Friday, June 22, 2012

Three Ways For Tying Global to Local

Many churches are looking for ways to connect their overseas ministries with their local ministries. The idea, of course, is to hook people into ministry through the convenience of their own community and then provide them the opportunity to minister in similar ways in another country. This is a good way of preparing people. Conversely, there are some people who are enticed by travel and will go on a short-term mission trip before regularly serving in their community. So how do we find connections between ministries in such different cultures? There are three main ways to do this:

  1. Common Cause – This is a common issue. It could be something like homelessness, AIDS, orphans, or health and hygiene.

  1. Common Role – This is a common ministry function. This could be something like children’s ministry, sports ministry, or a medical ministry

  1. Common People – This could be a common culture, country or a people group. Perhaps you have a large immigrant population near your church; you could develop a missions sending program that goes to their homeland. 

In order to coordinate these, the church needs to begin by praying. Seek God’s will for your church—both in the context of the community and the world. Second, evaluate the church’s gifts and passions. How has God uniquely positioned you to reach others for Jesus? Are there common passions that God has placed in many individuals in your congregation? Finally, look to see if your church has a significant number of people from a specific group. Maybe your church has a large number of attendees who are from a specific country. You may consider adopting that place or people group as your focus.

You may even consider participating in a “Tying global to local” seminar. Click here to request more information on the seminar or to see about bringing it to you.

Questions for the author? Need coaching or consulting? You can contact Tory at 520-404-0841 or

Thursday, June 14, 2012

4 Things Every Friend of a Short-term Missionary Needs to Know

Normally I write an article to short-term mission (STM) participants or pastors. This one is going to be different. This one should be SENT to anyone who has or had a friend or family member go on a short-term mission trip. That might mean you are going to have to forward this email—just make sure you delete the FW at the beginning of the subject! We don't want to be confused for one of those annoying forwards your coworkers always send you!

Have you thought about what coming home might be like for your friend or family member? Maybe you have been on a trip and know, but if you are reading this article, maybe you haven't. Coming home from a STM trip can be an exhilarating and scary thing. It is exciting to come home and tell stories and show pictures. Often we have a new purpose in life. But it can be a scary, depressing time as well.

I want to give you an idea of what to expect when your STM trip participant comes home. There is typically a four-stage process:

  1. Excitement--coming home is exciting. The participant can't wait to share stories, show pictures, and live "a new way."
  2. Hostility--the air is let out. Life is harder than imagined, change seems impossible, and no one seems to care. Sometimes we treat others with disdain, judgment, and superiority.
  3. Adjustment--we gradually adjust back to life as it was. We give up trying to "change the world" and just accept life as it is and was before the trip.
  4. Integration--taking lessons learned and applying them to a transformed, more Christ-like life. Most people never get to this stage--they stop at #3.

So what should you do? How can you help your friend or family member through the coming home process? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Listen to their stories and look at their pictures--I mean all of them. It may take one whole evening. Put in the time. They need to express themselves.
  2. Listen for heart change. Listen for how God is calling them to change. This may come across as contempt for their current life--don't take it personally. They may be processing our affluence in comparison with deep poverty. Listen for the heart change and encourage them.
  3. Encourage them to stay in contact with the team. They have a shared bond and shared understanding. Their interaction and desire to be together will eventually fade, but for now they are a good support for each other.
  4. Journey together. You may not have gone on the STM together, but that doesn't mean you can't journey together. Listen for the heart change and pray about what God is calling both of you to do or become. I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Sometimes the people who appear the least affected on the outside are the ones struggling the most on the inside. All STM trip participants need their friends, family, and church to love them well when they come home. I hope this article helps you know where to start.

Coming home is hard. Follow-through with a returning STM trip participant can be even harder. But as their friend, you are perfectly placed to walk the journey with them!

Questions for the author? You can contact Tory at 520-404-0841 or

Friday, June 8, 2012

How To Avoid Donor Fatigue In Your Short-term Mission Program

Does your church send out multiple mission teams every year? Do your church members become fatigued opening all the support letters that come to them? Or maybe you have a hard time deciding which people from your church to support. You don’t want to pick and choose, but you can’t afford to support them all.

