June 21, 2024
Cross-Cultural Living, Spiritual Formation, Training, Adult Education, Pre-field Training

Why do missionaries need pre-field training?

A legitimate question When I first began leading our Member Orientation Program more than 10 years ago, I seldom, if ever, had to defend its legitimacy. All new missionaries assumed that they would need to go through the pre-field training program before leaving for their place of assignment. In fact, one of our greatest struggles was to convince new missionaries and their coaches that they should wait to enroll in Member Orientation until they had raised more of their support. The primary question was “When?”. When do I get to go to MOP? As we began conducting the training in the Philippines as well as in Michigan, a secondary question then became “Where?”. Where will I complete this training? But in more recent years, the questions have been different. Now we are dealing with the question of “Why?”. Why do I need to go through this particular pre-field training program?… Read the whole post
Book Reviews, Prayer, Spiritual Disciplines

Set times of prayer – a discipline of preparation and love

I have recently finished listening to Tyler Staton’s book on prayer – Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools: An Invitation to the Wonder and Mystery of Prayer. I listened to Tyler Staton preach on the topic of the Lord’s Prayer at a leadership retreat a few months ago. Both his passion for and his experience in prayer impressed me.1 You can listen to these same sermons on the Bridgetown Church’s website. I did not expect this in such a young pastor. In his book, I was further intrigued by his emphasis on the importance of daily set times of prayer. He pointed out that both Jesus and the early church practiced regular times of prayer each day. Jesus and his prayer life Over the years, I have noticed that the Gospels (and particularly Luke) often note that Jesus gave himself to prayer. At this baptism, before he begins a busy… Read the whole post
New Missionaries, Teaming

What type of mission team is best for you and your context?

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Types of mission teams In mission work, when engaging unreached people, working in teams is essential. One person cannot do it alone. However, not all mission teams are the same. Over the years, we have observed four main types of teams on the mission field: basketball teams, track teams, X-teams (expedition teams), and combo teams. Each type has its own unique characteristics and purposes. I have written about each of these in a series on types of mission teams, but I thought it might be helpful to summarize our thinking into one post.1 The SEND U wiki also provides a Word document summarizing these 4 different types of teams in point form. Basketball Teams: Working Closely Together A basketball team is a tightly-knit unit, where five players work closely together on the court to defend and score. Similarly, in mission… Read the whole post
Lifelong Learning, Training, Coaching, Learning Attitude

Showing progress

We all want to see progress in our work. As disciples of Jesus, we long to see people’s lives change as they encounter Christ and his Word. We want to see churches planted, and then see those churches grow in size and in their impact on their community. But maybe we should be looking first of all for progress within ourselves. I have been a cross-cultural worker for more than 35 years. I believe that I have changed and grown in those three and a half decades. But do others see it as well? A few years ago a colleague told me that I led differently than I had in the past. I believe he said I had become a gentler leader. That was very encouraging for I realized that he had observed progress in me in areas that I really wanted to grow. It was also a reminder that… Read the whole post
Resilience, Hardship, Gospel

Does the spread of the gospel require a time of peace?

Many of our readers know that my wife and I were missionaries based in Ukraine until shortly before the war broke out in that country. In another post, I have written about how I realized that we were in fact refugees. Since then, I have been praying daily for the war to end and for the restoration of peace in this country. Although a few expatriate missionaries remain in the country, most like us, have returned to their home countries or relocated to another country, often to work with Ukrainian refugees. We think it would be better for the work of missions if the country was free from the suffering, destruction and loss of life that war brings. If the war would only end, we could once more focus on the work of the kingdom. Before the war, my mission organization focused on equipping and sending Ukrainians out as cross-cultural… Read the whole post
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