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

Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Mentoring for Missions: Andy’s Story

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Coaching helped Andy prepare for ministry in East Asia – and wherever God may take him next.

Andy is a few years out of college. He’s spent six months in East Asia, though now he’s back home. Recently Propel interviewed Andy about influential people in his life who mentored him for missions. “I had two great coaches on the way to the field,” he explained. “They did life with me. They made me do ministry with them before I went, not top down but side by side.”

“Also, they didn’t remove the obstacles, they helped me overcome them. If they had removed barriers I wouldn’t have been ready for the field.”

To discover some ways you can profit from mission coaching or be effective coaching people like Andy, read on.

Getting Started

Propel: How would you describe your journey into missions?

Andy: I started taking my faith seriously when I was in high school and was growing like crazy. My youth pastor had just emerged as a mission leader. That was a new passion for him. Since he was discipling me, it carried over. This was right in the middle of that season when “take your youth group to Mexico” was the thing. As I observed the missionaries we were working with there, I felt as if God was saying to me, “What you see them doing, I want you to do that.”


Interview: Mobilizing a small church

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

by Paul Nielsen

This is an interview with my father-in-law, who has pastored numerous small churches for the past twenty years or so. At some point last year it occurred to me that he probably has some interesting things to say when it comes to mobilizing smaller congregations. 16% of Americans attend a church of less than 100 people (57% are in a church of less than 500).

Propel: What have you done in order to mobilize your churches for missions?

Roy: The first thing I have done to mobilize the church I pastor for missions is to attempt to lead by example. I’ve also had various missionaries come in the church and speak about their work.

White Church by John Starne

Propel: What has been the most significant hurdle in getting a small congregation to understand the importance of the Great Commission?

Roy: The most significant hurdle is getting the people in the pews to realize that there are people needing to know Christ in other parts of the world. Many of the folks have been in the same home since marriage and they remain within 50 miles of the school where they graduated high school. 

Propel: Describe some of the successes you’ve had energizing your churches for missions.

Roy: One of the greatest successes I’ve had was to get the church to send $25 a month to missions. This amount goes along with the money that I send to missions.

Propel: What level of mobilization do small churches generally need? i.e., Where do they start out?

Roy: Small churches that I am familiar with are very difficult to get to move at all. If they are supporting missions, the possibility of getting them to add another missionary is almost nil. They are stuck right where they are and don’t want to change. Every church wants to grow but no one wants to change and growth will result in change. Hence, no growth. The churches that I am familiar with have an “outreach” item in their budget and at the end of the year, those dollars go to support the local volunteer fire department or the local senior center. 

Propel: What are your goals for mobilizing within your small churches?

Roy: I’d like to see our church giving at least 10% of its budget to missions. Missions meaning supporting those who are full-time in telling the Good News both in the U.S. and abroad.

Propel: What would a small church look like if it was fully, so-to-speak, mobilized?

Roy: The church would be giving 20% at a minimum to missions and the missionaries would be hosted by the church families so that they know the missionaries personally. Missions would have an emphasis during at least one service a month to update the congregation as to what was happening to “their” missionaries. Ownership would occur and missions giving would increase. 

Propel: Do you know of any good resources you could recommend to other leaders in small churches to help get their congregation on fire for missions?

Roy: I think the best thing is to continue to pray and tell the stories of the missionaries that are personal to you. I also think that messages from the pulpit on missions will ultimately do the work through the Holy Spirit working on the hearts of the believers. He has to move the hearts. He is the only One that can change them. 

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…)

Davis Interview: Missions and aviation

Monday, August 25th, 2008

This issue’s interview is part two with Chester and Amy Davis. I’ve known Chester and Amy for 15 years now. They live with their four young children in Lincoln, Nebraska while Chester finishes up a mechanical engineering degree.

Chester and Amy present some ideas here that are challenging and outside of the norm; I was hoping for this when I emailed them about doing this 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.

Propel: How long have you been interested in long-term missions? When and how did this interest begin?

Chester: I was brought up in an environment where it was not possible to be completely self-absorbed and where ministry in all forms was encouraged. So it really has never crossed my mind to not be involved in some type of ministry. Going the standard route of fifty-plus hours a week and watching football on weekends has been something that is near repulsive to me. The only specific change I recall is that while in the Military my heart was enlarged towards other nations and cultures.

Amy: When I was young my parents wanted to be missionaries, so I’ve always looked up to missionaries as some sort of celebrity, hoping that someday I would be that cool. With age that has taken different forms; I chose to major in computer science in college so that I could perhaps use that computer skill to work with Wycliffe. During college I was involved with International student ministry, then I wanted to go to India or a Muslim country. After getting married, we learned that JAARS does research and development in the missionary aviation field, and think that this is a good match for the passions and abilities that God has given us.

Propel: You’ve been pursuing missions aviation for a number of years now. How and why is aviation important to missions?

Chester: Aviation remains a key component to world missions because of the lack of transportation infrastructure in the undeveloped portions of the world where missionaries are doing Bible translation and humanitarian oriented ministry. While the need has declined since the advent of radio and satellite communication, some locations simply require access for supplies and personnel that is not feasible by other means. Missions and aviation has always turned my crank, and so when the opportunity to combine these things exists why would I look for anything else?

Propel: You’ve committed to a significant amount of schooling in order to fulfill a specific need in the missions community. How does a person interested in missions weigh the pros and cons of such lengthy preparation in lieu of getting to the field more quickly? (more…)

Interview with David F.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

This interview with David F., a missionary kid who grew up in Indonesia, lends us the perspective of someone a few years beyond college. David is married with two young children and recently ventured out into an unexpected but successful business partnership after a number of years teaching and working for a local greeting card company. All the while, his heart desires to be overseas at some point in the future.

Propel: Once in a while I come across stories of missionary kids who resent their upbringing overseas for various reasons. How was life as a missionary kid for you? What were the pros, the cons?

David: I absolutely love the fact that I was brought up overseas, and really cherish my unique upbringing. I got to enjoy all kinds of cool things and activities that I wouldn’t have if I had grown up in the good ‘ol U.S.A. I guess I missed McDonalds? Don’t know any of the TV shows people do? Honestly, I credit my parents for clearly demonstrating and communicating that it was family first, work and ministry second on the mission field. Most MK [missionary kid] resentment comes from the all-to-familiar attitude of ‘nothing but my ministry’ that some mission organizations once espoused. Family is our first ministry. The same disenchantment exists in the homes of pastors — or just busy people.

Propel: How did growing up as a missionary kid influence your decisions today? How did it affect your outlook on life, goals for life and spiritual walk?

David: It’s definitely broadened my horizons; other cultures are really, really not like our culture! They’re not worse, they’re different. Viv ‘la difference! I take very seriously the charge of Jesus to go into all the nations, and want my life to always be involved with missions as God leads. I’ve seen mission activity produce a great harvest — with my own eyes — and this makes me value it and desire it to go forward unhindered.

Propel: When in life did you decide you wanted to be a missionary? What led up to this realization?

David: God wants us all to be a missionary where we are. However — and I may be a little weird — but I think that being a missionary is really cool, even fun. Yes, it has a lot of challenges and generally scares me to death as well. Helping people know God is just about the highest goal for anyone; I’m convinced it’s a great way to spend a life. I’ve thought so for a long while, not sure I could put my finger on exactly when. (more…)

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