Short Term Mission projects for Church Groups.

See also SHORTERM.


QUESTION From: Hebert Sardy <> as representative of Operation Mobilization in Venezuela, In our country we've had a lot of conferences about mission so far, but not so many missionaries in the field. I am planning the work for next year, and want to focus on contact with pastors, as they are the key to seeing missionaries go. Would someone share with me effective ways that have worked for you in this area?"

ANSWER From: DDougherty@XC.Org (David Dougherty) OC International has had significant success in this area. My friend Stan Herod, who serves with OC) has been involved in starting a sending agency in Guatemala. I don't have contact information for Stan, but could reach him through OC.

ANSWER From: Beram <> One effective way I have found in mobilizing pastors is by "serving them first" with no strings attached. Most pastors fear "what missions will cost" them as a church !! (Allow GOD to bring conviction and direction). I do that here by sending a "prayer package" every month .. with transparency and everything AT NO COST (as long as they pray). It serves them in terms of resources and "up-to-date" info. which many pastors know where to get it But don't have the time to; It serves the mission field in PRAYER; it mobilizes the church as the Pastor sees interest generated amongst it's people as a result of the Prayer Mtgs. (I have had churches that have on their own initiative .. after prayer - come up to do something for the "items they prayed for". eg. recently I had a couple of churches raise support to buy s/w radios for an Unreached People Group). Another thing to seriously pray about is - "looking for an existing FORMAL or IMFORMAL network" amongst the pastors and start working your way from the "centre" or the "top" (however you look at it !). Most places have this in place .. often times it is informal BUT it is real !! Finally, Missions Conf. are great but are by no means the tool to mobilizing missionaries. The true "work" starts after the Missions Conf. What do we do in terms of follow-up ... training ... counselling ... internship. If these are not in place - no amount of conferencing will help.

ANSWER From: Neal Pirolo <> I can feel with you regarding the privileged, but sometimes toilsome task of mobilizing pastors. I do 100% agree with you that this is the first step in fielding missionaries. THEY NEED A HOME CHURCH THAT IS AWARE OF THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE MISSIONARIES THEY SEND OUT. You can visit our ministry at our WebSite: <> There you will see that we are an educational resource for cross-cultural ministry. One resource that many churches are finding valuable is a book titled, SERVIENDO AL ENVIAR OBRAROS, Como apoyar a sus misioneros mientras se preparan para salir, mientras estan en el campo, y cuando regresan a casa. The English translation is being used in colleges not only in missions classes, but for pastoral training! For who more than the pastor needs to know how to care for the missionaries they send out...

ANSWER From: DG ...At the COMIBAM 97 Congress, there was quite a bit of discussion in our group about the fact that Pastors have been determined to be the number one hindrance to Missions in the Kingdom. There are several reasons for this, but we tried to focus on those reasons which were in areas that we as mobilizers could do something about. We began to understand that part of the reason for the pastor's lack of cooperation was due to:

1. Missions people are often highly motivated, strong, vision oriented people. When they visit the churches, they have a tendency to come across way to strong thus giving the pastor, who often times possesses the same qualities, the feeling that he is losing control.

2. Pastors also have their own Kingdom Vision. Unfortunately it is usually limited to just their local church and area, and to them, that gets overwhelming enough. The thought of expanding out to the world would mean that their own vision to build up a grand church with all the trimmings might have to be put on the altar. This is a difficult thought for someone who has given there life to this end.

3. In the process of raising up a church, a pastor has put a lot of tears, time, and energy into raising up and maturing his lay leadership. When a missions mobilizer comes to visit, he is looking to mobilize mature Christians into the field. This causes the pastor to balk because he did not spend all that time and effort to see someone else take his leaders away from him.

4. Many times we speak to the youth of the church to instill a missions vision in them. When one of them gets the vision, the thought of them going off to some other land scares their families. So their families put pressure on the pastors to redirect them into more local ministry. If the pastor does not respond to the parents request, there can be a seed of bitterness planted in the church by the parents that the pastor would rather avoid.

