Many of us grew up in churches with a missionary bulletin board with prayer cards posted to the cork boards with thumb tacks, partially faded from the sun coming in through the glass door and shining on them for the past decade. The missionaries were probably pretty disconnected from the church and assigned by the denomination to that church. All to say, many missions displays in history have done little to draw the average member to think about global missions.
With the surge in graphic arts capabilities we have a great opportunity as missions leaders to regularly capture the eyes of our people for global missions. For those who have the ability to meet in a building of their own, having permanent wall displays can be a great way to passively share the vision for global missions in your church.
A global missions wall done well can draw the attention of your members and visitors. Instead of causing global missions to feel weird, far away, and unimportant, a global missions display validates your efforts in global missions and provides clarity to your members about what you are doing around the world.
Here are a few things that we would recommend as you consider making a global missions wall:
Decide the content that you want to display. Consider:
Description of Vision and Strategy
Places that you are focusing on
Ways to get involved
Work with your communications leader or someone with a creative touch to design the wall.
Connect with Sent-Ones prior to putting any of their information on a wall. Check with them to make sure that what you’re doing is secure.
Keep it simple and clear. Run your content by a few people. If you’re going to post it on a wall, it should be very clear, simple, and agreed upon by your leadership team.
Here are some examples of church signage and some things we appreciate about each of them.
Cornerstone Church, Ames, IA
Cornerstone’s display includes prayer cards that are made from a similar template. The TV runs a slideshow of Sent-Ones. The map displays the vision of their church by showing where they are and where they want to be. Their vision statement is all the text that is on the wall.
Engedi Church, Holland, Michigan
Engedi is an extremely creative church. Instead of just having a missions wall, they have a missions foyer. Support poles represent the nations they are focusing on. The walls shout vision to the people walking by.
FBC Concord, Tennessee
FBC Concord includes clear opportunities to be involved in global missions and displays their partners to their people.
Johnson Ferry, Marietta, Georgia
Johnson Ferry gives great focus and attention to their partners. Any Sent-One from Johnson Ferry feels loved by the attention given to displaying their ministry. Consideration must be given to security. Not every Sent-One is displayed as openly.
Journey Church, Lebanon, TN
At Journey Church the Missions wall is clearly intertwined with their sending pipeline. On the left they display their ways to be involved and show how it all leads to missions. They also do a great job displaying their upcoming trips.
Sojourn, Louisville, KY
Sojourn does an especially great job with their prayer cards. Every Sent-One has a prayer card. One of the unique things they have done to mitigate security issues is to generate art for each region of the world and display that as the picture on the prayer card instead of the face of the Sent-One.
The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, NC and Canyon Hills, Seattle, WA
Both of these churches have designed their entire kids wing to look like an airport or to represent areas of the world they are focusing on. While a little labor intensive, they are giving kids a vision for the nations at an early age.
UBC, Fayetteville, AK
This is a pretty accessible idea for a global wall if some of the others have seemed intense to you. One of the particularly great things about this wall is that all the pictures are quality photos. A global map doesn’t have to be over the top, but it should be clear.
In my office I have maps of all the cities that we are focused on. It is a great reminder everyday where we’re focused on in the world. The link here is to an Etsy shop that makes cool city map displays.
For those churches who are mobile, consider designating a TV with a slideshow of your vision, your people, b-roll of places you go in the world, etc. You can also create a small map display using magnets or push pins to show where your church is working in the world. Or, each week simply set out prayer cards and other information about your church’s global missions strategy. These are easy ways for mobile churches to display their global vision.
We hope these examples get the creative juices flowing for you as a missions leader. A global missions wall isn’t everything, but it is an important piece of cultivating missions awareness in your church.
Mike Ironside is Missions Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. He has served on staff with Cornerstone since 2006 in varying roles from college ministry to pastoral staff to being an overseas missionary sent from Cornerstone for 2 years. Mike is the Director of Cohorts for the Upstream Collective. He also serves as chairman of the board for Campus to Campus, a missions organization dedicated to getting US college students connected to church planting movements amongst college students worldwide.