The Project: Interactive Missions Wall
It can be tricky for a church to find relevant ways to connect members to the missionaries the congregation supports. Gashland Evangelical Presbyterian, a church of 325 in Kansas City, Missouri, found a way to make the connection process more interactive. The church got rid of a sparsely decorated, rarely updated board and created an interactive lobby focal point.
“We wanted members in our congregation to be able to put a face with a name and be able to contact them and encourage them in their work,” explains Ministry Communications Administrator Marilyn Jennings. “Ultimately, we wanted this to be a place where all of God’s work through our missionaries, local missions partners and our own internal missions efforts could be highlighted.”
A wall display features a map with printed cards about each missionary. There’s an interactive program on an iPad that allows people to learn more, watch videos from a selected missionary and directly send them a note of encouragement. Additionally, there are spaces to feature individual missionary initiatives and a cabinet to collect any goods they might need to do their work. The mix of paper cards and technology was an intentional decision to make sure members of all generations could connect.
But building this interactive space wasn’t the only change in sharing missionaries’ stories. Gashland added smaller, satellite mission boards by the entrances to worship spaces. On the first Sunday of every month, during the service they show a video where a missionary is speaking directly to the congregation. Plus, the church shares specific mission based prayer requests each week.
The new mission lobby display seems to be working.
Marilyn says, “We have seen an increase in awareness and in giving for our collections recently and it is due to the increased visibility of our missions collections, local partners and missionaries. We have a church community that values the individuals and has a heart to connect with those we encounter on a deeper level.”
What We Liked
Oftentimes missions work can seem like a far off, side project that a church does. Gashland was not only intentional about consistently communicating how mission dollars were at work, they also gave clearer paths for how congregants could support their missionaries. The missions lobby display is well designed, simple to understand and embraces technology to ultimately build community between the church and its missionaries.
Gashland has a couple ideas of what they want to do next. First, they want to improve signage all around the building to help people navigate the church better. They also want to improve their “Engage” welcome centers by providing extra training for volunteers to better serve guests.