Real or imagined, these are some of the obstacles that Missions Mobilizers will have to deal with in pastors at the local church level. The following are a couple of ideas that are being pursued by two different groups and our own, to help overcome the problem:

1. COMHINA, the North American arm of COMIBAM, is now seeking a missions minded pastor that could take on an official COMHINA position to act as an intermediary between the Pastors and the Missions Groups. He would, in effect, be a 'Pastor' to the Pastors. He would need to be well informed about missions, but also well experienced in Pastoring. A man with good communications skills, clarity of vision, but not overbearing. His job would be to help the individual pastors see their responsibility to obey the Great Commission on the local church level, and to begin to tear down the walls of mistrust between local pastors and missions.

2. Mike Burnam, a WEC missionary in Mexico, has been commissioned by the WEC Mexico Team to develop and begin coordinating a mobilization strategy that would deal with most of the problems above. He has begun a group in Mexico on a national level called 'Hombres de Integridad' that is working closely with the 'Promise Keepers' organization in North America. Although 'Hombres de Integridad' [HI] uses quite a bit of the Promise Keepers literature, and it has a close relationship with them, they maintain a clear distinction between themselve and PK, and they do not consider themselves a Latin American Promise Keepers group.

The HI vision is to utilize the 7 promises of a Promise Keeper to begin to build up the local churches. This will tear down the barriers between missionaries and pastors when they see the missionaries working to help the pastors build up their churches. The 7th promise is to obey and support the Great Commission. HI is developing another step past the Promise Keepers 7 promises at this point. HI plans to utilize the 7th promise as a spring board into the next level which they call 'the Seven Steps of Missions'.

At this level HI, together with WEC, is planning to implement what they are calling their 20/1 plan. The plan would have an HI/WEC missionary comes in alongside of a local church to help the pastor raise up 20 couples to maturity while at the same time educating the pastor and the church about missions. When there are 20 couples working in leadership with the pastor, HI/WEC wants the church to agree to send one of them into cross-cultural ministry.

HI in Mexico would like to see this accomplished in 20 churches and has begun the program already. They are also talking about exporting the HI concept to other Latin American countries now, so there might be something of interest in this for you. Mike Burnam would be the person to talk to. He can be reached at: Mike Burnam, Hombres de Integridad, Av. Vicente Guerrero #400 primer piso, APDO. Postal 216, Civac, Jiutepec, Morelos, C.P. 62500 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico <74054.3660@Compuserve.Com>

3. We, here at SIERVOS, have had some success in mobilizing churches by introducing them to and helping them to develop a relationship with indigenous ministry and missions leaders from outside the USA. We are now involved in building what we call a West African/Latin American Indigenous Missions Network, for lack of a better name. One of the reasons for this is because of the results we have seen by introducing the African Christians Fellowship Intl. [ACFI] ministry based out of Liberia to some churches in the USA.

We have one Mexican brother who has been ministering in Spain on tourist visas and is now getting ready to leave Spain for the purpose of applying for his residency there. He has to make application from outside the country. Instead of bringing him back to Mexico, we are working on getting him to Liberia. He will spend one year with ACFI being our guinea pig there. He will minister, work, and live with the Liberians with the purpose of helping us to learn how to better facilitate relationships Latin Americans and Africans.

Rev. T. Edward Kofi, Founder and Executive Director of ACFI, very much wants to begin network relationships with Latin America. ACF needs help in the form of human resources, and they can provide places where Latin Americans could get good, supervised cross-cultural ministry experience. The ACFI bases in West Africa could also be used as bases from which Latin Americans could be sent out into the surrounding areas. Eventually, the vision is to put together multi-cultural missions teams comprised of Africans, Latin Americans, and maybe some Afro-Americans which would be sent into difficult Moslem areas North of Liberia. On the flip side, we would like to send a few Africans to Latin America to learn Spanish and Latin Culture so that they could begin representing their African ministries in Latin America and also work together with the Latin American Missions agencies as Missions Mobilizers in the Latin American Churches.

By sending these Africans into Latin American Churches to mobilize, we feel that they will have a bigger impact on the local churches because we have brought a bit of the mission field, and it's needs, into direct contact with the local church on a personal level. We are hoping that this will raise up a world view in the local church based on relationship instead of organization. That is to say they have met a real person from around the world with a real history and with real needs instead of the more impersonal missions organization rep speaking to them at a conference or church about theoretical needs that they really cannot conceive of nor care about.

