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

Archive for the ‘Mission resources’ Category

Seeking Excellence in Short-Term Missions

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Since the beginnings of the short-term mission movement, ministry leaders have been meeting to share notes and think through issues and problems with a goal of doing what they do better. We all want those going out on mission trips to truly benefit spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually from their time overseas, and for those they serve and work with on the field to benefit in the same ways.

Over the years several networks have helped promote these purposes. The Fellowship of Short-Term Mission Leaders began in the early 1980’s; I attended their first conference in 1984. That group eventually gave birth to Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission.

For more than 30 years, the all-volunteer SOE leadership team brought lots of energy and passion, as perhaps only volunteers can. As the network matured, however, it reached a size that required more time and consistency that a group of leaders also busy with their own ministries could provide.

Last summer we announced a formal partnership between several ministries supporting the short-term missions movement, and now, as a member of the SOE Board for the last ten years, I’m happy to announce a recently completed merger between Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Missions and a larger, more developed entity, Delta Ministries, which carries a similar vision with complementary programs and staffing.

Last month the two ministries’ Boards of Directors met together to finish the formal part of the merger. The two days we spent together in Portland were very beneficial. I knew some of their Board members previously but appreciated the chance to share ideas and get a feel for each other’s work styles. I was so encouraged!

We who have carried the SOE banner for so long are delighted to see it given a more solid and broader platform. Together, we continue to push for excellence in short-term missions programs.

» Learn more about Delta Ministries and Standards of Excellence or check out some of their great resources:

Short-Term Missions webinars

Standards Introductory Workshops

Short-Term Missions 101 online course

The Next Mile training resources

 

Restocking Your Mission Resource Toolbox

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Our last issue of Propel included an article about mobilizing through mentoring. We made the case that our most powerful strategies for raising up a global mission force are relational: We influence people we know and who know us.

Who might God use us to stir up or encourage toward His global purposes from within our churches, organizations, schools, communities, and families? Have you asked Him lately? You could pray that God will show you, and bring you together with those He is preparing to take a greater role in His global purposes.

It turns out that effective mission mobilization depends more on relationships than it does on conferences, classes, books, sermons, or most anything else (on its own).

As you consider ways to prepare yourself to serve as a resource to these people in the pipeline, though, don’t overlook conferences, classes, books, and other tools that can help you stay in the know about world missions trends and opportunities.

Here are a few places to look:

  • Brigada Today: This weekly web/email journal covers mission resources, trends, and tips for Great Commission Christians; a great place to find new tools for your own growth or to introduce to others.
  • Postings: A free monthly newsletter of practical articles on church missions mobilization from Catalyst Services. Access the gallery of archives on their site and find other resources for you and your church.
  • Missions Catalyst: This free, weekly electronic missions digest is designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry through missions news, practical ministry ideas, and events, and other helpful resources. (The Missions Catalyst publisher, Marti Wade, also publishes our newsletters.)
  • Evangelical Missions Quarterly: Each quarterly issue contains 10-12 articles by mission and church leaders and experienced cross-cultural workers around the world; a worthwhile investment. EMQ will soon be published exclusively online and an online subscription also provides access to years of archives.
  • The Traveling Team: Primarily serving college students, the Traveling Team ministry can be thought of as a mission conference on wheels. You can bring them to your church or college campus. Learn from, share, or point others to articles in their Missions Resource Library about the state of the world, biblical and historical foundations for missions, obstacles to service, and more.

Finally, don’t forget to point friends to M-DAT services, including AskAMissionary.com, ShortTermMissions.com, and PreparingtoGo.com!

2015 in Review: A Year of Growth

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

 

As we start 2016 and look back on 2015, we realize we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those whose support and encouragement has enabled us to serve those God is raising up for mission service.

Will you take a minute and reflect with us on what God has done? Despite a number of changes and challenges, we saw growth in several key areas.

Mission Trip Search Engine

ShortTermMissions.com saw a 10% increase in traffic in 2015 and received just short of 300,000 visits. Each year about 90% of the partnering organizations decide to continue. In 2015, more than 100 organizations posted information about more than 2,000 trips and received more than 20,000 inquiries. The site also has a very low rate of bounces (those who find the site but leave within the first 10 seconds).

The quarterly ShortTermMissions.com newsletter, launched in 2013, now has more than 13,000 subscribers. Remarkable! Along with a growing social media presence, it continues to connect with those who use the service and invite them back to the site.

Missionary Q&A

In the last year and a half, AskAMissionary.com has seen a significant increase in traffic, with a 56% increase during 2015 alone. Traffic grew steadily throughout the year for a total of more than 130,000 visits. Page views were also up 38%, to reach 248,000.

Unfortunately, the bounce rate for the site was high; many come to the site but do not stay to view additional pages. The length of time people spend on the site and the number of pages they view has decreased slowly over the last three years, despite measures taken to make the site engaging.

Less surprising is a slight decrease in visits to PreparingToGo.com, a web service with a similar purpose. It’s designed to provide video excerpts of missionaries showing their journey to the field. Traffic to the site, which is maintained but not being further developed, was down 7%. Yet it still reached more than 11,000 visits and 24,000 page views in 2015.

We’re grateful for the ways the Lord has used these resources.

 

Resources for a Changing World

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

In today’s unpredictable world, many ministries, mission agencies, and other organizations are considering how well prepared they are to respond to crisis situations, including legal attacks.

» Learn about changes in US policy for responding to hostage situations (Crisis Consulting International).

» Check out this video-based security training course for short-term mission teams (Fort Sherman Academy).

» Read about protecting your ministry from sexual orientation and gender identity lawsuits (Alliance Defending Freedom).

Finding Mission Opportunities

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

ShortTermMissions.com helps people quickly connect with short-term mission trips that fit their gifts, calling, and availability, listing hundreds of mission trip provided by many agencies. But you might be interested in some of the other services designed to help people find mission trips and service opportunities. If you coordinate trips you might want to partner with these ministries too. If you are looking for an opportunity, try your search with one or more of them.

  • Mission Finder lists hundreds of short term, medical, domestic, and international mission trips, categorized by location and type of ministry. Lots of links, short descriptions.
  • Missions-trip.com is similar to ShortTermMissions.com and MissionFinder.org. It has long-term Christian mission opportunities as well as short-term ones.
  • Finishers Project is designed for adults of middle age and older (Baby Boomers). MissionExplore, organized around causes, is for younger adults. Another service from the same ministry is Mission:TEACH, which helps place teachers in international Christian schools.
  • BAMmatch connects business people with opportunities around the world where their skills are needed.
  • Christian Connections for International Health and MedicalMissions.com are designed for medical personnel and those interested in medical work.
  • ChristianJobs.com is not specifically focused on missions opportunities, but lists options for employment at ministry organizations, nonprofits, and Christian businesses.

If you want an opportunity offered by a mission organization in another country, try Mission Platform (Australia) and OSCAR (UK and Europe).

Don’t forget that some mission agencies list specific opportunities right on their websites. Others would be happy to tell you about specific ways to serve with them if you contact them by phone or email. Ask mission agencies about short-term and long-term opportunities. Don’t overlook what are sometimes called “mid-term” opportunities, those which last for from several months up to a year or two. Sometimes these are not advertised, but they may provide the best way to get to know an agency while being further equipped for a lifetime of ministry.

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