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Getting started as a member of a mission committee or global outreach team.

If you are a first time member of the group in your congregation that is responsible for global mission, you are trying to start such a group, or you are simply looking for ways to revitalize the global outreach of your...

December 3, 2009 0 1 comments
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There is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet. If you are a member of your church’s Global Mission Committee, learning more is a large challenge put before you. Here are a few resources to help you learn more about global mission.

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December 3, 2009 0 0 comments
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Partners Worldwide grew out of World Renew to become a free-standing organization which connects Christian businesspeople in North America with counterparts in the developing world.

November 30, 2009 0 0 comments

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Here's where I'm coming from for the most part.

Are You a Trader?

Okay, I'll weigh in here. I appreciate what has been said thus far. All I can say is that if ALL Christians are called to join God and participate in his mission in the world, then ALL Christians are missionaries of a sort whether in their own corner of the world in their community or as professionally trained missionaries.

I believe that part of the church equipping people for works of service includes how they are missionaries in their work places as well. Too often we make it sound as if the only valuable work of a Christian is how they serve in the church. People are looking to be equipped for ministering in the work place too.

Thanks Steve, I would like to add to your summary of your observation about missionaries. The one's that stay and love due so bacause they see the Spirit work through them and they walk hand in hand with Jesus. They would be the first one to say Glory be to God.

This is just the sort of vigorous conversation that I was hoping would follow my original post.  Some excellent points have been made.  Beginning with a love for those who don't yet know Christ (which is inspired by God's love for us) and engaging with them in an incarnational way is certainly key.  Each Christian has a responsibility to witness where they are and along the way of life.  Fundamentally, the mission is one: locally and globally, within cultures and across them.  And there is lots more cross-cultural work to be done locally than ever before.  I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from engaging in witness where they are while they wait vainly to be fully prepared.  That will never come.  Reliance on the Spirit is vital even as we engage in constant learning of the content of faith and the methods of sharing it. 

I guess the genesis of the original post is a concern that some want to make missions out to be something simple or easy.  Especially when crossing cultures, which is much of mission work now, it isn't.  And there is a qualitative difference, it seems to be, between the short term missionary who travels to a place where she doesn't speak the language or understand the culture, and the person who has invested deeply and over decades in understanding the uniqueness of the people with whom she is sharing the Gospel.

Thanks for a lively exchange.

I think the hard work is learning to trust that God will equip you to represent Him. Then your small part of being obeidient enough to look and listen. Allen, I don't think were that far apart. You need the training, but I believe most crc believers have the knowledge to be effective in leading people to Christ. Humility, knowledge,desire and trust in Holy Spirit will work through and in spite of you to accomplish His purpose. In organized missions I agree with you about specific contextual training is prudent. As far as results are concerned, who I'm I to judge or predict what the future of our efforts I can't take the credit because all missions happen through you. Not by you so how can I judge?

Amen! However, being discipled by Jesus and following him and his incarnational mission strategy requires using all the talents and learning and wisdom God has given us. I find too many who "simply trust in the Holy Spirit" using that as an excuse to not do the hard work. And some of the results I've seen are not very helpful to the mission or kingdom. 

Hi Allen,  What about the Holy Spirit. If you listen he can take over during the encounter and make your words due the job. This happens to me everytime I testify. Of Course the training in the Word was there from the beginning.

Hi Steve,  What I was trying to say, There all all sorts of mission callings for everybody that is looking for the chance to tell the gospel. Humility and love when presenting the gospel are the key ingregients to crossing the culture differences. All these mission type's have one thing in common and that is humble vessel to work through. He provides the wisdom. Training and knowledge are important but not defening attribute required to be God's witness. Thanks