As I said in the beginning of this letter. We have some ideas and are working towards there solutions. We do not claim to have a lot of success =yet=, but we do think the potential is there. If you want to be kept up on what we are doing, let me know and I will put you on the mailing list.

ANSWER From: Shane Bennett <> My bias is to encourage churches to adopt specific unreached peoples. In the context of that approach, two keys seem important: A contingent of prayers, small or large, who will bring the pastor before God, asking Him to burden the pastor as He sees fit. The second key is, when God does give the pastor vision, to take him to visit the potential adopted people. Many American pastors visit Israel or other locations where they can preach. There needs to be more opportunities for pastors to visit places where the church isn't. I've seen such exposure trips give pastors great vision.


From Wade Harlan <>

Here's the debrief from the Perspectives Exposure Seminar for pastors that I helped facilitate. Excuse the length, but I've tried to include all the info you need to host one of these yourself. I feel like it was a very worthwhile investment of time and energy and I'd strongly encourage you to seriously consider hosting one.

Thursday and Friday morning November 13 & 14, Caleb Project and MOSAIC-The Church on Brady co-sponsored a Perspectives Exposure Seminar for pastors entitled 'Kingdom Perspectives'. This seminar was quite similar to one that Meg Crossman did on October 30th in Arizona except that we focused more on senior pastors and met two consecutive mornings rather than doing it all in one day. We had 12 participants (7 Senior Pastors, 3 Associate pastors, and 2 mission agency leaders). Our numbers were well under the limit of 25 that we had set. We advertised that the seminar was for Senior Pastors and that Associate Pastors could only come if their Senior Pastor also attended. When we saw that our numbers were low, we opened it to mission agency leaders as well.

Meg Crossman, Steve Halley, Lee Purgason were all able to attend. After debriefing with them and Erwin McManus(Senior Pastor at MOSAIC-The Church on Brady) and reviewing the participants' evaluation sheets here's what we learned.


******WHAT WORKED WELL**********

SEASONED SPEAKERS: J. Christy Wilson (Biblical), Tom Wolf (Historical), Don Richardson (Cultural), and Harry Larson (Strategy) all were experienced teachers able to present the material in a manner relevant to pastors. The 15 minute dramatic portrayal of Hudson Taylor that I did seemed to be an effective addition to the history section.

SCHEDULE: Holding the seminar over 2 mornings helped the participants from being too overwhelmed. The breakfast times provided good opportunities for fellowship and the lunch times provided great opportunities for Q&A with the speakers. Here's the schedule we used:

7:45 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast & Registration

8:00 - 8:05 a.m. Welcome: Seminar Emcee

8:05 - 10:00 a.m. Day 1-Biblical/ Day 2-Cultural

10:00 - 10:10 a.m. Break

10:10 - 12:10 p.m. Day 1-Historical/ Day 2-Strategic

12:10 - 12:20 p.m. Break while lunch is served

12:20 - 1:10 p.m. Lunch: Q & A with main speakers

SIZE: Keeping the seminar small and focused on senior pastors (pastoral staff could only come if accompanied by their Senior Pastor) enhanced interaction with the speakers and between the participants. Having great speakers her in LA and simple meals helped us to break even financially.

RESOURCE TABLE & HANDOUTS: While not a lot of books were bought, having a resource table and a handout on good resources for each of the sections helped pastors become a little more familiar with good missions and mobilization resources. Handouts tracing God's heart for "all nations" throughout the major events of the Old and New Testaments and on upcoming Perspectives classes were given out as well.

Seminar Evaluation: This provided some good feedback, but follow-up phone calls and personal conversations were most effective in eliciting frank feedback.



ESSENTIAL CONCEPTS: Just like in the Arizona seminar, some of our speakers didn't cover all of what we feel are essential concepts in the Perspectives material. This is not easy to do in a two hour time frame, but next time we hope to better facilitate this by giving each speaker a list ahead of time with the most essential concepts to cover in their section. (see list below - please give us input if you feel we've left anything out)

USE OF SENIOR PASTORS: Though all of the speakers did a good job, feedback from some of the participants indicated that the strategy/wrap-up section would have had more impact if the speaker had been a Senior Pastor. This would have enabled more practical discussion on the issues that Senior Pastors face as they seek to implement the material covered in the seminar. Having a Senior Pastor teach the Biblical Section and one to serve as emcee/host for the whole seminar is stongly recommended.

