Across North America, Wesleyan churches are reaching people around the world by teaming up with Global Partners. All of the churches described here ranked in the top five churches in giving to Global Partners in dollars or in per capita giving. Whether large or small, each one has a clear vision of reaching people for Christ globally.
TOP 5 CHURCHES TOTAL GIVING
- Skyline Wesleyan Church (La Mesa, CA)
- Heritage Wesleyan Church (Rock Island, IL)
- All Shores Wesleyan Church (Spring Lake, MI)
- Moncton Wesleyan Church (Moncton, NB)
- Central Wesleyan Church (Holland, MI)
TOP 5 CHURCHES TOTAL GIVING PER CAPITA
- Parkway Wesleyan Church (Staunton, VA)
- Wesleyan Community Church (Bird City, KS)
- Warren Wesleyan Church (Warren, PA)
- Faith Wesleyan Church (Terra Haute, IN)
- Campo Wesleyan Church (Campo, CO)
A CHURCH WITH "MISSIONS-HOT" TEMPERATURE
Moncton Wesleyan Church
New Brunswick, Canada
Tim Guptill, senior pastor of Moncton Wesleyan Church in New Brunswick, Canada, says, “Under the leadership of former pastor Dr. Laurel Buckingham, who served the church for 44 years, the church has been ‘steeped in the culture’ of missions awareness and activity.”
Consequently, “Every Sunday is mission Sunday,” Pastor Guptill added. “There is a ‘mission-hot temperature’ present all the time. Our leaders are very intentional about making sure we don’t veer away from that.” Moncton Wesleyan, a congregation of 1,500, is a sending church and a giving church. “We have released many high-capacity people to serve as they feel led.” Each year scores of people from Moncton Wesleyan go on short-term mission trips. From the pulpit, people will hear that “everyone should go at least once, and if you can’t go, send somebody else."
The church has special, ongoing relationships in several locations overseas. For example, in Haiti, Moncton people found a struggling village that was receiving virtually no help. They began a feeding program where children can get a good meal as well as have their health needs met. Every Sunday, at the campus in Moncton, the church offers a pizza lunch after the morning worship. The proceeds from the lunch go to the food program in Haiti.
“Missions involvement provides long-term benefits for the church,” said Pastor Guptill. The congregation gave more than $118,000 through Global Partners last year. Missions giving causes an increase in local giving. It helps raise up key leaders, and it results in growth in the youth ministry. “It adds value to our church. Without our missions emphasis, Moncton Wesleyan would be a weaker, more self-centered church.”
He advises other congregations, “Don’t make missions an after-thought. Don’t wait to see what is left over in the budget. Put missions on top of the list and see what God does.”
REAPING A GENEROUS HARVEST
Wesleyan Community Church
Meanwhile, in northwest Kansas, a much smaller church is having an effective outreach. Wesleyan Community Church in Bird City is a farming community, but it has been planting seeds of a different kind and the investment has resulted in huge dividends. The church, which ranked second in per capita giving to Global Partners, invested in two JESUS film teams in Zambia recently. Those teams showed the film to 60,000 people over the course of a year, resulting in thousands of conversions.
A text message from a pastor in Africa requested prayer... Pastor Carson sent the request to his congregation and was later able to report that God had answered prayer with 175 conversions.
“We can’t reach thousands in Bird City,” said Rev. Dan Carson, who has served as pastor for the past ten years. “The population is about 450 in this town, and it’s less than 3,000 in the entire county.” With an average attendance of about 100, but with a growing emphasis on missions, this church in a remote county is having a global impact.
Pastor Carson says people have taken mission trips to places like Zambia and Haiti, and that has encouraged the church’s ever-increasing involvement in outreach to the world far from Kansas. When a team of eight went to Zambia to assist with the JESUS film training, members of the team–mostly farm-connected–talked to local Zambians about agriculture and how to better maintain their machinery. It was a natural connection.
Ten years ago, the church gave less than $1,000 to missions. Last year, their investment in the JESUS film alone was $50,000, in addition to support of missionaries in Macedonia and Asia. Technology enables them to keep in touch. A text message from a pastor in Africa requested prayer for a recent weekend of evangelism. Pastor Carson was later able to report that God had answered prayer with 175 conversions.
A CHURCH WITH A MISSIONS DNA
Nestled in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is Parkway Wesleyan Church in Staunton, Virginia. The region is saturated with early American history. But the history of Parkway includes a strong emphasis on missions. “It is in the DNA of this church,” said Dr. Barry Lawson, who is in his eleventh year as senior pastor.
Last year Parkway was the number one per-capita giving church to Global Partners in North America. Averaging 82 in worship attendance, they gave more than $51,000 to Global Partners missions and missionaries.