I believe we are all called to be engaged in Christ's mission beginning in our Jerusalems and to the ends of the earth. We are called to this by Jesus in John 20:21. An important little word in this challenge of Jesus is the "as." We are sent "as" Jesus was sent - particularly in Jesusstrategic incarnational way (John 1:14). Only by "dwelling among" and entering into the particularities of the culture, sub-culture, and lives of the people where God locates us (our neighberhoods, places of work, etc.) can we "be" and "proclaim" the gospel. This is not done without prayerful and careful intentionality. A primary task of our local church community is to train, and mobilize us for this incarnational, missionary calling. When we genuinely enter the harvest field, we naturally seek out this incarnational, contextualizing training. Sit down with your unchurched neighbor and share the gospel. You will soon discover the need to find language that best communicates the gospel story in language your neighbor understands. Until we do this, we are not fully proclaiming the gospel. Following the incarnational strategy of Jesus is part of proclaiming the gospel.

So yes Steve, we are all called to be God's missionary people in all the different ways God has gifted us and given us diverse talents. However, we must take the time to do it Jesus way. And you have a right to be concerned that some would take this lightly or assume that it can be done without careful and prayerful preparation.

Thanks, Steve, for this subject.  I believe that all disciples of Jesus Christ are called by Christ ala the Great Commission to "go and make disciples of all nations..."  And as many others have said so eloquently in the past, today the nations have come to us-to our cities, workplaces, and neighborhoods.  My old hometown of Holland, Michigan, while never as homogeneous as one might think, is now a quite diverse and increasingly multi-cultural community. These changes challenge me to update my thinking about what I will experience whenever I go back home.

You rightly remind us that any outreach to our neighbors, next door, in the next office, or in some other local setting means extending friendship and hospitality to persons with quite different religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds and life experiences. And training in cross-cultural communication could be very helpful.  I've found over the years that as we break out of our own little social cells in order to listen to and grow in appreciation for our neighbors, the bonds of friendship and mutual hospitality unite us more than our differences divide us.  Often we have to do this even within our own families.  Who doesn't have an in-law who we'd rather avoid than learn to know and embrace?  Or a next door neighbor.  Or someone in the workplace.

So, where does God's call to the church and all its members to make disciples come in?  Well, as we learn over time what's going on in the lives of others, and as our prayers lift up to God those for whom we have a deepening concern, we will find numerous little ways to express the care and concern of Christ for our newly made friends.  It may take months, sometimes years, but our care for another will one day earn us an invitation from them to share the hope that is within us, and to recommend to them the real Evangel, the Good News of the saving love of God in Jesus Christ.  Sounds simple?  No it's not.  It will require each of us to change our priorities and alter our old habits and ways of seeing others.  It's anything but simple.

But the motivation for each one of us to become 'missionaries of Christ to the neighbors who surround us' is simple.  Our hope and our call from God to engage in mission rests upon the solid biblical foundation of the Gospel as given in John 3:16.

May God bless us each one as we learn to listen and respond to what his Spirit is saying to the churches.

Carl Kammeraad, pastor, on sabbatical in the post-Christian city of Cambridge, England 

     

I'm sorry Steve I'm brain damaded and I fogot to type the punchline.

"All parts make up the body and serve the body. The feet carry it to far places. the hands deliver empathy and caring, the voice speaks for all but there is one source of wisdom and conviction the Holy Spirit. There is one source that allows the body to live at all like the heart represents, and that is Jesus. I think you fnow who the brain is and everything I talked about in these comnents. You could probably school me on the facts,  I'm a broken person who is trying to help you brother. I have no desire to judge your faith. I 'm not even worthy of  delivering this message and I fail on a constant basis. God bless you

You guys want to hear a great story that happened a moments ago, The Holy Spirit spoke to me through this article. We support kid's abroad and it came to me that money should go to people that adopt orphans and remove them from their hardship. I called a freind who has adopted many kids. I offered our help just as she finnished converastion with her husband on adopting another child. They were praying wisdom and finacial help. I called at that moment of seeking for guidence by them on what to do You do the math!  Glory be to God

Thoughtful article, Steve.  I think you were so guarded, its a little hard to tell what you're actually arguing.....are you saying that the phrase "We are all missionaries and our mission field is right out that door" is accurate, inaccurate, or simply a tool that we can use rightly or wrongly?

