Missions - Section 1

  • To engage in mission is to participate in the coming of the kingdom of God. • We are to seek first the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33). • We are to hunger for the justice of the kingdom (Mt 5:6). • The desire for the kingdom to come should be foremost among our prayerful petitions (Mt 6:10). • Jesus' first sermon was about the kingdom at hand (Mk 1:14- 15; Lk 4:18). • Jesus said that the purpose of his teaching was the proclamation of the mystery of the kingdom (Lk 8:10). • History will not end until the kingdom has been preached to all ethnic groups in the world (Mt 24:14). • Jesus' final instruction on earth concerned the kingdom (Acts 1:1-8). Following his resurrection and prior to his ascension, the Lord devoted his last opportunity for face-to-face teaching to the kingdom. - From location 80 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Faith in Christ is not merely a way of getting away from the problems of life or finding peace and strength in their midst. Rather, living in Christ radically changes life. All of God's people are engaged in full-time Christian service! - From location 94 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • God is inviting us on a treasure hunt. Our privilege is to be so led by the Spirit of God that we can find treasures in this new context that had been hidden from our eyes previously. Not only were they hidden from us because we've never been there before, they may even have been hidden from the eyes of the people who live there. - From location 126 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • We must work at the missionary mandate. We are told by the Lord that the “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Nothing could be clearer: The gospel will be preached. This is the prophecy. But the prophecy does not relieve us of the responsibility of participating in its fulfillment by becoming agents through which it comes to pass. - From commentary on John 19:28 from the Boice Expositional COmmentary Series (27 volumes) by James Montgomery Boice.
  • Thus, God invites us to lift up before others' eyes the ways God is at work among and through them, and all the strengths and gifts they are bringing to their own community. We don't go to bring treasures. Nor do we go to take them home. Rather, we help discover treasures that are present among the people with whom we serve, and together with them, we praise God for God's great kindness. - From location 129 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Walk with humility. Remember, you are showing up late to a meeting. God has been at work among these people long before you arrived! - From location 135 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Embrace with affirmation. Your greatest gift to the people you meet will be affirmation, not criticism. - From location 135 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Live with vulnerability. Don't be afraid of weakness-it's normal. - From location 136 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Practice flexibility. Always expect the unexpected-you're not in control.  - From location 136 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Live as a student. Be determined to learn from everyone. - From location 137 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Work as a servant. Be willing to do whatever needs to he done.  - From location 138 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Speak as a storyteller. Let the Spirit tell God's story through you. - From location 138 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • The long-term impact of your service will be deeply affected by the quality of your preparation, and the long-term impact on your own life will be deeply affected by the quality of your debriefing and integration. Therefore, one gift you can give yourself is to begin preparing now for your return home. Here are some suggestions. Reflect on the "Eight Great Questions." What might God want you to learn through this short-term mission trip? Keep the questions in mind throughout your trip, and refer to them occasionally. - From location 141 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn     
  • Eight Great Questions - From the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

1.  Who am I? (What can I learn about myself?)

2.  Who is God? (How can my understanding of God grow?)

3.  Who are we? (What can I learn about the community and the church?)

4.  What is the impact of culture on faith? (How can I see life and the gospel differently because of what I have experienced?)

5.  What is wrong with the world? (What can I learn about justice, poverty and the causes of suffering?)

6.  What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? (What can I learn about discipleship?)

7.  What's of value? (What can I learn about my lifestyle?)

8.  Where am I going? (What might God call me to be and to do as a result of this experience?  What can I learn about my vocation?)

  • Twelve Insights - From the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

