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

Archive for the ‘Mentoring’ Category

What They See

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

By David Armstrong

You never know what those who watch you will see or remember, nor what they will do with it. This week we have been spending time with Dory, who was our administrative assistant for eight years when we worked in Guatemala.

Dory had a love for teaching and worked with us as we taught in many settings. Sometimes we used “magic tricks” and illusions to teach children and youth truths and principles. It turns out that Dory has continuing to use those attention-getting methods ever since, and now her college-aged daughter is using them in her teaching as well.

That is the way God designed life to be: each of us benefits from those who came before us and passes on the best of what we have seen and heard to those who follow. We reap what others have sown and we sow for others to reap. Whether a person serves others for two weeks, two months, or two decades, and whether they work with children, youth, or adults, they are planting seeds to produce future fruit.

I remember using a set of cups and cotton balls to teach Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” When I first heard that verse I thought of it as a warning or threat, but later I came to see it also as a fantastic promise: the good that we plant in people’s lives, the godly principles that we teach, they will have a harvest that multiplies whether we are there to see it or not.

As Paul says several verses later, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in.  Luke 10:2 (CEV)

Mobilizing through Mentoring: How Relationships Are Our Most Powerful Tools

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

By Marti Wade

Consider the Power of Personal Connection

The recent Launch Survey conducted by our friend and colleague John McVay asked hundreds of long-term workers about key factors that helped them get to the field. High on the list were:

  • The support of friends and family
  • A positive relationship with the agency or team they would join
  • Personal interaction with long-term workers

These were topped only by a sense of calling or guidance into ministry that came from God and a passion for sharing the gospel.

This suggests that effective mobilization depends more on relationships than it does on conferences, classes, books, sermons, or most anything else, on its own. Relationships are “what works.” Let’s do our part to build relationships with tomorrow’s global workers!

Three Avenues

Would God use YOU to come alongside tomorrow’s mission force today? Consider these three avenues for mobilization and ask the Lord if He’d have you intentionally pursue one or more in 2016.

1. Be a resource.

Remember that people aren’t led on the basis of information that do not have. Serve your church or group by becoming a conduit for global prayer requests, kingdom-focused world news, or resources that could open people’s eyes to current mission issues and strategies.

2. Fan the flames.

Make sure people in your church who are interested in missions know that you are, too, and that you’re willing to talk to those who want to learn more or take some steps to pursue global ministry. Listen for those who indicate an interest and be intentional about following up to hear more and encourage them.

3. Mentor millenials.

Especially if you are serving cross-culturally, make room in your schedule to connect with those who show interest in finding their own fit in mission (even if they are young enough to be your children or grandchildren!) Resist the expectation that you focus your communication efforts on talking about what you’re doing and how to support it. Rather, seek ways to invest in and equip those who might follow in your footsteps or who need someone else to be excited for them as they take steps on a journey of their own.

» Learn more about the Launch Survey.

Learn about being a mobilizer, and check out 6 Ways to Reach God’s World (OMF).

Mobilizing More Laborers

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

The M-DAT team is about mobilizing people to missions and mentoring people for missions, and we greatly appreciate your encouragement and support in doing so. But how do YOU encourage people to be involved in missions? Have you thought of intentionally being a missions “mobilizer”? You don’t need a title or a desk to do so. All you need to do is talk about missions and ways people can be involved with internationals at home and abroad. For those who express interest or have questions about missions, point them to and other resources that can help.

Mentoring for Missions: Five Ways to Help Tomorrow’s Mission Force Grow

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

By Marti Wade

None of us get where we’re going alone. And when the direction God is tugging us involves something as, well, apparently preposterous as leaving everything we know and moving to another country for cross-cultural service, we’re going to need a lot of help and encouragement to get there from here. Few make it to the field without help from a team of intercessors, cheerleaders, and supporters.

The most valuable player on that team may be a mentor. Mission mentors help tomorrow’s missionaries grow and get where they’re going. Usually a mentor is someone who has been down that road before (or one like it) and who is available and committed to walk alongside others as they try to find where they fit and take the next steps in their journey.