Whatever your argument, it is a conversation we need to have because I see it as a key faultline in the CRC right now - who will do the work of mission, professionals or everyone?  Or, rather, who should be doing it?  In many ways, every congregation faces the same challenge with professional staff - does the pastor, youth pastor, church planter, etc. do ministry or does he/she facilitate ministry?  What is the difference between a professional pastor or missionary's calling versus that of every other member?  I tend to think there is no difference, but that we all team up financially to allow one or a few persons to dedicate their time fully to the task of the ministry we all participate in.  Easy to say, REALLY hard to do.

Hi Steve, I'm ken and I read your article with great interest. You are obviously in Christ service. Glory be to God. Some times the hand does't know or understand what the foot is doing or even it's worth. Only the brain and the eye's see the picture all the time.  God bless you

Christian Reformed World Missions and Worldwide Christian Schools US are trying something new in order to respond to people's desire to see individual's lives changed while not creating the ill effects mentioned in this article.  Take a look at this article and see if you think it is an effective response. 

Children are used to attract the donations. People are hesiatent to give to adults.( Sad) Good article. We need to change this so the benefit is contextual to the culture.

Thanks for this comment.  We have offered them all at noon until this fall.  We consistently heard that some people can't take advantage of them then.  So, we are trying evening, but that creates problems for others.  We hope the archive will help all those who can't be on at a specified time. 

Steve, re: your Oct 14 question about participation:

I'm interested in Jul's webinar, but it will be given at night, when I'm usually busy with family stuff.  I'm hoping to find it on the archive, though!

Bill will post the handout on the website today.  Steve

I just signed up for "God or Allah?" on 1 Dec and am currently listening to part 1 in the archive. The speaker refers to a handout – is that available somewhere? Thanks! Stan

I will always be a Calvinist. I like doctrinal expressions. Thanks Ibemebu   I always take peoples words to heart. Thanks

Yes, it takes money to improve lives globally. Food, shelter, clothing are universal needs for all people. Providing the means for people to meet these needs requires them to be able to generate money for provisions.

Hello aguilla1,

It can be a bit difficult to navigate all the links. CRWM in Canada is working on church to church partnerships in Cuba. What kinds of resources would be helpful? I think that the cultural resources are applicable to Cuba as well.Even if you are not focusing specifically on development/diaconal work, as CRWRC emphasizes, the disproportionate amount of money between the two groups is an issue that will need to be addressed.

Hopefully Steve or Trish will chime in here as they have more experience with Cuba specifically.

It might also be good if you started a conversation in the Discussion Forum so that others in church to church partnerships can respond and share ideas. 

posted in: How is it?

CRC news had an article on iGPS - the Inter-agency Global Partnership Strategy which I found interesting and possibly helpful.

However, after following links provided, It seems most of the resources and discussions given are for CRWRC type work where help and assistance to third world countries are provided.

I was hoping that there would be a special area reserved just for NA churches connect with other churches.

It may be helpful to describe how other churches in the world manages their responsibilities.  We have a connection to another church in Cuba. Beside language problems, their relationship with their government is quite different compared to us as well as how they interrelate to us. In NA we tend to be quite more individualistic rather than communal.

It could be helpful for other churches to know what to expect if there is some descriptions in terms of language, governance, communication preferences etc etc.

posted in: How is it?

oops! I mean kelib, I have calvinized you, sorry! 

 

This is an invitation to kelvin—Please stay!  If this site is just for people who want to stay on the surface of the challenge to be disciples of, and community in Christ then it may as well be a news site.

I admire kelvin for (his or her) willingness to be vulnerable with a community of faceless posters. My own experience has been that it takes a brave soul to lead others by example to express their struggles, frustrations, pain.

How others react to our vulnerability opens the door or closes it. If the door is opened, other folks usually start sharing their struggles, because none of us is without pain. What better place to bring our confusion and hurts than to the feet of Jesus and our community of fellow believers who, when they are willing, embrace us and lift us up. I have been blessed (and surprised!) more often than not in seeing those doors open WIDE within various Christian small groups and churches I have been a part of, and beautiful community has been built.

