Give, Give, Give. Take the entire month prior to the mission conference and collect a special offering for the missionaries. Give a goal amount for each missionary/missionary couple to be given on the day of the conference.
Practical Gifts. I’ve heard stories of missionary conferences where their gifts are not useful, or even insulting. Why not give them gifts they can truly use? Give them gas cards, gift cards to restaurants, and grocery gift cards. These are things they need, not a Precious Moments calendar or a basket full of used Veggie Tales VHS tapes.
Short & Sweet. While I can see the benefit of a week-long conference, it lends itself to exhausting your people and the missionaries. The argument could be made to have that week as an opportunity to get to know the missionaries. Well, this can still be done in a shorter time span. For example, have a dinner for the missionaries on Saturday night and invite all the board members and their wives. Then, after the conference on Sunday morning, host a potluck dinner for your entire church family. This will provide ample time to get to know the missionaries. Saturday night to Sunday afternoon is a reasonable time frame for a conference, and people leave refreshed and refueled, rather than ragged and run-down.
Children’s Conference. Host a children’s mission conference during the adult conference for the younger grades (invite older grades to join adults). This could be hosted by skilled children ministry volunteers, or by missionaries skilled in teaching children.
Team Effort. Form a mission conference team that divides and conquers. The organization of meals, gifts, and missionary correspondence takes more than just one person. Form a team that is passionate about missions, and divide up the tasks based on their skill set. Typically, it is not hard to find people who love missionaries in your church.