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

Archive for December, 2008

Interview with Brad Brestel

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Brad Brestel is Personal Stewardship Pastor at Lincoln Berean Church (LBC) in Lincoln, Nebraska. He heads up the church’s Generous Living Team. In this interview he talks a little bit about what he does as a stewardship pastor and then adds some insights on generosity and money for missions.

Propel: What are your responsibilities as Personal Stewardship Pastor?

Brad: The Generous Living Team is responsible to help build a culture of generosity in our local body. When we wake up in the morning, we are the group that is thinking about the church’s income. We teach classes in theology of stewardship, cash flow management, preparing wills and building a master financial plan. We are currently working more on how to serve the members of our local body who do not have cash flow issues yet need to hear and understand the theology of stewardship.

Propel: How do you teach people the importance of giving as an integral part of The Great Commission?

Brad: I’m uniquely positioned for this one. I serve both as the stewardship pastor and also on the missions team. Our missions team includes a “Resource Team” that I lead which is concerned mainly with the financial resources needed to fund our global outreach projects. Since stewardship and global missions are my main two passions at LBC I naturally include the Great Commission as part of the theology of stewardship taught in the “Intro to Generous Living Class” at LBC; that is our “Stewardship 101” class. I remind people of the two great commandments and the Great Commission in the first five minutes and build everything from those cornerstones.

Propel: In your opinion, should people tithe 10% to the church before giving to missions, or do you consider giving to individual missionaries or para-church organizations part of a tithe? Please elaborate on your thoughts. (more…)

Embracing your inner giver

Friday, December 12th, 2008

In missions we talk about goers and senders. Goers are people on the field planting churches, facilitating community development, training nationals or even working in administrative roles. Senders are people who pray, mobilize, work out logistics and give money so that the goers can stay gone and finish their work.

The purpose of this brief article is to encourage Christians to take ownership of the giving aspect of mission involvement. Giving money to missions may be less public, less glamorous, than actually going overseas, but it is no less important than physically being on the field.

Rarely are Christians discipled to be disciplined and intentional missional givers, whether that giving is directly to missionaries or through church mission committees. So, then, what can we do to train ourselves to take our role as givers seriously?

  • Begin by remembering that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21). With this in mind, think of how you can mold your heart to become more generous. Practice disciplines to align your heart with God’s.
  • Next, give regularly, whether that’s monthly, every other month or quarterly. Whether or not you believe the principal of a tithe carried over from the Old Testament to New Testament times, God still deserves our first-fruits.

(more…)

We need your help launching a resource center for aspiring missionaries!

Friday, December 12th, 2008

For the last eight years, God has allowed M-DAT’s website ShortTermMissions.com to help tens of thousands of believers plug into mission trips. While we celebrate the success of ShortTermMissions.com, we are acutely aware that mission trips are just one part of the overall effort to carry out Jesus’ command to make disciples throughout the entire world.

The process of becoming a missionary is often times both difficult and lengthy. Echoing the sentiment of many others on the path to mission service, one person shared with us, “A lot of times I feel like there are not enough resources out there and I don’t know what to do next!”

Work is underway on a resource that will make a difference. (more…)

Resource Highlight: Generous Giving conferences

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I’m highlighting Generous Giving again, following the theme of this issue. From my previous comments about the resource

    The website called Generous Giving is aptly self-described. It contains an incredible wealth of information from stories to statistics. One of my favorite anecdotes on the site is a story about two doctors living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The first time the IRS audited the couple it did so thinking that no one could give as much of their income away as the Finchers. Read their story via this link.

This time I’d also like to point out their upcoming conference in Arizona as well. Find more information about the Spring event via this link.

Prayer and Praise

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Praise: The response to our first annual Wii Golf Tournament exceeded our expectations, from both sponsors and participants. We’ve heard that people who didn’t attend this year are already planning to come in 2009. We’re trying to figure out how to get more gaming stations into the community building to accommodate the interest!

Prayer: Work on PreparingToGo.com, continues at a steady pace. The next steps in the process include purchasing a video editing computer, completing a logo and completing calls to gather information about 30 long-term sending agencies. Work on a more interactive version of the next steps assessment tool is ahead of schedule.

Prayer: M-DAT is in the final stages of solidifying an agreement with John McVay, creator of AskAMissionary.com, to add the website and its wealth of content for aspiring missionaries to M-DAT’s growing suite of mission resources. The agreement is for a one year trial period that could begin as early as December 31st. Pray for wisdom and God’s direction as we move ahead with this opportunity.

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