Resource, Website

World Renew, formerly known as CRWRC, is the relief and development arm of the Christian Reformed Church. World Renew reaches out in God's name to people, both in North America and around the world, who are struggling with poverty, hunger, disaster, and injustice to help them find lasting ways to improve their lives.

December 18, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

Christian Reformed World Missions' task is to lead the CRC in her obedience to the Great Commission.

December 18, 2009 0 0 comments

What is the first image that comes into your mind when you hear the word "Mission?"Do you picture a rescue mission for homeless people in a decaying neighborhood, or a 19th century missionary in a pith helmet and khaki shorts?  Perhaps you think of a mission statement which your church labored to produce and now is struggling to implement (or has forgotten about).

December 16, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Is your church interested in partnerships as a way to strengthen your church’s missions focus? The agencies of the CRCNA are committed to providing high-quality partnership opportunities for churches like yours.

December 5, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Ready to explore a global partnership? Check out these steps to help you prepare well so you won't cause harm along the way.

December 3, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

Whether you’re a carpenter or cattle rancher, pastor or plumber, bookkeeper or baker, typist or teacher…or just have a passion for missions, there’s a place for you in God’s mission.

December 3, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

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 church, this article is for you.

December 3, 2009 0 1 comments
Resource, Article

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.

December 3, 2009 0 0 comments
Resource, Website

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



The idea of a cross-cultural or transnational partnership is gaining some traction as an alternative to one off STM visits.  This can be a real advance it seems to me.  But, there are significant potential pitfalls to be avoided as well.  As Lou said, money that is sent without adequate supervision and structure does very little good.  In fact, it can do a lot of harm.  When we were living in Romania the average monthly income was around $100.  One of my students figured out that one year at Notre Dame would cost more than her father made in a lifetime.  So, what appears to be a small amount of money to Americans and Canadians can really distort the system in many parts of the world.  For LOTS more on global partnerships you can take a look here.  Steve

Thanks Wendy


Hi Ken, It depends greatly on the size of the audience and his existing schedule. Here is his website:

Lou, do you remember the story of the woman washing Christ's feet with expensive oil? Do remember what the apostle's thought about it? I think that is what I am talking about when I read your post. Ken

Well Lou I am not looking for your blessing, What I am observing is the verifiable need for a cultural sensitive training but the argument doesn't have to be at the expense of other ministries. As far as harm is concerned who are you to judge what other people;s experience and calling  from God is valid.

I'm sick Lou, yet I have done street ministries with mixed results I assume because I have faith that Jesus will use what I can offer. Your questioning my validity! Please Lou I don;t know how to explain my point and need your understanding. Ken

There is so very much to say on this topic; that is why Steve hit on something that is getting this much repsonse.  Just a couple of comments and questions: Allen and Ken write:. "...working side by side....two way blessings..."  When will the Zambian pastor be making a visit to your church to help you in the work there?  Correct, its far from only about $$; but read the literature and ask how many short-termers ever keep up the relationships, even corresponding, let alone mutual re-visits?  And NO, don't EVER just "send them the money."  Unless there is a well-structured and supervised organization and plan in place, most money will do very liitle good.  On the "blessing" front, I am so very tired of the cliche of hearing young people say "we thought we were going to help them, but WE were the ones to be blessed."  My understanding of Christian stewardship is that we expect NOTHING - not even that ephimeral blessing - in return. But yes, invest it the most wisely.  In a world where mission dollars are scarce, I can't justify a California reformed group going to Uganda for two weeks to "set up a library, build something, and help start a church" at a cost of $83,000 ($4,300 each person).      If you haven't yet read Fikkert's  When Helping Hurts, go to Chapter 7 "Doing Short-Term Missions without doing Long-Term Harm" and when you can tell me that you are meeting 90% of the critieria that he sets forth, I'll give you my "blessing."! Lou    


Hi Steve, How much does this guy charge if you would like him to come to our church or school?

I agree Allen, I think all missions are two way blessings and should be sought after. Your church sounds like they are committed. God bless you and your church.


My situation is this, we are working at growing a deeper partnering relationship with a Zambian pastor and his church (s) we have been supporting for some time. Two of us recently went there and firmly believe that working side by side even in stms is valuable. They want it and we want it. I can't help think that the discussion should not be all about best use of $$ because we all know it is not cheap to send people to Africa, but rather the significance of building such a relationship for the long-haul. It is valuable for them in connecting people and for us. Sometimes we need to experience a different culture just to see what God is doing and can do. Some people might say, "just send them money", but is that necessarily the best option for every situation?

Hi Lou, Welcome back from the sun. I think we need a clarification what kind of missionaries there are and the role they play in God's kingdom. When I think of home missions, I think of my nieghbor or the checker  at a coffee shop or anybody you come into contact with that presents a oppurtunity to help and witness to. Maybe we should call it personal missions. This is a very effective if you are willing to step out and do it. It requires a willing heart,the Holy Spirit and wisdom. It doesn't require money from the church and the goal is to get them into a body of believers so they can be supported.

Stm"s  Is something different and I can see how the training becomes important to understand the culture.of the place. My main concern is missions should be a broad definition of evangelizing to the lost people every where and especially here at home. Christians have a diminshed reputation because of the actions of a few highly visable movements. We need to change that.

Snowbird travel and transition got me behind on reading this link.  On 11/11 Steve wrote:

"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. "

"Qualitative difference" - we can't afford an inferior witness.  And the Holy Spirit notwithstanding, even in God's economy to a large extent "you get what you pay for."  STMs are misspending a lot of our mission resources.

For me - and I belive for the American churches - this is a foundational question that still needs a lot of clarifying debate and resolution.  After reading Fikkert's When Helping Hurts, I pretty much came down again on my original side of the fence I've tried to straddle out of convenience (if you can't fight them, join them), but now I'm 90% in favor of not sending STMs abroad, for both missiological (as per the discussion) and economic reasons. 

Who is carrying on the best discussion of that?   Are we close to resolution?


Hi Steve, When your in Lynden stop by for coffee. 360-961-5835 I'll buy. Lcs is where my daughter goes to high school.

A lot of comments about how do we do this, what should we do, the church must or should......., A very interesting question I read a while ago was, How come you Christians never show up if you are not in control, this may tie in with Kuiper's writing mentioned above about church and state being separated, with which i agree 100%. BUT, we should be in the business of the state, of inner city youth work, of shelters for the homeless etc., we are called to be the salt of the earth, does this saying imply that too much salt is not good?

Pretty cool, but a little fast.

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? 


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.