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What does it take to generate excitement instead of yawns?

A member of the missions committee came to me two years ago with this question: "Why do we get such great attendance at our Christmas pageants but such dismal attendance at missions events?" I gave a few trite answers in immediate response, but his question got me thinking.

Was it because our presentations were shabby? Perhaps, but we had worked hard to see that they were well planned and well delivered.

Was it because our speakers were boring? Maybe, but we had hosted some of the top missions speakers in the country, and the turnout was still poor.

I finally realized that the focus of the two presentations was different. The Christmas pageant was a festive celebration of the gospel, culturally acceptable. The essence of cross-cultural missions is also the gospel, but in the form of cross-bearing unselfishness. Christmas pageants could satisfy those who came to receive; missions meetings were for those ready to give.

That evaluation forced me to realize that the task of building a "vision ...

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