Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Open... The US Mission Community's response to some of the biggest challenges facing our world today

If you know me, you know that I am a passionate voice for people going on mission to be prepared.  If you follow me, you know I've written much on this over the years.

I do not believe it is enough to have a heart of gold, be filled with desire, purchase a plane ticket to somewhere named wayoverthereistan and then just go!  That type of mission mindset is what many of us in the field are talking about when we talk about good intentions/bad mission.

Over the last 20 years, we have seen the short-term mission game improve by leaps and bounds.  Yes, there are still guerilla mission trips where outsiders arrive en masse and set up shop for a few hours of “Gospel Ministry” and “Street Evangelism” before retiring to safe ministry bases miles away, but thankfully, that trend has diminished substantially.

Now it is much more common to see teams on short-term mission going with a clear goal of entering into the local culture and being learner servants.  We no longer see hoards of short-term teams throwing food and candy from the windows of school busses crammed full of students while trying to say “Jesus loves you” in a foreign language.

Where are still too many teams, individuals and organizations whose mission goal is dedicated to primarily serving those who go, as opposed to people “over there,” you cannot make a credible argument that short-term mission has not turned a corner from our early years of anything goes.

Now we are a much more disciplined group that strives to hear to heart of God and the heart of those we serve, where ever that may be.

Much of that improvement has come as a result of the work of a small group of dedicated people who have served through the Alliance for Excellence in Short-Term Mission, or AESTM, for many years.  It was the leadership of AESTM that made possible the Fellowship of Short-Term Mission Leaders, the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission and the National Short-Term Missions Conference.

Each of these branches of AESTM worked hard to provide different levels of training and expertise to a rapidly growing short-term industry over the last 25 years.

Now AESTM has partnered with Missio Nexus and the larger long-term mission world in an effort to unify the different mission approaches world wide as we continue our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus gave us.

This September 25 - 27, AESTM and Missio Nexus will be hosting the 2014 Mission Leaders Conference in Atlanta.  There is no better place to hear what God is doing around the globe, talk to the leadership of the North American mission movement, get connected and, above all, learn.  Last year over 1000 leaders from around the globe, representing both long and short-term mission, churches and schools gathered in Dallas.  It was an incredible coming together of the different worlds of mission in one place. 

Do you care about missions?  Do you believe that we should give our best and go prepared when we leave our shores to serve in the Great Commission?  Are you trying to discern whether God is calling you into a lifetime of Christian service abroad?

Then, hands down, you need to be in Atlanta in September.

Too often we complain about the quality of our mission serve, especially when we cross cultural barriers and go overseas.  Here’s an opportunity to be better prepared, better informed and better connected.

Whether you are considering an overseas posting, on a mission committee at your local church, or a support person or CEO in a mission organization, the 2014 North American Mission Leaders Conference should be on your God bucket list for this year.

I’ll be there... will you?

Register Now!

[full disclosure... I have been part of the Fellowship of Short Term Mission Leaders Conferences for many years and served on the steering committee of that group from 2010 to 2013.]