Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

On Becoming a Missionary

What do would-be Christian missionaries want to know? What would you say if they came to you asking what training they need? What to do about raising support? Maybe they are looking for advice about a college major, mission agency, or potential spouse! Maybe they don’t even know what to ask, but only have a vague picture of what God may be asking of them.

AskaMissionary.com is set up to field questions from prospective missionaries. Designed and created by Dr. John McVay of Tulsa, Oklahoma, it offers helpful answers from experienced overseas workers and mission professionals. AskaMissionary.com provides a safe place for users to discover what it might take to get overseas and what they might find when they get there. It helps them discover what they need to think through and learn from those who have gone before them. It comes alongside those who are somewhere in the process between feeling God’s tug into missions and actually buying their tickets to go.

In 2009 M-DAT took over management of the site. We gave it a new foundation and easy-to-use content management system. Additional changes have been made to make the site more attractive, usable, and mobile-friendly. Readers post new questions and answers. Many find their concerns addressed in content already published on the site, though others write in for advice about their specific situation and are connected with resources, ministries, and missionaries who can help. The best of that correspondence makes its way onto the site as well.

But how many people actually use AskaMissionary.com? Three years ago, the site was getting 2000 unique visitors each month. Since then the numbers have doubled to 4000. Think about it: If you put on a mission conference and 4000 people came, you would probably consider it quite a success! That’s happening every month at AskaMissionary.com.

Visiting a website may not achieve all that a face-to-face event can, but it has its own strengths. Like M-DAT’s other sites, it is designed so users can go right to what interests them and not be overwhelmed by input. They can choose to be anonymous or engage directly. The site is available when they have more questions later on and whatever time of day fits their busy schedule. It serves as a reference and tool for campus ministries, church mission leaders, teachers, missionaries, and mobilizers who direct others to the site as well as sometimes contributing content from their own experience.

Thanks for being supportive of M-DAT’s work making all this possible. We are thrilled at the chance to be part of God’s plan for getting people involved in what he is doing around the world.

If you’re interested, here are three things you can do:

You might also be interested in browsing through the newly revised resource section.

Leadership Changes

M-DAT’s board of directors met for annual meetings in March. Praise the Lord for many profitable discussions for our executive director and the board – at their first meeting without the founder, who is now heading overseas! The addition of new board members and the loss of an eight-year-veteran board president also change the dynamics. Yet the board’s vision and desire to help people get involved in what God is doing around the world continues. We are encouraged.

M-DAT’s new board president is Michael Kaspar. Michael is the senior director of global connections for Operation Mobilization. We also welcome a new board member, Malachi Wurpts, technology director for the Center for Missions Mobilization. Malachi brings in some much-needed expertise in web-service management as our founder leaves.

Special thanks are due to our outgoing president, Greg Fletcher of Pioneers. We are grateful for his many years of service in guiding the M-DAT board.

Gratitude and Prayer

Gratitude

  • Join us in thanking God for the continued growth and development of AskaMissionary.com. We’re grateful that this service helps many discover their next steps.
  • Thank God with us for successful board meetings and leadership transitions.

Prayer

  • Pray for Matias, the programmer in Argentina who continues to revamp the whole “back end” of ShortTermMissions.com. After serving us well for 12 years, this part of the site needs a full upgrade.
  • Pray for us as we work with a new service to help us distinguish between spiders, bots, and real people on ShortTermMissions.com. Each month we tell the 100+ organizations listing trips on the site how many people looked at their trips, but the robots and spiders are getting really good at masquerading as people.

Reaffirming our Commitment to Mission Trips that Share the Gospel

by David Armstrong

Some of the requests we get from organizations who want to post their opportunities on ShortTermMissions.com can be challenging! Do we exist to help people meet physical needs, or to share the gospel? The answer is that we are committed to both. We are here to help mission and outreach ministries which not only live out the gospel but also verbalize it.

bible on iPadWe declined a request to post opportunities with an inner-city ministry established by Christians but whose website makes no mention of Jesus, God, or sharing the gospel. More difficult was a request from a service nonprofit which is unabashedly Christian on their website and in their service to communities around the world, even Muslim communities. But they send secular service groups as well as church groups. How does a secular group share the gospel?

Helping the poor and needy is very important to us and an outworking of God’s mercy living in us. We are called to that in Ephesians 2:10. But we also firmly believe that man’s deeper need and Jesus’ sacrifice needs to be shared in our words as well as in our actions. M-DAT exists to connect believers with opportunities to share the gospel in both word and deed. To bring people physical hope with our actions without offering to connect them to the source of all hope is to fall short.

These requests to list service opportunities by groups who aren’t committed to sharing the gospel in word as well cause us to reaffirm our commitment and reason for existence. We are a ministry, not an online ad business. We are a mission, committed to a message walking hand-in-hand with our service. Our purpose is to help Christ-centered mission organizations get the word out about their opportunities to both serve and share the gospel in the USA and around the world. Mission trips we post should, directly or indirectly, have an evangelistic or disciple-making component.

We applaud educational groups that provide youth with valuable experience serving others cross-culturally. We appreciate relief and aid groups that help relieve suffering and care for the refugees and neglected. And we honor justice organizations that fight the very real evils of human trafficking and abuse. May these groups and their good works increase! And may the Lord, the healer, the provider and the source of peace, be introduced and glorified in all these efforts.

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