1.   It is not the church of God that has a mission in the world, but the God of mission who has a church in the world.

2.   That which is yet to be done in the world is far less than that which has already been done.

3.   People are more alike than their cultures.

4.   Love is the universal language.

5.   Short-term mission is a treasure hunt.

6.   In crosscultural encounters we are meeting long-lost, distant relatives.

7.   God goes before you - you are catching up on a conversation that God has already begun.

8.   God does not send us to be critics.

9.   In the treasure hunt of grace, our encouragement and affirmation of people may be our most significant ministry.

10.  Our privilege is to lift Jesus up in deed and word. 

11.  The quality of our love as a team and our incorporation of new team members may be our greatest witness.

12.  God will not call us to do something without also giving us the resources to do it.

  • Galatians 2:19-20 - I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  And the live I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  • Keep reflecting on the question, How is God calling me to live differently in light of what I experienced?  - From location 147 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • "People are more alike than their cultures." We have more in common with other people than whatever it is that separates us, even with people whose way of life is unimaginably different from ours. - From location 152 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Prejudices and preconceptions form the biggest wall we must confront when we seek to cross into another culture. This wall is two-sided. We have prejudices about others, and they have their own about us. Clarifying these stereotypes is crucial to overcoming them. - From location 163 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • There is no such thing as a person who "ain't got no culture." Everyone is immersed in their culture like a fish is immersed in water. Culture is best defined as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns, social structures, values and beliefs.  - From location 172 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Every culture thinks its understanding of what is right, good and true is best.  - From location 184 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Curiosity is essential for crosscultural service. When encountering a different culture-and the "strange" ways people act, live and think-our first prayer must be for God to give us curiosity. - From location 186 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • We need to have enough curiosity to seek to understand the meanings behind people's actions, customs and ideas. If we do not penetrate beneath the surface to discover why people do what they do, we will forever be a foreigner, on the outside rather than the inside of people's lives. - From location 187 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Our task in crosscultural communication is to enter into a culture different from our own and to relate the gospel in terms that make sense to the people of that culture. This communication happens when our meanings match their meanings across a bridge of words, lives and actions.  - From location 204 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • God takes the initiative to communicate with us. Our privilege in short-term mission service is to allow the Spirit to guide us as we participate in Christ becoming a part of other people's lives. It is our responsibility to enter into their lives, not to demand that they enter into ours. God has not sent us to judge their lives and values.  - From location 211 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • It's all the more important to realize that all cultures are seeking to respond to similar needs. The answers may vary, but people's longings are alike.  - From location 214 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • In all of this, remember: • The incarnation shows us that God is the expert at crosscultural communication. • Creation reminds us that "people are more alike than their cultures." • Since we are all created in the image of God, we are encountering long-lost, distant relatives in whomever we meet-regardless of how different their lifestyle and situation may be from our own.  - From location 225 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • God will never call us into a ministry without providing the abilities we need to participate in God's purposes in it. Cultural differences are opportunities for understanding and communicating the gospel, not merely obstacles or hindrances. We simply need to learn how to use the tools. - From location 229 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Culture Fatigue - Experiencing culture fatigue is not a sign that we shouldn't have come or that we're not "spiritual" enough to cope with crosscultural ministry. Rather, it is a very natural and normal phenomenon caused by falling into the gaps between our home culture and our new one. The key is to find bridges that will carry us over these gaps of cultural differences. If we don't look for these bridges, we will likely build walls as a way of protecting ourselves. When our basic values are threatened or when we feel thwarted by a new situation, it is natural to do the following. • Criticize: "I look for what's wrong in the new situation and justify my feeling of alienation by attributing the problem to others." • Rationalize: "I never realized I was so patriotic. The way of life in my own country suddenly seems superior to everything in this new place." • Withdraw: "I had no idea how much I enjoyed listening to Christian music on my Discman®. I suddenly find myself craving time alone in my room." Some of these responses are inevitable. Everyone will experience these feelings and tendencies, but we need not be stuck here. We can choose a different strategy.  - From location 256 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Paul says in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” - From location 264 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • The God of grace communicates across the divide of our sin. Grace can surmount all the gulfs separating us from others. The bridge is Jesus Christ-God entering into our humanity so that we might participate in God's divinity. The unique advantage Christians have in all crosscultural encounters is that we enter them across the bridge of Jesus Christ. Jesus has gone before us into the lives and cultures we are entering. He carries us there as we participate in his life through the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul means when he refers to us as the "body of Christ" (1 Cor 12).  - From location 267 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • It is only through Christ that we can fulfill God's call to be instruments of grace in our new culture. Only his grace can help us overcome all the ways we will feel ungracious, critical, lonely, frustrated and angry. To be instruments of God's grace in crosscultural ministry, we need to build on five dimensions of grace: gratitude, refreshment, acceptance, compassion and expectancy. - From location 270 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Complaint and criticism create a bottomless pit, while praise and gratitude are the language of God's kingdom.  - From location 276 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Paul calls us to give "thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph 5:20). This is essential to traverse the bridge of grace into a new culture. The right to offer suggestions is only gained with time and trust. If you are a short-term visitor, you have not yet gained that right. Therefore, your calling is to find everything you can be thankful for in your new situation with these new people. Your gratitude and affirmation may be your most profound and enduring contribution to their lives.  - From location 277 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn  
  • Three factors enhance our ability to become people of acceptance. 1. Friendship. Seek to develop a friendship with one person within your new culture. Hopefully, this person will be regarded by others in the culture as someone with insight and credibility Invite this person to be your guide, advocate and teacher. Obviously it is important to prayerfully select the right person. Often the best candidates are the busiest, while the most available may be the worst interpreters of their own culture. - From location 290 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Forgiveness - . It is easy to forget the central importance of practicing forgiveness. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, cultural faux pas and negative attitudes; forgive your host culture and the people in it as well. Do not allow yourself to build up resentment. - From location 294 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Finding delights Seek to discover what delights God about the people you are serving. He created them, redeemed them and loves them. They are bearers of God's image; therefore, much in their lives will reflect God's character and creativity.  - From location 296 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Compassion - Grace flows from compassion, and compassion literally means "to suffer with." The prerequisite for compassion is the willingness to enter into others' lives and share their concerns. We need to continually remind ourselves that we are the ones who've entered other people's culture and home. We are their guests. Therefore, it is our task to adapt and adjust to them, rather than expecting them to adapt and adjust to us.  - From location 297 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Compassion is ultimately a gift from God. It grows as we focus on Jesus Christ and as the Spirit of God pours out the love of Christ in our hearts (see Rom 5).  - From location 300 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Expectations - Disciplining our expectations is a final bridge builder. Guilt, busyness and disappointment are common characteristics of people entering new cultures. Guilt emerges because we don't feel like we are doing enough or accomplishing enough. People have sent us here, and we've come with some sacrifice, hoping to accomplish something. These feelings spill over into busyness. If only I do more, then maybe I'll succeed. If I appear busy, at least, then others can't criticize me. This kind of busyness then leads to disappointment. The experience just isn't measuring up to what I'd hoped it would be. To deal with this, we must clarify why we are going on a short-term mission trip. Through this, we can identify some realistic goals and expectations.  - From location 303 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Here are some possible objectives God frequently has for people on short-term mission trips: - From location 309 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