Want to find a mission mentor, become one, or just get some ideas to keep your mentoring relationship alive and growing? Consider these five activities would-be missionaries and their mentors can do together:

1. Talk things over.

Prospective missionaries need someone to listen to their story and hear about their vision, opportunities, and experiences. They need someone to help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses and to articulate their ideas (and maybe some misconceptions) about serving in ministry. A mentor can be that listening ear.

Need help? See 101 Incredible Coaching Questions (The School of Coaching Mastery) and Two Powerful Questions for Moving Forward (PeopleResults).

2. Seek God together.

All the self-awareness, talent, and training in the world can’t take the place of knowing and following God and doing what He says. Potential missionaries and their mentors may find their most fruitful time together is spent praying together for the world and for discernment about next steps in service.

Tips? Consider using something like Operation World or Prayercast as fuel for global intercession. Brainstorm and write down the key questions, concerns, or obstacles you face and pray about them, preferably often and with others.

3. Read and discuss a good book.

Often mission agencies and training programs will assign mission books, articles, or Bible studies for a prospective missionary to go through. Studying or reading together or at least discussing the contents with a mentor can increase retention and clarify lessons learned.

You have many options. You might work through Mission Smart: 15 Critical Questions to Ask before Launching Overseas or one of the books on our book list, for example.

4. Serve together.

While cross-cultural ministry is full of surprises, the best predictor of future success is still past success. Missionaries need to learn and grow through ministry close to home before they serve far away. Besides that, many of us learn best through what we do and experience, not from someone telling us what they think we need to know. For these reasons more and more missionary training programs include a strong experiential element, including opportunities for evangelism, service, teaching and leading others, and cross-cultural relationship-building.

The prospective missionary who serves with a wise and sympathetic mentor close at hand has an edge: someone to help them make the most of these ministry experiences and learn as much as they can about God, themselves, and serving in ministry before they “go.” So find a way to pursue ministry together if you can. At least talk through ministry experiences before and after they happen.

5. Stay in touch.

Even mission mentors and prospective missionaries who are not able to meet face to face on a regular basis can stay in touch. Check in with one another by phone, text, or email. This is a great way to provide encouragement and accountability on any steps either of you has agreed to take in the process.

Not able to do all these things or find someone to walk with in these ways? Pray and ask God for eyes to see what you can do to mentor others or find what you need from those who could mentor you. In many cases, the role of mentor is not filled by one person who’s always there, but by a loose network of diverse people or a series of mentors over time.

» Comment on this article below or see previous Propel articles on mentoring.

How Do You Find a Mission Mentor?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

mentoringMany of those we serve through went on mission trips this summer! After they return, then what? Anyone whose purpose in going was to explore long-term direction – or who came back thinking that way – needs some extra help.

Mission mobilization and service groups like ours provide encouragement and virtual coaching. Another very helpful resource for anyone charting a course from short-term to long-term is a mission mentor who can walk alongside them on a journey of months or years. Yet how do you find such a mission mentor?

Many of the sending agencies we work with have mission coaches and mentors on their staff. These servants like nothing better than to talk to people interested in going, hear their stories, and encourage them along the way.

Mission agency staff have experience and expertise to offer, but they aren’t the only option, as Elizabeth Givens, of SEND International, points out. “Does your church have a mentoring program for those interested in missions? Ask your pastor. Are there retired missionaries in your circle of friends or your church? Look around for a man or woman you admire and with whom you feel you could connect. Then ask them if you can meet with them regularly and learn from them in a mentoring relationship.”

“Mentoring does not have to be face-to-face,” she adds. “You may have an experienced missionary in your life who would be willing to connect with you regularly on email, Skype, or Facetime. You can each brew your OWN cup of coffee and plunge into the conversation.”

» Want to find a mentor – or be one? Read the rest of Elizabeth’s answer and others at How do I find a mentor to help me prepare for missions? (

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