I thank kelvin too because (he or she) points us to the importance of KNOWING one another. One of the most important things for humans is to know and BE KNOWN. All praise and thanksgiving to the God who knows us completely! Enriching further is when our community knows us and embraces us with our vulnerabilities and our strengths, our rough edges and smooth, ministers to us and invites us to minister to each other and beyond.

It is also in this kind of healthy community that we may differ at times and yet fully love one another. Yeah, kelvin, I hope you stay to help build this community.

My point was you don't have to respond, not the church. If we can't agree here with our Christian brothers what is going to be different at your table? Would you be willing to accept idea's that you don't agree with because person A,B and C are not going to agree without somebody changing their veiw?

 

Hi Kelib,

Thanks for responding to the post!

What I meant about the HOW sometimes being a political issue is that it can happen that two (or more) people who agree on the need for action related to a problem may totally disagree on the KIND of action.  For example person A may think that the way forward on youth at risk is to provide lots of city and county funding for programs aimed at the youth and their families to reconnect them to being healthy citizens—restorative justice,  Person B may think the way forward is to fund a robust crime stopping program and ramp up the police force to remove troubled teens from the community,  Person C may think that there’s no good government/funding solution and that the Church or  local sports groups , or the local 4-H should work harder at growing healthy kids, and parents should just do a better job parenting.  I think that when we are entertaining solutions that involve our communities’ systems and structures that that becomes a political question as well as a personal response. Political in this sense then is referring to being related to (local in this case) government. It can also be understood as party politics at times because sometimes our political framework corresponds with the way we see that solutions should move forward, but I wasn’t talking about party politics here.

No one is forcing me to respond to social issues;  that is for sure! I just happen to believe that as a disciple of Jesus that I am called to be in the world and working toward solutions to problems and suffering I see.

But back to my idea in the original post. That was  the dream that the church could provide the “table” for persons A,B, and C and many others to come together and to look for solutions, that it would be great to be able to sit in safety with my brothers and sisters in my church community and talk about this kind of thing even if we differ in our opinions about how. We would grow in our understanding of each other and maybe come up with some innovative response to the issue we’re talking about because we’re together.

I suppose we could also use your point and say “no one is forcing the church to respond to social issues”. That is also an exciting topic.

For me though, I’m less interested in the lofty theological discussion, as important as they are, and more interested in the actual action pieces. For those of us Christians who choose, and are not forced, to respond to social issues, what are we doing that’s exciting? And how is that affecting our church or vice versa?

What is politcal about the HOW?  Nobody is forcing you to contribute just to try to find a solution for various social problems.

I think she is pleading to indivduals not church as a whole.I think we should be open to all schools of thought on how we address the poor and sick among us.  As long as its based on the concept of Gods love.

I live most days working on this in my own isolated world. I watch and the Lord does the rest. He as even brought people to my front door (they didn't know it) because when your poor in spirit the Holy Spirit can fill the void! He can turn your words and actions so they grab hold of who you are testifing.

We've had 751 reads of this info as of Oct. 14.  The number of of people who have signed up for an participated in webinars, however, has been rather modest.  So, could we provide more interesting topics.  Are the times of day problematic?  Or, are we all just too busy to take advantage of great resources?  If you are willing to post a comment, it would be really appreciated. 

Hi Lou,

  We live in a very busy world.  The reports I get sometimes show that an article or blog post has been viewed 200 times without a single comment being left.  So the fact that there aren't a lot of posts doesn't mean that people aren't reading and thinking.  Many prefer to ponder, and we need to leave room for that.  There is more and more contact and cooperation across agency lines, but erasing those lines altogether is not quickly embraced, as you know.  There are a lot of issues.  Thanks for being engaged.  Steve 

I may not understand the function of these pages*.  But six months have gone by and this is only the forth post on what could be so very important for missions and the denomination.  Where are the "people in the pew"?  They must be reading  the funnies, or who knows what. 