PROMOTION: Our seminar was a pre-conference for MOSAIC-The Church on Brady's annual mission conference. For a minimal cost we were able to enclose a flyer with the conference promotional materials that went out to over 7000 people. Next time our promotional strategy will involve much more personal contact (sound familiar, coordinators?) and we will especially try to get pastors to recruit other pastors. Also it may prove effective to approach mission committees and try to get them to sponsor their pastor for the seminar.

PARTICIPANT INTERACTION: Limiting the class just to pastors and seating them at tables was very conducive to good interaction. To facilitate even more frank discussion, it may be smart to not allow any observers or visitors in the sessions. Next time we will ask each participant at the beginning to introduce themselves and to briefly share where their church is currently at with regard to mission. During the final lunch we'll have the participants share how they hope to move their church further in mission involvement, and what further assistance or networking they need to do this.

It might work better to do the conference on same morning two weeks in a row so that it doesn't take such a big chunk out of a pastor's weekly schedule.

Though these Exposure Seminars are much simpler that hosting a full-blown Perspectives course it is nonetheless very helpful to have a team of people working to organize and carry out these seminars.



BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. When completed, participants should understand: - that God's desire to be glorified among "the nations" is not just an idea that came up at the end of Jesus' life, but that it is God's eternal purpose, the central theme of the Bible, and is played out in the major events of both the Old and New Testaments. - the foundational importance of the Abrahamic covenant and the concept that believers are "blessed to be a blessing". - that mission is all about building God's kingdom and seeing Him receive maximum glory and worship from every nation, tongue, and tribe (Rev 7:9). - Jesus' strategy to reach the Gentiles. - the main verb and participles in Mt. 28:18-20 and the ministry implications of this.

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE. When completed, participants should understand: - the five 400 year periods since Christ, especially as they illustrate the idea that God blessed those nations who sought to share the gospel with other nations and removed blessings from those who didn't share the gospel. - how God furthers his mission with or without the steady obedience of His people. - the 3 eras of Protestant mission history including the pioneers, focus, time frame,& key lessons learned. Participants should be feel motivated by the fact that we are living in extraordinary times - the 3rd and FINAL era of mission history! - the importance of mission agencies (sodalities) in launching Protestant missions. - that the "No saints in the middle" theory is false - that God and his purposes didn't blink out from 300-1792 A.D. - the four stages of mission activity and the tensions inherent in the transitions.

CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE. When completed, participants should understand: - contextualization, its Biblical roots, and be able to give examples of its application - identification, bonding,and the role of learner, their Biblical roots and be able to give examples of their application - ethnocentrism and be able to give examples of its potential negative impact on cross-cultural ministry. - culture shock - what it is and how it can be minimized - worldview and its implication on the evangelization of a person/people - People movements and how they can be facilitated. - redemptive analogies and be able to give examples of them.

STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVE. When completed, participants should understand:

- the difference between reached and unreached peoples and between regular & frontier mission.

- the value of the people group approach,the priority of frontier mission and the concept of closure

- the 10/40 window, the number & major blocks of UPGs.

- E1, E2, & E3 Evangelism and how they impact strategy

- viable roles for Western missionaries

- obedience oriented education and the spontaneous multiplication of churches

- tentmaking

- its importance and potential advantages and pitfalls

- the implications of the exciting increases of majority (2/3) world missionaries

- that "the unreached are poor and the poor are unreached" and how Christian Relief & Development & Christian Community Development can have impact among the unreached.

- the roles of the Holy Spirit and the missionary in planting indigenous churches and directing change.

- practical ways that churches are engaging the unreached (to include the AD 2000 & Beyond & Adopt-A-People movements, prayer, sending, advocacy and partnerships)

- practical issues that Senior Pastors typically face in getting their churches more actively involved in impacting Unreached Peoples.