When is the best time to promote and encourage students to get involved in serving in missions? I always say start early in August and never stop! However, we have also found that having a week-long or month-long missions emphasis in the Fall semester has proven to be effective in focusing on missions and challenging students to go and serve. We use the month of November to do this. It is a strategic time in the Fall semester when students seem ready to pray and think ahead to spring break and summer missions opportunities. It’s also a time when students are close to going home for the holidays and that can be a crucial time for having conversations with parents about serving in missions. It can also provide valuable connections with their home church, family, and friends for fundraising.
Here are some helpful “GOvember” ideas:
1. Missions Fair
Kick off your missions week or month with a missions fair. Before our weekly large group, we asked students who had served in missions the previous summer to host a table with information about where they served. They get creative! For example, students who had served with GenSend in NYC gave out cheesecake at their table and talked about their experiences in the city. We give each student who attends a “passport” to receive a stamp at each table. If you fill your passport, you get a chance to win a $100 mission trip scholarship.
2. Missions Coffee House
Plan a Coffee House night with live music, student missions testimonies, highlighting summer missions opportunities, and praying for the nations. You can also use it as a missions fundraising by adding elements such as a silent auction or selling different coffees and snacks from around the world.
3. Praying for Unreached People Groups
Use this time, not only to promote missions opportunities, but to really educate your students about unreached people groups around the world. As a BCM, provide times where you corporately come together to intercede for the nations and for the unreached. We incorporate a time into our weekly large group where a student leader shares how to pray for a specific unreached people group and then spend time in small groups praying. You can find a lot of resources at www.joshuaproject.net.
4. Missions Monday
It does not have to be Monday but set aside a day each week during GOvember to specifically focus even more on missions. We host a different topic each Monday during the month to help students learn about different aspects of preparing to serve such as fundraising, spiritual preparation, and even how to talk to your family about serving in missions.
5. Social Media
Utilize social media as much as you can to promote missions during this time. Some ideas can include posting video testimonies from students who have served on mission and highlighting summer missions opportunities from your state BCM missions program, IMB, and GenSend.
6. Summer Missions Application Parties
Provide times where students can collectively come together for the purpose of working on their summer missions applications. This encourages new students who may have questions about the application process and provides opportunities for you to connect and pray with your students as they make decisions about their summer.
7. Serve Day
Provide a day during your missions month to serve locally as a group. We had the opportunity last year to serve in a nearby city where our students connected with refugees and learned about unreached people groups living near our city.
There are so many benefits to students going and serving in missions. They go and serve in a different ministry context, learning so much about evangelism and discipleship, which they can then bring back to their campus. Students mobilized to serve in missions return home energized about how they can serve their own campus and better grasp the concept of their campus as their own mission field. It’s a “win-win” situation! Because of that, it is so important to have a strategy when it comes to promoting missions on your campus. Whether it’s GOvember or another strategy, I am praying for God to mobilize many students on our campuses this year!
Stacy Murphree serves as the Campus Minister at Austin Peay University’s BCM. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow the ministry on Instagram @austinpeaybcm.