Fellow retired missionary colleagues, where are you?  Short term missions leaders, where are you? 

Lou

PS *Wendy, maybe I should have known that this topic was for "the upper levels."  But then I ask, why did Rev. Dykstra go public with it, and why was it put on this public/social media page?

This film is beyond amazing.  I saw an initial screening a few weeks ago and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  Shorty and Tita (two of the people who tell their stories during the film) have powerful testimonies and the work they're doing is incredible.  This is a must-see film.

What seems to be a key thought to me is that the Father sent his son INTO the world. It was an incarnational ministry of presence. How are we sent INTO the world; making meaningful connections with people, institutions and communities? How are we partnering with the Holy Spirit in bringing about God's kingdom, "thy kindgdom come... in earth as it is in heaven"?Individually or collectively, there needs to be meaningful connection, an incarnational ministry of presence with and among, not separate from.

For those subscribed to email alerts on this post...note that registration is now open for all webinars in this list. Enjoy!

I'm afraid the 800 numbers are for US and Canadian use only.  We are looking into the idea of delivering audio via the internet.  Until we have that capability, it will just be too expensive to go beyond North America.  Steve

 Are the 800 numbers valid for international traffic or have they been ordered for USA traffic only?

Are you finding the ideas you need?  If not, what are you looking for?  Steve

posted in: How is it?

Hi Jeff,

The link did work for me after a software download.  Try this.

http://www.crcna.org/pages/crwm_education_unleashed.cfm#Archives

Steve

I joined b/c I need ideas.  I tired of the same old movie nights, potluck dinners, etc. 

Our church married the two outreach and world missions;  global and local and in our community it works well.  In Greater Vancouver, the world is literally at our doorsteop. 

posted in: How is it?

 Hi Lou, I think those discussions are going on at the upper levels. I haven't heard of anything concrete happening, just meetings. Steve and I are part of an interagency group that works with churches and we meet regularly. We work quite closely to help bring missions to the forefront of churches. On the field, as you probably know, the missions agencies work quite closely as well.

I'd be interested in knowing what sorts of collaboration those "in the pews" would like to see. 

Hello Mark and Steve.  Anyone else?!  This convesation supposedly started in March; I haven't seen much of anything on this.  One marginal comment from someone said this wasn't going anywhere... I hope that isn't correct.

Who's at the plate?     Lou

Steve,

This looks great!  It also mentions where there is an archive, but the link won't take me there.  What would that address be?

 

 

Good example story!  I wonder if the approach of trying to keep the committee alive by better recruiting and such might be only a bandaid answer.  I am wondering if in the life of the congregations of NA, there needs to be a new or renewed look and understanding of why we are here as congregations in the first place.  We disbanded our "outreach" committee a number of years ago because just the committee members were doing any outreach attempts. They were burned out and wanted to disband so they did.  I (as pastor here) was not in a hurry to form a new committee until the congregation hears the call from the Lord to be witnesses here and way out there.  We still support missionaries elsewhere in the world and they come and speak at our gatherings from time to time.  We send members of the congregation on short and medium mission projects (I don't really distinguish between CRWRC and CRWM type work, they all tend to work and witness).  They come back and share stories and integrate their experiences into their lives.  To build capacity for mission work, I think our congregations along with their pastors and leaders (myself included), need to do the hard work of listening together to God's will for them in their specific contexts.  Ours is growing multicultural and "world missions" is right next door, literally.  We have to seek the Spirit of our Lord to guide us into new ways of being neighbors.  Also our far away missionaries have to be a part of our journey of discovery somehow.  They have more experience than we do.  The technology exists to skype, chat, facebook, whatever, with anyone in the world it seems.  Perhaps our denominational organizations have to leverage that connectedness for the local believer's benefit somehow.  I have heard that "we are in a time of change for the Church in NA, that is as big and significant as the Reformation of the 15-1600's was."  I am slowly starting to see what that person meant who said that (I think it was Gil Rendle, formerly of the Alban Institute).  Do we need deeper questions or simply renewed techniques?

posted in: The End of Missions

 Dear Moderator Steve,

You said, “Increasing high school graduation rates is an obvious good.  Who is against it?”

