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Blast from the Past: the missionary meeting

Here’s some sage advice from our friend Amos:

If your meeting puts people to sleep, it matters not how good it is – or, rather, it is not good at all. There is not in all the world a subject more interesting than missions, and uninteresting missionary meetings are the most inexcusable kind of uninteresting meetings.

He goes on:

Many missionary meetings are spoiled by the dull reading of selections from periodicals [we might say ‘prayer letters’!] This is the cheapest, easiest and least effective method of carrying on a missionary meeting. Better present a single fact, looking your audience in the eye and using your own natural words.

Missionary meetings should not only create missionary students, he says, but mission-lovers. I love how it’s not just the missionaries who love or are doing missions: in this vision, it’s something we all are passionate about! In fact, he’s so keen that everyone pays attention that he suggests you have an examination at the end of every missionary meeting to make sure everyone was listening!

The real highlight of this chapter comes when Amos starts listing the types of missionary meetings that you can have. I have listed just a few (!) of the ones he suggests but don’t feel limited to these. Amos says, ‘the plans given in this chapter … are not to take the place of your own invention’!

  • a catechism meeting, asking such excellent question as, How many Christians are in the world and how many non-Christians?; How much would an average yearly gift of one dollar from each Protestant in the world increase the funds of foreign-mission boards?; What is the most discouraging mission field?; What are some of the words of Christ that command missionary enterprises?
  • a language meeting
  • a meeting about missionary women which includes profiling women in mission as well as ‘women that are now doing noble work for your own missionary boards’
  • a ‘modern miracles meeting’
  • a meeting about medical missions
  • a foreign objects meeting
  • a missionary debate (topics include ‘Is it advisable to send out unmarried missionaries’ and ‘Should our missionaries engage to any considerable extent in the work of secular education?’)
  • a map meeting (there it is again!)
  • an impersonation meeting (you can come as either the missionary or as a character from a distant land e.g. a ‘Mohommedan priest’)
  • a diagram meeting
  • a missionary tour (like a simulation of the country)
  • an early morning meeting or a picnic (because the novelty might get more people along)
  • a meeting focusing on missionary martyrs
  • a meeting focusing on Bible translation
  • a newspaper evening where current events are used to arouse interest in a particular part of the world
  • a Bible verse meeting
  • a statistic meeting
  • a bird’s eye view of missionary history (‘easy to prepare and very instructive’)
  • a native heroism meeting, hearing the exploits of converts from various countries

Categories: Uncategorized Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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