Is your church strong in foreign missions but weak in local outreach? If so, you’re not alone. As they say, it’s easier to write a check than share your faith. If this is true at your church, here’s an idea that might help: a reverse missions conference.
A reverse missions conference puts the emphasis on “Jerusalem” rather than “the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The desire is not to weaken foreign missions — not at all. After all, the Mission of God involves all venues of the Acts 1:8 mandate. As someone said, “Missions is simply evangelism gone cross-cultural.” But such a conference, if your church holds an annual missions week, can help restore interest in the local part of the Great Commission.
Some time ago, The Philip Center helped lead a church through this kind of conference, and it went very well. Here are some of the details.
Title: Go Local!
* Thursday: Planning meeting for leaders of outreach small groups
* Thursday evening: Focus Group
* Friday: Church and town leaders meeting. The church provided lunch at town hall and asked the town leaders how the church might meet needs in the town.
* Friday evening: Video of on-the-street interviews about God and religion, followed by a discussion on how to reach spiritually lost people.
* Saturday morning: Men’s, Women’s and Youth Breakfast: “Sharing Your Faith”
* Saturday evening: Dinner and main speaker
* Sunday morning: Services with main speaker
* Sunday after the service: “Where Do We Go from Here?”
An essential element: have someone in place to keep the momentum going from the conference. If the conference is inspiring, be sure that you have someone in the church who can champion outreach and keep it moving forward. And then be sure to provide evangelism training so that those who are inspired by the conference are equipped to share their faith.