About one-third of their people have been on a missions trip to Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Russia, and Zambia.
At last fall’s annual missions conference, the congregation exceeded their faith-promise goal by more than $15,000. In addition, about one-third of their people have been on a missions trip. Among countries visited are Guatemala, El Salvador, Haiti, Russia, and Zambia. The church has adopted a sister church, the Jiquilisco Wesleyan Church in El Salvador. Parkway congregants who know a little Spanish also keep in touch through emails and Facebook. Prayer partners in Jiquilisco pray for Parkway and vice-versa.
Once a month, Parkway features a missions moment in the worship service. When missionaries they support are home for partnership development, Parkway hosts them for a service. Occasionally, they have Skyped with a missionary during the worship service.
Supporting local outreach ministries, such as the food bank, responding to Wesleyan Emergency Relief Fund appeals, and investing in World Hope International’s micro-enterprise emphasis are other ways the church extends the love of Christ outside its walls.
A "SEASONED" APPROACH TO MISSIONS
All Shores Wesleyan Church
All Shores Wesleyan Church in Spring Lake, Michigan, is an example of a church that has a “seasoned” approach to missions. Nearly 25 years ago, when doors began to open in countries once closed by the Iron Curtain, Ron Dawson (with wife, Barbara), left his CEO job and went to Russia, while another family went to Slovakia. Ron Dawson died in Russia, giving his life for the spread of the gospel there. Dave Horne, who spent more than a decade as the outreach pastor at All Shores, and his wife Dina, now live in Vienna, where he is Europe area director and she is the Austria field director for Global Partners.
Speaking recently about All Shores, Dave Horne called it a church that has a “great vision for both local and global ministry and is extremely loyal to Global Partners.” He continued, “I am very thankful for a church that is still committed to supporting missionaries and yet is also very progressive and creative.”
All Shores has a vision to help missionaries who serve in challenging locales, like the Turkic-Arabic, European, and Asian areas.
All Shores has a vision to help missionaries who serve in challenging locales, like the Turkic-Arabic, European, and Asian areas. They mobilize teams to support the missionaries. For instance, a team went to Europe to serve during an area conference for missionaries by ministering to children and youth so all the adults could focus on the conference. Local “growth groups” adopt missionaries. All Shores promotes generosity. Last year they gave nearly $119,000 to Global Partners; it is one of the top three giving churches. They also help support the national church in Mongolia, the [Wesleyan] Church of Eternal Light. They partner with a village in Ethiopia, where, together with the local church, they are doing Christian community development for evangelism and self-sustaining development.
All Shores, a congregation of 1,100, has a residency program for ministers-in-training. This year, one of those is a young couple doing a missionary residency. In collaboration with Global Partners, All Shores is working with them for two years, giving them opportunities in local and global outreach. The church already has in mind a missionary resident to begin this summer, when the first young couple completes its residency.
ANYONE CAN DO WHAT WE DO
Faith Wesleyan Church
“Anyone can do what we do,” says Philip Gormong, assistant pastor at Faith Wesleyan Church in Terre Haute, Indiana. While his statement is modest, the record shows that not many are doing it so well. Giving to Global Partners from this church that averaged 267 in worship last year topped $109,000, placing it in the top five churches in per capita giving.
Obviously, one thing Faith Wesleyan does well is to make missions a priority. “It is built into the culture of our church,” Pastor Philip said. “It is at the very heart of what we do; it is not just a side program.” Their commitment to missions giving comes at the climax of an annual missions conference, at which time people are encouraged to make their Faith Promise to God. “We encourage people to pray and to think beyond their means to all that God can do. Missions giving is more than a ‘money thing.’ It’s entrusting more of our lives to God and being faithful to who we are called to be.”
People gather in smaller groups in homes, where missionaries share what is happening in their lives and on the field. They learn that we love them.
Another thing that Faith Wesleyan does well is to build relationships with the missionaries they support. “Having missionaries at our conference is key,” Pastor Philip said. “This creates an environment for relationships to be built.” People get connected, like gathering in smaller groups in homes, where missionaries share what is happening in their lives and on the field. “The missionaries learn that we love them and welcome them as part of the Faith Wesleyan family.”
Faith’s leadership is strategic about supporting missionaries all across the world in various locations, working with different people groups. Because they support Luis and Dinora Martinez in Guatemala, for instance, the church has sponsored several short-term trips to that country. Faith Wesleyan workers have built homes there, conducted a VBS training, distributed shoes, and ministered to children.
“God has been faithful to us,” said Pastor Philip, who, along with his wife Kara and their children, spent a term as missionaries in Russia. “As a church we want to be faithful to God and to the Great Commission.”
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