How to… keep mission on the agenda
Across the UK, CMS church advocates work very hard to keep local and global mission high on the agenda within their churches. Our church relations team spoke to some advocates to find out how they do that.
CMS advocates work in different ways in different contexts – but always to enable congregations to understand better what God is doing in mission around the world.
Beryl Howard St Stephenʼs Hightown, Liverpool
When Ruth Hulser, a former CMS mission partner, retired three years ago, Beryl’s church was keen to link with another CMS mission partner.
After a time of discernment, they carefully prepared and shared with the congregation about Olinda, Brazil, where Becky and Evaldo Reid Rodrigues seek to give vulnerable girls a hope and a future. Having established greater understanding about their location, St Stephen’s linked with Becky and Evaldo. Each week an update on their work is included in the parish online notice sheet and they are included most weeks in the intercessions at church. In this way, the focus on the work is continuous, and people feel included. Keeping mission on the agenda is seen as a part of the church’s culture, so people can see and understand more about God’s world.
Robin Dawson St Thomas’ Brampton, Chesterfield
Robin Dawson, a long-term supporter of CMS, is part of St Thomas’ mission committee, who seek to bring mission into the congregation’s focus every second month. This may involve a visiting speaker, but currently the mission spotlight is on different aspects of CMS’s work, including mission partners Paul and Sarah Tester in Peru, with whom the church is linked.
In addition to visits from Paul and Sarah, the mission committee has organised mini events to encourage people to engage with mission. On one occasion they held a Prayer and a Pint for Mission event at the church centre’s coffee shop. They have also organised a Christmas tree festival, with a tree featuring the work of CMS. And one year the children from a local school made Christmas decorations, which they exchanged with decorations made by children from a school in Lima.
Jenny Blamire, St Peter & St Mary Fishbourne, Chichester
Jenny Blamire first got involved in supporting global mission while worshipping at a large church linked with partners around the world. Jenny and her husband then moved to St Peter & St Mary Fishbourne, a much smaller church with no global mission links. After asking around she found that there would be interest in supporting mission in Uganda.
Jenny felt CMS would be a good match and was delighted when the PCC were enthusiastic about linking with CMS mission partner Jenny Green, who was then working at Potter’s Village, Uganda.
The congregation took the link to heart, and when Jenny Green moved back to the UK in 2014 to continue working with CMS in Bradford, they were glad to continue their support. The urban context of Bradford was as much of a crosscultural window for Fishbourne, a leafy rural village, as Uganda had been.
When Jenny Green retired in 2020, Jenny (Blamire) approached the PCC about supporting new CMS mission partners. They agreed to begin a link with Daniel and Sarah Brito Medeiros, working at the ReVive project in Brazil, which Jenny had read about in CMS publications – beginning a new chapter of mission. And how has the link impacted the church? Jenny reflects, “When we were raising funds to build a new church hall, it seemed an impossibly large amount. But Jenny Green came to visit and told us about how they had raised all the funds needed to build Potter’s Village medical centre. I thought, ‘if God can do it in Uganda, he can do it here,’ and he did! Within two or three years we had the money we needed.”
Diana Stammers Bradwell Church, Milton Keynes
Until recently, Bradwell Church has been linked with CMS mission partners K and T, who have just returned to the UK from many years of service in South East Asia. Bradwell are committed to both local and global mission, with a particular heart for Christians facing persecution. They always want to make sure their priorities are well balanced between providing practical support for people in need and seeing that God’s Word is spread through mission.
Diana says that in these mission partners, her church felt that they were supporting people who, through action and teaching, were bringing the gospel into the community where they were.
And for the Bradwell congregation, “sending” their mission partners was a way of expressing their faith and help, as part of a much bigger chain of support. It was a way for the congregation to be a part of very important ministry. In turn, through link letters, emails and visits, they were inspired and encouraged to know how God is working in another part of his world.
So, what does it take to keep local and global mission on the agenda in your church? A heart for mission and a proactive approach. Our advocates share a clear conviction that God is at work here and everywhere, and they encourage their congregations to participate in that work – in prayer, practical action or financial support – right where they are.