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One of the neatest parts of having other missionaries into our home church is seeing their missionary display table. My kids love examining artifacts and coins from other countries. There’s always so much to look at.
When one of our classes at Candidate Seminar last July talked about display tables, my husband and I started brainstorming. We were so excited to get ours planned!
Planning Our Table
Since we will be serving in the United States, our display table won’t include some of the element we’ve always enjoyed looking at.
Coins? Pretty sure everyone we will be presenting to knows what the US quarter, dime, nickle, and penny look like.
Artifacts? Um…we are serving in Missouri, not a foreign country. While there may be some regional items special to that state, we couldn’t think of anything significant enough to put on display.
So, we had to start at square one. We spent lots of time talking and praying – trying to decide the purpose of our display table.
As a family, we came to the agreement that our table should be informational. You see, Missionary Acres is a unique ministry.
Our most common questions are:
- What is Missionary Acres?
- Why does some place like that need to exist?
Our goal with our missionary display table was to answer these two questions. But, instead of just answering with text, we wanted to use visual elements.
That way people have something to look at.
Also, we wanted to find a way to make our table family friendly. We understand that kids love looking at all things, and wanted to make our table appealing to this younger generation.
After reading Deputation: Been There, Done That, Loved It! by Stacey Shiflett, we learned some additional basic logistics for our table.
It needs to be quick to set up. This means no complicated pieces. Our goal is to have our display table ready in less than ten minutes.
Shiflett also recommended being self-sufficient. This means having everything we need for our display, from a folding table we can leave in the trailer if we don’t need to a tablecloth, or anything else we might need.
This book recommended having high-quality materials for this table. The reasoning behind this thought is that your table is often your first chance to make a first impression as people walk into churches. You want it to look professional.
We also got insight from the classes from Baptist Mid-Missions Candidate Seminar. One such piece of advice was to go with a “wrinkly” fabric for the tablecloth.
This way if it gets wadded up after a meeting and thrown in a bag, we won’t have to stop and iron before our next meeting.
With information from both sources, we started making decisions. And, as the Lord provided the funds, we started putting the pieces together.
We purchased an inexpensive folding table from Walmart. (And opted for a black one so it’s easier to not mix up with all the identical white ones we see at various churches…).
After looking at several different tablecloths, we opted for a navy blue crinkle taffeta one. The blue matches our branding, and the crinkle taffeta is wrinkly. But since it’s supposed to be, it still looks nice!
The Display Board
We contemplated not having a display board. But, since we don’t have artifacts to put on the table, we wanted something to fill up the space.
We knew we wanted it to match our branding (the style we designed with our prayer cards and this website). But, neither of us knew exactly what we wanted.
After more prayer, a Google search revealed Commission Creative. They’re a Christian graphic design company ran by MKs (Missionary Kids) specializing in designs for missionaries.
And they’re located in Missouri! 😀
We were impressed with the samples on their website, so decided to give them a try.
We ordered one of their display boards. As part of the ordering process, we sent them tons of photos and information. Seriously, we sent over 1 GB of stuff to them.
They looked over everything we sent, plus the notes we had provided. Then they got to work. Within just a couple of days, we had a design mock up waiting in our email.
The purchase includes three rounds of revisions, so we had a chance to request changes. It was a good chance for us to ask our Pastor and other people we know for their opinions and insight.
After we approved the final version, the board got sent to production. It arrived Monday, and it looks great. We’re looking forward to setting it up on our missionary display table at churches!
Our board’s main panel features a slightly different family picture than our prayer card. There’s also our tagline, contact information, and info about our sending church and mission board.
The side panels display some of the current residents at Missionary Acres. Other pictures include the on-site church set up for VBS (we visited during this time and were able to help for the first two days), one of the houses, and Bryan working on the church van.
On these panels, you can also find the mission statement of the Acres over on the left side, and a paragraph about what we’ll be doing there on the right.
The whole things folds up into a sturdy carrying case.
The Photo Book
The amazing residents are at the heart of Missionary Acres. These dear saints dedicated their lives to serving God.
We wanted to find a way to put emphasis on them, without having to take down and set up a bazillion pictures each time.
We also wanted a way to tell the story of Missionary Acres. The vision for this place came from a single man, who then donated the land to Baptist Mid-Missions.
Well, the concept of weaving together pictures and a story led us to think of a book.
So, we used Snapfish to created a photo book. This 20 page hardcover book shares the story of Missionary Acres, plus lots of pictures.
And it’s easy to set up. 😀
The Prayer Cards
Our prayer cards will also have a place on our missionary display table. We’ll set out a stack at each church we visit, so people can take them and pray for our family. (We really appreciate those prayers!)
The Sign Up Sheet
Another element on our table will be our email newsletter sign up sheet. People who want to receive monthly updates from us can sign up here.
(If you’re reading this post and want to sign up, there’s a subscription box up in the right-hand corner!)
The Children’s Connection
Our kids wanted us to make some sort of activity pages for the kids of the churches we visit.
We’re still working on the details there, but our current line of thinking involves having a couple of pages stapled together. We’ll have several packets on the table for the kids to take. These pages will include:
- A coloring page of the Missionary Acres sign
- A word search with words like missionaries, Tanner family, Missionary Acres, deputation, support, and more
- Copy of the United States map that children can color with a path drawn from Washington State to Missouri
Still thinking through this element, but we’re excited to have this family friendly element.
Looking Forward to Setting Up Our Missionary Display Table
We have a missions conference scheduled for February. Unless another opportunity comes up, that’ll be our first visit on deputation. We are looking forward to presenting our ministry there, and to the other churches we will visit.
The display table will help us point to the heroes of the faith at Missionary Acres. They are who we are looking forward to serving.
Want us to present in your church?
Send an email to Bryan at tanners2ma AT gmail.com