinating the up-coming Missions conference. He or she will work closely with other pastoral staffs and church leaders, learning from their experiences to ensure a continuity in the missions program. To facilitate efficient execution, the co-ordination committee includes representatives from each member church, who are, in turn, assisted by many missions representatives from the fellowships.

A. Setting the Goal:

Each mission conference may have its special emphasis and objectives. It may be church planting, or the promotion of young people’s dedication for full-time ministry, or short-term missions work, or the commissioning of missionary candidates. There are six objectives in our 2003 Missions Conference:

B. Setting the Theme:

The theme is set according to the objectives. For the goal of church planting, we had themes like, “Extend My Vision”, “Across the Street, Across the Ocean” ; for missionary commissioning, we had “Pray the Lord of Harvest”, and “So Send I You”. For missions to China, we had “For an Opportunity Such as This”, “For the Sake of Our Kinsmen”.

C. Selecting the Speaker

The speaker(s) is selected according to the theme and the goals. For Missions to China, we invited Rev. Kenneth Lo of Far East Broadcasting Co. in Hong Kong; for Global Missions, we had Dr. Paul Smith of Peoples’ Church and Dr. Stephen Hsu of Chinese Christian Missions; for church planting, Rev. Fred Cheung, Rev. Cyrus Lam, as well as national leaders from Partner International, such as Dr. Chris Marantika, Rev. Galo Vasquez, Rev. Paul Chang.

D. Setting the Budget

The ACEM Missions Department determines the budget according to the following considerations: mission expenditures from last year, this year’s theme and goals, the missions work of the speakers, and the target of this year’s faith promise offering. The budget will be tabled to the ACEM Conference. After it is passed by the conference, with revisions if necessary, the budget will be published in the Missions Conference Handbook. If the faith offering promise exceeds the budget, a special meeting will be called to decide on the allocation of the extra funds. There will not be an accumulations of unused funds in the mission treasury.

E. Setting the Date

At the beginning, the Missions Conference was held over a weekend. Gradually, we also invited missionary speakers to speak on one or two Sundays preceding the conference. Eventually, the missions conference for the past several years covered two weekends, with all our member churches holding missions Sundays and Joint Missions Meetings. Missionaries are invited to share their testimonies in fellowships, Sunday school classes, and small groups. Usually, the missions conferences is held from the last weekend of April and the first Sunday of May. This positions our conference close to the Peoples’ Church Missions Conference so that we can share from them the national leaders of Partner International from all over the world.

F. Promoting the Conference

Since the Missions conference is a major event in ACEM family, its dated are clearly marked out in the church calendars of every member church. Promotion starts six months before the conference, through announcements of the theme, the goals, the speakers, the planning the Missions Handbook, publication of articles on Missions, updating new of missionaries, and the publication of the budget.

G. Decorating the Church for the conference

Besides the missions bulletin board, the church sanctuary is specially decorated for the Conference with special slogans, the Themes, and the Faith offering promise target, etc.

Execution of the Missions Conference

Hosting a Missions Conference for seven or eight churches, with a number of speakers, and numerous programs, is really demanding careful co-ordination and involvement of many people. This involvement would, in turn, increases the support and burden for missions among the congregations.

A. Hosting the Speakers

The reception, transportation, and accommodations of speakers and missionaries have to be arranged ahead of time. When a speaker arrives, he or she should be provided with a package complete with the program, the meeting places and times, the host family, and the contact person’s phone number and addresses, etc. This would allow the speaker or missionary to concentrate on the ministries to the congregation.

B. Pastoral leadership

During the Missions Conference, all pastoral staffs stay away from outside engagements to exercise their full leadership in the meetings. The senior pastors, in particular, would lead the congregations to fully participate in Missions Conference.

C. Briefing before each meeting

Half an before each meeting, all the people involved in the meeting would be gathered together for prayer and briefing. The purpose of the meeting, the co-ordination of all participants, and the timings are discussed to unsure a smooth execution.

D. Designing the Program

The various programs of the Conference should be designed creatively so they would be interesting, informative, inspirational, and challenging.

E. Using Audio-visual Aids

In some case, images can make a much more dramatic impact on the audience than words. Thus, audio-visual aids such as films, slides, videos, should be used. However, all the equipments should be carefully serviced ahead of time.

F. Missions Display

After the meeting, the attendants are invited to a hall to meet with missionaries and to visit the booths displaying the work of the organization, while enjoying a light refreshment.

G.  Faith Offering Promise

The missions funds are most effectively raised through Faith Offering Promise. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the congregation members make offering promises in faith. It is a decision to live a life of faith, relying on the providence and faithfulness of God. It is indeed a way of spiritual growth.

Follow up after the Missions Conference

After the enthusiasm of the Conference, the task which follows is a good follow-up to ensue long-lasting effects.

A.  Announcing the Results

In comparison with the targets, the various results are made known to the speakers and the congregations, for the praise and glory of God. It also promotes further prayer and expectations for next year’s conference.

B.  New Missions Projects

Speakers and missionaries bring in new visions and challenges, which may become new missions projects for the Missions Department. When the Faith Offering Pledge exceeds the target, these new projects may be incorporated into our missions program. This also proves to be an effective way to increase the Faith Offering Promise target.

C.  Follow-up letters

Some churches send out follow-up letters to the congregation after the conference, reminding of their faith promise amount and other commitments. It also expressed that such letter is the last one that they would get as the matter is entirely between the believer and God in a life of faith.

D. Dedication Fellowship

Those who dedicated themselves in the conference should be grouped together, either as Dedication Fellowship or as Missions Interest Group, so that there may be adequate support in walking the way of ministry.

E. Letters to Missionaries

Prior to the conference, requests are sent to the missionaries for updates and reports of publication in the Handbook. After the Conference, the Conference Handbook and results should in turn be sent to the missionaries to cultivate a sense of partnership between the missionaries and the ACEM churches.

F.  Conference Evaluation

After the Conference, an evaluation meeting should be held. Strengths and shortcomings are reviewed and recorded for the benefits of future planning. It is also a time of appreciation for the workers.

G.  Planning for next year

The post-conference period is the best time to plan for next year’s conference as the memories are still fresh. For better long-term planning and strategy positioning, it may be necessary to line up speakers for several conferences. If God regards missions works as precious in his sight, should we not seek to achieve excellence?

May God continue to bless the Missions Programs in Chinese Churches so that more brothers and sisters would participate in world missions ministries.

Last modified on Monday, 01 April 2019 08:53


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