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

Archive for the ‘Mission mobilizing’ Category

Help Others Discover Their Place to Serve

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Spreading the Word about M-DAT Services

By M-DAT Staff

Do you know someone thinking about a mission trip? January is the peak month for locating mission trips at If you know people who may be looking for opportunities, help spread the word!

See our website for sample text and graphics. The website also includes a variety of articles about choosing a trip, preparing to go, debriefing, and more which you may want to use as a resource and pass along to others.

You can also help those you know discover and other M-DAT services by following us on social media and sharing our posts (see below).

Like our web services, our social media streams help people move into missions.

Find on Facebook

Find on Facebook

Find on Twitter

Find on Twitter

… and M-DAT both have social media accounts on both those services as well. Look for them, too!

Extending Our Reach on Facebook

You might have noticed that even if you have “liked” an organization’s Facebook page, you may seldom see posts from that group. You can always pull up their page and catch up that way. But to regularly see posts in your feed from an organization you care about (such as your church or our ministry) you have to take a few extra steps to be sure Facebook knows you’re interested. Here’s how it works.STM FB screenshot

1. Go to the page on Facebook and scroll over the “following” button.

2. Set your preferences to “see first” and confirm that your “notifications” are on.

We would be thrilled if you would take the time to do this for and This will allow you to see more of our posts when you log onto Facebook so you can react, comment, and share them with friends. Thanks!


Empowering Partnership

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

When Mike Let the Youth Lead the Meeting

By David Armstrong

The word “empowering” immediately draws to mind one of my youth leaders years ago.

Mike expected us to brainstorm and plan our weekly meetings, line up speakers, prepare everything, and make it all happen. And we did. We had never done these things before, but, because Mike said we could, we did.

We didn’t know what we didn’t know. But through regular and constant interaction, questions were asked and answered and we figured out ways to learn what we didn’t know and do what we had never done before.

We didn’t know that most youth groups were run by the leaders, not the youth. We just assumed that was our role since he said so, and we went to work on it.

I doubt that our ideas and ways were better than his, but he heard, weighed what we said and encouraged us on. We knew we had the freedom to think, experiment, and even fail. That was all just part of the process. Looking back I realize he expected us to make so many of the decisions that I don’t recall him making decisions at all, though likely he did.

Empowering also means letting go and losing control. It means allowing someone the freedom to fail coupled with being willing to stand by them whether they fail or succeed. For example, I like the idea of a family-oriented church, where kids are involved and take part and help out. Then I noticed that it bugged me when the lyrics on the screen didn’t match where we were in the worship songs we were singing. Encouraging the kids to run the worship slides was empowering to them but ended up being frustrating to me. It was then that I realized one of the inherent tensions in empowering.

If I release control and empower, it might not turn out the way I imagined. Empowering partnering involves losing control. It involves the freedom to fail. And it involves us graciously standing together when the outcome doesn’t meet expectations.

Empowering partnership. That’s one of the seven key standards of excellence in short-term missions. Excellent short-term mission trips require these kinds of empowering partnerships with the folks who receive us and our teams. Excellent long-term work does as well. Are you ready for that?

» To learn more, see The Seven Standards of Excellence.

An excellent short-term mission establishes healthy, interdependent, on-going relationships between sending and receiving partners, and is expressed by primary focus on intended receptors, plans which benefit all participants, and mutual trust and accountability.


“As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence…
When the best leader’s work is done, the people will say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
(Chinese philosopher Lao Tze)


Global Mission Mobilization Efforts

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

WEA Releases Landmark Study

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) recently published an extensive, international study of mission mobilization efforts which includes some findings that may pique your interest.

1. What Is Missions?

Missions paradigms are in a state of flux. Those surveyed had no common understanding of what is and isn’t “missions,” but held a variety of views on casting the net wide to include social action as well as evangelism, local ministry (cross-cultural or not) along with international work, and short-term as well as long-term efforts.

2. How Do We Mobilize?

Mission mobilization approaches also vary. Some models focus on education and information, while others emphasize mentoring and relationship building, specific programs and processes, or simple pragmatism. Each model has its strengths and weaknesses and most efforts blend more than one approach.

3. What Fans the Flames or Douses Them?

Researchers identified a number of “accelerants” to world mission involvement. These include the example, encouragement, and support of family members, and, though to lesser extent, missionaries and church leaders. Biographies, conferences, and classes all may play a role. The bottom line, though, on why people become missionaries? It’s their sense that God has called them to it. (We reported similar findings from other research in a previous Propel article, Mobilization through Mentoring: How Relationships Are Our Most Powerful Tools).

Researchers also identified “retardants” or obstacles to world mission involvement. These include funding and fundraising challenges (especially for non-Western would-be missionaries), cumbersome mission structures and requirements, and tendencies in our larger cultures toward secularism, individualism, and materialism. The authors also point out that rather than blame individuals, organizations, or circumstances, we should acknowledge we are in a spiritual battle against forces that seek to undermine the extension of God’s influence in the world.

» Want to learn more? Read Mission in Motion: Speaking Frankly of Mobilization, edited by Jay Matenga and Malcolm Gold. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2016.

Partnering for Excellence in Short-Term Mission

Monday, July 18th, 2016

New Levels of Collaboration

Far too often in ministry and in business, everyone works on their own in a separate “silo” without the benefits of partnering and cross-pollination. So we are delighted to share with you that M-DAT has entered into a unique partnering relationship with three other short-term mission entities.

DELTA Ministries, Mission Data International, Standards of Excellence in Short-term Mission, and STM Toolbox have agreed to work more closely together to blend our strengths, resources, services, and reputations in order to benefit those involved in short-term missions. Several of us have been informally working together to improve the quality of mission trips over the last ten years, but now that partnering has been extended and formalized.

Our desire is that goers, senders, and receivers would each genuinely benefit from the many mission trips that take place each year.

» Read the official press release.

When Is Less More? When Is More More?

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Questions about Cutting Back

Four years ago we advertised that the website had 400 answers online. Although we don’t publish everything that is submitted, steady growth has brought the site to nearly 700 answers to almost 200 questions.

On one hand, the additional material helps us connect with searchers who have different concerns or ways of expressing themselves. But is the site getting too unwieldy to be as useful as it once was? We’re considering deleting or combining some of the older or less helpful material to streamline the site.

If you have any input about this process, let us know. Thanks!

Meanwhile, enjoy some recent discussions from the AskaMissionary site:

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