Preparing churches for embarking on missions efforts has risen to a new level among Kentucky Baptists. A new comprehensive manual, accompanied by six workshops across the state, will help churches to prepare for all aspects of missions involvement.
Doug Williams, missions strategist for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said a 120-page iGo manual has been produced that will provide a comprehensive guide to preparing for mission trips close to home or around the globe.
The material begins with a Biblical basis of missions and extends to the practical side — including what items to pack for a trip, how to select people for the trip, finances, timelines and security concerns. "We want to provide the tools to prepare teams," said Williams. "The workshops will allow us to get the manual into the hands of KBC churches to help them develop their strategy."
"The manual will provide an idea on how to calculate costs involved in a trip. Of course the specifics will vary according to the location, but the manual tells you what to consider in estimating the cost. It also gives a planning time frame — what to do 12 months out, then 10 months out and so on."
The workshops on Feb. 24, 25 and 27 will introduce and elaborate on sections within the manual. Those workshops are in Bowling Green and Hardin on Feb. 24, Louisville and Somerset on Feb. 25 and Lexington and Prestonsburg on Feb. 27.
"We'll also be giving the workshop participants other resources, telling them how to use the various resources and we'll talk about 'best practices.' We'll let people share 'best practices' they have learned — what has been successful for them. We want to offer opportunities for people to share their experiences because there are things we can all learn from one another," Williams noted.
The workshops will emphasize that missions mobilization is a process to bring people together to act. "We do not simply want to talk about missions — we want to bring people together and make them ready to do missions, to deliver the good news of Jesus to those who are unreached. However, missions is not done just any way we choose."
The manual also delves into the importance of giving to missions, praying for mission efforts and missionaries and the importance of the pastor as a catalyst for missions. Training leaders, short-term planning and cultural awareness are also addressed.
Missions strategist John Barnett points out that KBC's purpose is to help equip churches to "pray, give, go and send. If we are going to have kingdom impact and take the steps we really want to take to see Kentucky and the world to know Christ, we have to know one another, trust one another … to build community and relationships and bring churches together.
"We want to come alongside churches and show them how we can serve them and help them see and understand missions as an identity and not just an activity of the church." He added that the workshop will help attendees discover how to use their gifts to serve the local church and make a kingdom impact.
"We can show them options on how to get involved, how we can learn from one another, how churches can learn from one another."
Barnett noted that the Great Commission "is not an option for us, it is a command. We want to offer help with practical steps — how do you get connected to our missionaries on the field, how do you look at what's going on across Kentucky, with NAMB across North America and the IMB overseas. But also look locally at mission partnerships with local missionaries and how to be involved in church planting."