A little bit of strategic planning can alleviate the stress. Here is a process that I would recommend trying:

  1. Get the church on some sort of cycle. I would recommend six to nine months or even one year.
  1.  Discourage or even forbid support letters to be sent to members of the church. Instead encourage the team members to send support letters to friends and family in other places, hold fundraisers, and even save some of their own money to pay for the trip.
  1. Promote the trips or individuals going on a short-term mission trip in the next six months to one year. Make sure people know that they are going and what they will be doing and assure them they will have a chance to contribute towards the project.
  1. Take up an offering sometime during the cycle and split it amongst all the team members evenly. If you don’t want to collect a special offering, have a pastor write one letter to the congregation outlining the trips and asking for donations. All donations will then be split amongst all the team members.
I think you will find that this removes the “first come, first serve” environment as well as keeps generous donors from being overwhelmed. After a cycle or two, your members will begin to budget and expect the annual or biannual donation to the mission teams.

Questions for the author? You can contact Tory at 520-404-0841 or

Friday, June 1, 2012

3 Crucial Reminders about Remembering God on a STM

As a goer on a short-term mission (STM), a lot is going on in your mind when you arrive on location – did my shampoo explode in my suitcase; the sites are breath taking; excitement and nervousness; or even frustration from the journey it took to get there. There is an endless list of possible thoughts and emotions. The point is, in the hustle and bustle of traveling and doing, are you focused on the fact that you are on a STM?

First, upon arrival, pause and take a moment to focus your heart on the Lord. Being intimately connected in your heart and mind to God in each moment is vital when doing His work. Unfortunately one overwhelming reality of a STM is the issue of time, and the possibility of its distraction. The problem is that when a schedule is in place, people are then constantly thinking of what the next task is, but God meets us in the moments we are in. He meets us in the present tense – in the here and now. This means, that while time is active and moving, and the schedule ticks on, we must be aware we need to be fixed upon the presence of the Lord, praying and conversing with him continually.
When we seek Him in continual prayer, we are abiding in Him by giving Him the entirety of our situations. We offer Him the space to work freely, acknowledging His greatness and the power and control of His hand. We ask for our daily bread and the essentials, putting faith in His provision, and praise Him when our needs are met or when glory is deserved. Essentially, we are surrendering to God, and humbly seeking Him and worshiping Him for all He is and what He can do, for He is the center of all.

Second, remember you are in an ongoing spiritual battle. A STM means going and fulfilling the work he commissioned to us, make disciples of all nations. A STM is sent forward because of that call and the motivation to advance the kingdom for his glory. By responding to this call, we are declaring that God is our master. Remember that by doing such, we are stepping forth into a battle; into the thick of all that is of the world.
Realize the severity of the spiritual move we’ve made, disrupting the darkness, and bringing forth the light of God to the unreached, we go forth into enemy territory. Be prepared for spiritual warfare, and in faith, and with prayer, rely upon God for the protection we need with steadfast dedication. If our hearts harden, and become prideful or overconfident while serving Him, maybe even distracted, Satan is gaining ground because our hearts are being consumed with ourselves, and not relying on God for our needs, which are many.

Third and finally, take the time daily to meet with God while on your STM. In fact, meet with Him multiple times a day – as you transition from event to event, before travel, before speaking with people, while speaking, or any chance that you have. Keep the conversation going, inviting God to be part of your time. Also, try not to constantly be asking for things, but worshipping Him for His power and might, for His plan, for His greatness and mystery. Thank Him for Jesus and the gift of salvation, and be praying for hearts to soften, for safety while you’re involved in physical activity in that place, and for focus. Be praying for spiritual protection because Satan can come into your work to tempt and distract. Be on your guard, and ask specifically. Our God is a God who hears and acts – He is omnipotent and powerful.

Often we are inclined to think that God’s presence will be close at hand on a STM, but like regular life, we know we can’t make any assumptions about His closeness to us if it’s something we are not pursuing ourselves. So, focus your heart on the Lord when you arrive. Remember you’re in the midst of a spiritual battle, and take time to meet with him daily. You’ll find Him and discover what His will is for you and your involvement in the advancement of His kingdom.

Article by Crystal Mann