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

Archive for the ‘Mission mobilizing’ Category

Mission Trip Outcomes for Mobilizing Students

Monday, November 20th, 2017

What can we expect from a mission trip?

“I know a guy who took a short-term trip to Senegal. He is now a high school math teacher in Seattle. Though he never went back overseas after that summer trip, he is different.

“He prays for the world and if he hears any news about that part of Africa, he listens a little more closely. If he meets someone from anywhere in West Africa, he strikes up a conversation.”

Writing for Campus Ministry Today, The Traveling Team’s Todd Ahrend suggests a number of ways to improve the impact of our mission teams, including five outcomes to shoot for in the lives of those who go:

  1. Considering long-term service
  2. Being informed about the needs of the global Church and the unreached
  3. Gaining insights from poverty, pain, and injustice
  4. Change in lifestyle back home
  5. Development of personal ministry

“What if we started off designing our trips with these outcomes in mind?” asks Ahrend. “What if we worked with our host teams overseas not only to further their mission, but also to cultivate these goals?”

Ahrend’s article reminds us that while much of the pre-field training offered for long-term missionaries is shaped by desired competencies and outcomes, short-term mission team training and debriefing may fall short in these areas. A Shift in Short Term Missions includes analysis, action points, resource links, and reflection questions you may find helpful in maximizing mission teams.

Meetings, Mergers, and My First Trip to Asia

Monday, November 20th, 2017

By David Armstrong

Missio Nexus Meetings

Each fall, as part of the Standards of Excellence in Short-term Mission (SOE), we have the privilege of planning the short-term mission track for the national mission leaders’ conference hosted by Missio Nexus. Networking with old ministry friends and meeting new short-term mission leaders always rejuvenates me.

This year about 800 mission leaders attended the conference, discussing and learning more about current trends in missions ranging from strategies to nonprofit tax changes. Have you noticed that nothing gets simpler?! It always seems to get more complicated!

Navigating a Merger

After the Missio Nexus meetings, other SOE board members and I met for two days in Dallas. You may remember that SOE recently merged with Delta Ministries, a ministry with a long history of effective mission teams and training.

A merger is no simple thing. It is one thing to merge on paper, and another to actually integrate the pieces. We made great progress in 2017 and 2018 should take us another large step forward in welding the two strong agencies into one. We are already seeing more growth and impact than we expected.

A Different Kind of Chaos

My wife and I recently visited our son and family in Nepal for a couple weeks. It was actually my first trip to Asia. I had to chuckle about the traffic on the streets. I had expected noise and chaos, and it was chaotic. But it was chaotic in a different way. The buses, trucks, tractors, taxis, and motorcycles by the hundreds, plus people and water buffalo, went every which way. But they weren’t honking their horns or threatening to run over each other. If you’re a pedestrian, drivers will actually go around you!

Our son put it all into perspective when he compared it to our crowded malls at Christmas time. People everywhere with arms loaded, going every which way, and sometimes pushing a stroller. Yet they (almost) never run into each other. That is because every few seconds they adjust their direction and speed. And you don’t even really think about it. Nepal’s drivers and water buffalo were doing the sam

e thing, calmly and rather quietly, even with only the slimmest clearance between them.

How grateful I am for the Lord’s presence and the partnership of others when life and ministry get complicated!


Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

“God provides the men and women needed for each generation.”
Mildred Cable, 1878-1952, British missionary to China

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)

Hearing Only Half of the News

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

How Do We Fight Discouragement?

By David Armstrong

Hearing only half of the news can be discouraging. I experience that discouragement in reading about all the fighting, refugees, and problems in the Middle East. Tragic, painful, and seemingly hopeless—until you hear the other half.

Amazing things are taking place with God’s Kingdom in the Middle East and other places right now. Not only are individuals coming to Jesus, but there are whole church-planting movements such as have never been seen before in predominantly Muslim countries.

I just completed the 15-week Perspectives on the Worldwide Christian Movement course. If you haven’t taken that class I highly recommend it. Go to their website to find a church hosting the class near you. I was greatly encouraged by case studies about how the mission world has changed and what God has been doing in our world in the last few decades. I was also reminded that God is sending people to our neighborhoods to hear the gospel, not just sending people “over there” to share the gospel.

We experienced this first hand. Elvir was the first person to welcome us to our neighborhood. His son Asad watered our garden for us when we traveled last summer. These two are among some 60,000 Muslim Bosnians who live in St. Louis and South County, most of whom came to the US 15-20 years ago, fleeing genocide.

Though there are handful of Bosnian believers in the world, there are no Bosnian churches where the gospel is expressed in ways typical Bosnians can understand, in forms they would be comfortable with, and using the language that is part of their very being.

I discovered in conversations with Bosnians in St. Louis that they do not see themselves like Muslims in the Middle East. They are Muslim because they are Bosnian. They can’t imagine being Bosnian and not being Muslim. Want to share the gospel with them? As is so often the case, friendship is the place to begin, and prayer is the medium to see God work and open meaningful conversations.

Need some encouragement? Feel like you are left with a one-sided, negative view of world events from your usual news sources? Seek out the other side, the stories of what God is doing that most media outlets will never share with you.

  • Join a Perspectives class (or if it’s been a while, take it again!)
  • Subscribe to Missions Catalyst or other mission news publications for regular glimpses of what God is doing in the world, often behind the scenes.

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