It’s not who can be against it that is the issue. The question that trips us up in the discussion is the HOW?

Well meaning Christians, united to address an issue, can vary widely and wildly in the HOW. So to you what may be an easy assumption… who can be against improving high school graduation rates? For others can be seen as a issue that has political under and over tones…will that mean increased funding out of tax dollars? Will that let the government into private, Christian schools? Will the government require a nation-wide “one curriculum” to be foisted on all schools? What will be the role of the federal government vs. the local school board; will this be a threat to local control of education? Yeah, lots of differing ideas and concerns out there when we start looking at the HOW.

However, I’d love to see more LOCAL CHURCHes  jump in. But  it’s not  hearing the voice of “the church” I’m looking for. I feel a need and longing for the “comfort” of the church, for the church to create safe spaces for Christians to engage their faith and their daily life…struggling with each other and their understanding of Christ’s call on their life and their action in the world. EVEN when we differ on the how.

By the way, yesterday I met with my local representative to  Congress (little towns have an advantage..we were at the same lunch counter together, and he’s running for re-election). So I took that moment to tell him my dreams for improved school experience to address youth at risk, and that drop-out rate issue.  Yeah, not earth shattering, but you know what? I talked to the guy, at least that’s something. Sometimes just saying something out loud and having someone listen and/or ask questions can help you clarify your own thinking.

So if I can do that at a lunch counter in my small town, I wonder what it would be like to be able to do it in the safety of my own church with brothers and sisters as we examine the issues and struggle out possible solutions?

To me this would be a good example of something where congregations can and should get directly involved, as opposed to encouraging their members to be involved.  Increasing high school graduation rates is an obvious good.  Who is against it?  There are other situations where the demands of Biblical justice are so clear and compelling that the church must speak.  My two cents,

Hi Wendy,

  "The End of Missions" is designed to be a provocative title with a double meaning, or even triple.  End can mean purpose and also where something is going rather than just conclusion.  The piece does not mean to say that the things which First CRC is doing (in 2020) are unimportant.  Indeed, they should be part of an overall church missions strategy.  But because this committee is unconnected to them it made itself irrelevant and important values are being lost.  Least reached peoples, leadership training and other parts of missions disappeared from the church's radar.

posted in: The End of Missions

ibemeubu's invitation to share stories is interesting because it makes me realise I know of so few from first hand experience.  That again makes me wonder, as I've wondered so often before, whether the institute/organism distinction has too often served us as a reason to avoid advocacy altogether. 

Anyhow, I do recall a time when members of my congregation got involved in trying to advocate to have the city retain local fire stations near the city center.   We held a press conference in the Church, and we appeared before the city's planning commission.   The congregation had not formally taken any position, and we did not pretend we were speaking for our congregation, but we did make it clear that our concerns related to our concern for our community/ parish.  That was a satisfying experience and to this day (30+ years later) some of those local fire stations remain.

I think it's the church's responsibility to advocate for rational and loving and informed social discourse on tough issues. And to model that in the way we deal with the tough issues internally!   I think the church (and I mean the institutional church as well as the church as organism) needs to help shape social justice conversations by showing how to be passionate and prophetic while being reasonable and respectful.  I think the church needs to press for high quality debate in the neighborhood, in the media, in the cofffee room, and in the council room. 

Grand Rapids is in the roll-out period of a large initiative to increase the percent of high school kids who graduate.  It's privately funded, and it's wholistic, and it's long term.   The public school system, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and families and churches will be engaged.    Should congregations engage formally?  I guess that is debatable, but I lean toward answering Yes.   It's a justice issue, and it's sure to get political if it's got any validity at all, but it's very urgent, and I think bi-partisan.  So I tend to think it's an example of a place to make an "exception".   

What do others think? 

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