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

Archive for the ‘Choosing an agency’ Category

Interview with John McVay: Mentoring for Missions

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

by Paul Nielsen

M-DAT has been good friends with mission mobilizer John McVay for ten years now. His projects have included mission conferences and websites along with his service with In His Image, which trains medical professionals for Christian service. In this interview he talks specifically about mentoring the next generation of missionaries.

Propel: When and how did you become involved and interested in missions as a mobilizer?

John McVay: I read an illustration by Ralph Winter who said, “If you see a roaring fire you can grab your bucket, run to the stream, then run to the fire and pour water on it—and you can do that repeatedly. Or you could wake 100 sleeping firemen.” Missions mobilization is waking the 100 sleeping firemen. In my current season of life God is guiding me to wake the 100 sleeping firemen.

Propel: What is the importance of mentoring in the context of missions?

John McVay: Most aspiring missionaries struggle with feelings of inadequacy. They need mentors to encourage them to abide in Christ and trust in His strength. (more…)

Urbana 09 to Highlight Pressing Missions Issues

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Urbana 09, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s 22nd Student Missions Conference, will address some of the most pressing global issues presently faced by missions practitioners around the world. More than 20,000 people, from every state and many nations, are expected to attend Urbana 09, December 27–31, 2009, in St. Louis. Each day at Urbana 09 the program will focus on a different issue and the challenges it presents.

The four issues in focus are:

Urbana Student Mission ConferenceMovement of Peoples
Millions of people are being dramatically affected by immigration, migration, and human trafficking. In the midst of great human suffering, there are opportunities for people to come to know Christ, who was Himself a refugee and understands their sufferings. Urbana will provide an introduction to the different types of people movement around the world, both voluntary and involuntary, and will create the case for why it’s important for both missions practitioners and those who support them to understand this issue.


Davis Interview: Living intentionally

Friday, April 25th, 2008

by Paul Nielsen

This issue’s interview is with Chester and Amy Davis. I’ve known them both for more than ten years now. They presently live with their four young children in Lincoln, Nebraska while Chester works on a mechanical engineering degree.

They present some ideas here that are challenging and outside of the norm; I was hoping for this when I emailed them about doing an interview. In their own words, they are living intentionally. Their intention: To serve God in the area of missions that uses their gifts and fills a need. They are as dedicated as anyone I’ve personally known in living out this desire. While not everyone will agree with all of their observations or exhortations, the sacrifices they’ve made along the way are something every aspiring missionary needs to seriously consider.

This will be the first in a two-part series.

Propel: You’ve expressed concern about the amount of support required of missionaries by some mission organizations. Can you elaborate on this concern?

Chester: For some reason we, here in America, have bought into certain aspects of the “health and wealth” gospel, and it shows up in support raising. It’s simply un-Biblical to require that God provide exactly how we dictate in order for a person to be in full-time ministry. Secondly, it is outrageous to require that if God wants to use me in ministry that He must provide an income greater than that which be paid a worker in the most wealthy country in the universe.

Amy: It’s interesting to me that people in some vocations can make a lot more being a missionary than they could in the area of their training. For example, a degree in English or history or speech doesn’t generate high pay. But a missionary is paid not for his training or according to his skills, but what is considered a “reasonable living.” This seems (to me) to support a lifestyle roughly equivalent to $60-$70K USD annually. Also, a missionary’s wages increase with the number of dependants. What other field does this? 


Lights, camera . . .

Friday, April 25th, 2008

 M-DAT Executive Director

I always thought steady cams were cool. Now, I know they are! Last week Paul and I made one out of a mono pod, a 2.5 pound weight, and a weed trimmer handle. We rigged up the contraption in preparation for a trip I take at the end of April. I fly to Atlanta to do a test video shoot at Operation Mobilization. If all goes well, it will be the first organization headquarters tour for the website we are developing for aspiring missionaries — a very exciting milestone.

For good reasons, selecting a mission organization to go with from the hundreds out there can be a daunting task. We believe these headquarter tours will take the edge off of that experience. Viewers will catch the vision of the organization, hear what God is doing through them, meet key staff, learn about the mission candidate process, and hear why people who serve with the organization decided to join up.

How we will cram all of this into a three to five minute video clip is a mystery. That is why we are looking for gifted video editors to volunteer their skills. Six have already stepped forward. We need at least six more so we can spread out the work and publish new video clips more frequently. If you have video editing skills you would like to apply to the Great Commission please contact us.

My trip to Atlanta will get us ready for a rather unique mission trip we are assembling a team for — a week-long mission headquarter blitz in July. Each day we will visit a mission agency and shoot the raw video for the tour. We will also conduct interviews with missionaries who are home from the field. We will inquire about key moments in their journey to the mission field and get their responses to questions commonly asked by aspiring missionaries. At night we will review our footage and start editing. In the morning we will move onto another mission agency. I anticipate this will be a challenging and fruitful week. If you are a cameraman or video editor and want to get in on the action we want to hear from you.

Survey says . . .

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

by M-DAT executive director

In our last issue I requested your input to help shape M-DAT’s new web resource for aspiring missionaries. We have had an amazing response, 350 completed surveys to date! Wow. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to give us your valuable input. I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from the survey.

First, the most encouraging tidbit of information: 98% of respondents said they planned on using the internet to find information to help them on their journey to becoming a missionary. This serves as confirmation to our staff of M-DAT’s mission “bringing people and missions together using internet technology.” (Now if we could just find a few more people to join our team and expand our capacity to provide great web resources!)

Respondents overwhelmingly affirmed that the video segments we described would be “helpful” or “very helpful.” 75 to 90% of people responded this way for each segment type. We take that to mean we are on the right track!

We learned that people have high speed internet and like to watch video clips. Almost 95% said they had high speed internet and 80% reported watching video clips on the internet everyday to a few times a month.

We learned it takes a long time to get to the mission field! Roughly 50% have had the desire to become a missionary for more than five years. 70% expect it will be at least another two years before they make it to the mission field as a full-time missionary.

We learned that the process of becoming a missionary is difficult. 90% said from their experience so far the process was “moderately” or “very difficult.”

More respondents than we expected indicated they had nailed down some specifics on the who, where, and what questions, but a significant number still had outstanding decisions to make. Roughly 40% said they either did not know or only somewhat knew what type of missionary work they wanted to do, what type of training they would need, or where in the world they would like to serve. 60% do not yet know what organization they want to serve with.

Finally, we had several hundred excellent responses to the open ended questions. Those responses are already influencing some of our decisions for the new web resource.

The survey exceeded our expectations of learning about the needs of aspiring missionaries. We are so grateful to all who participated!

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