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

Archive for the ‘Mission resources’ Category

2015 in Review: A Year of Growth

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

 

As we start 2016 and look back on 2015, we realize we owe a huge debt of gratitude to those whose support and encouragement has enabled us to serve those God is raising up for mission service.

Will you take a minute and reflect with us on what God has done? Despite a number of changes and challenges, we saw growth in several key areas.

Mission Trip Search Engine

ShortTermMissions.com saw a 10% increase in traffic in 2015 and received just short of 300,000 visits. Each year about 90% of the partnering organizations decide to continue. In 2015, more than 100 organizations posted information about more than 2,000 trips and received more than 20,000 inquiries. The site also has a very low rate of bounces (those who find the site but leave within the first 10 seconds).

The quarterly ShortTermMissions.com newsletter, launched in 2013, now has more than 13,000 subscribers. Remarkable! Along with a growing social media presence, it continues to connect with those who use the service and invite them back to the site.

Missionary Q&A

In the last year and a half, AskAMissionary.com has seen a significant increase in traffic, with a 56% increase during 2015 alone. Traffic grew steadily throughout the year for a total of more than 130,000 visits. Page views were also up 38%, to reach 248,000.

Unfortunately, the bounce rate for the site was high; many come to the site but do not stay to view additional pages. The length of time people spend on the site and the number of pages they view has decreased slowly over the last three years, despite measures taken to make the site engaging.

Less surprising is a slight decrease in visits to PreparingToGo.com, a web service with a similar purpose. It’s designed to provide video excerpts of missionaries showing their journey to the field. Traffic to the site, which is maintained but not being further developed, was down 7%. Yet it still reached more than 11,000 visits and 24,000 page views in 2015.

We’re grateful for the ways the Lord has used these resources.

 

Resources for a Changing World

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

In today’s unpredictable world, many ministries, mission agencies, and other organizations are considering how well prepared they are to respond to crisis situations, including legal attacks.

» Learn about changes in US policy for responding to hostage situations (Crisis Consulting International).

» Check out this video-based security training course for short-term mission teams (Fort Sherman Academy).

» Read about protecting your ministry from sexual orientation and gender identity lawsuits (Alliance Defending Freedom).

Finding Mission Opportunities

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

ShortTermMissions.com helps people quickly connect with short-term mission trips that fit their gifts, calling, and availability, listing hundreds of mission trip provided by many agencies. But you might be interested in some of the other services designed to help people find mission trips and service opportunities. If you coordinate trips you might want to partner with these ministries too. If you are looking for an opportunity, try your search with one or more of them.

  • Mission Finder lists hundreds of short term, medical, domestic, and international mission trips, categorized by location and type of ministry. Lots of links, short descriptions.
  • Missions-trip.com is similar to ShortTermMissions.com and MissionFinder.org. It has long-term Christian mission opportunities as well as short-term ones.
  • Finishers Project is designed for adults of middle age and older (Baby Boomers). MissionExplore, organized around causes, is for younger adults. Another service from the same ministry is Mission:TEACH, which helps place teachers in international Christian schools.
  • BAMmatch connects business people with opportunities around the world where their skills are needed.
  • Christian Connections for International Health and MedicalMissions.com are designed for medical personnel and those interested in medical work.
  • ChristianJobs.com is not specifically focused on missions opportunities, but lists options for employment at ministry organizations, nonprofits, and Christian businesses.

If you want an opportunity offered by a mission organization in another country, try Mission Platform (Australia) and OSCAR (UK and Europe).

Don’t forget that some mission agencies list specific opportunities right on their websites. Others would be happy to tell you about specific ways to serve with them if you contact them by phone or email. Ask mission agencies about short-term and long-term opportunities. Don’t overlook what are sometimes called “mid-term” opportunities, those which last for from several months up to a year or two. Sometimes these are not advertised, but they may provide the best way to get to know an agency while being further equipped for a lifetime of ministry.

E-Zine Goes the Next Mile with Mission Trip Participants

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Almost two years ago, M-DAT collaborated with The Next Mile partnership to help launch The Next Mile E-Zine, a collection of articles carefully crafted for recently returned mission trip participants. It covers topics like reentry, growing closer to God, developing a missional worldview, staying the course, and exploring career missions. Content is delivered in a series of a dozen emails. This approach makes follow-through material freely accessible to anyone with an email address!

The campaign launched in January 2012. We’re pleased to report that it has already been used to follow up 1,200 short-term mission participants. Some of them would have had nobody to walk with them in the weeks and months after their trips if it were not for The Next Mile.

» Learn more or sign up for The Next Mile E-Zine.

You might be also interested in other resources from The Next Mile, including a mission team training curriculum and a free guide for mission trip mentors.

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. 

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