1)  to pray more specifically for people in this new context than you could have if you hadn't gone 

2)  to develop two significant relationships

3)  to explore a new situation and learn more about God, yourself, people and life

4)  to affirm people in this new context, demonstrating God's love and compassion

  •  A good summary of what helps us to adjust to a new culture includes this common advice: - From location 313 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

Laugh - Find the humor in the situation and specialize in laughing at yourself (not others).

Listen - St. Francis had it right. Seek first to understand, rather than to be understood.

Learn - God hasn't sent you into the culture to be its judge.

Love - It's the universal language.

Live - Enter in, enjoy the differences and live as a servant. 

  • How well you understand and can handle a different culture is less important than how well you understand and can handle yourself. Crosscultural encounters provide abundant opportunities for personal growth. Often we discover things about ourselves that we didn't know-some which thrill us, others which dismay us.  - From location 317 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • The call of the kingdom is not simply to be true to yourself but to be true to your best self, the self you are in Christ, the self he is transforming you into.  - From location 319 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • The quality of our experience in another culture will largely be determined by our expectations and our reasons for being there. Therefore we must be clear about why we are going. Our motives are like rudders that steer our emotional ship. They control our attitude, influence our behavior and determine the tone of our experience. It's essential that we know which direction our rudder is pointing if we are to go in the direction we desire. Our motives are always mixed. However, when faced rather than suppressed, motives can be empowering and, when necessary, transformed. - From location 323 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • It's appropriate to expect positive outcomes from a crosscultural experience. We wouldn't do it if we didn't expect good to come from it. In fact, the goal of our preparation is to enable us to have an expectant, affirming approach to life in another culture rather than a fearful, defensive one. It is also to clarify our expectations so that they can be realistic and fruitful.  - From location 331 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Describe in a few sentences why you believe God wants you to go on this trip. Shape this into a personal mission statement to guide your preparation, your trip and your return.  - From location 340 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • What do you hope will be the impact of this experience on you? - From location 342 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • God has gifted each person and empowered them by the Holy Spirit so that God's love might be expressed through them. In Romans 12:3 Paul calls us to "have a sane estimate of your own capabilities." This implies being able to recognize and accept strengths that God has given you. Often it is easier for us to admit our fears and weaknesses than our strengths.  - From location 344 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

 

  

  • Evaluate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being low and 5 high, according to the following list of qualifications that national church leaders most frequently desire in missionaries. Qualities in the following table:   - From location 346 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

  • Evaluate the personal mission statement you've written describing why you are going on this trip. Are there revisions you would like to make to it? Write or rewrite your personal mission statement.  - From location 372 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Learning to work together as a team with our coworkers and people from our new culture is essential for an effective witness. The gospel is best communicated by the body of Christ-not by isolated individuals.  - From location 376 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Jesus said, "All people will know that you are my disciples by the love you have for one another” - From location 392 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Colossians 3:12-13: "Paul exhorts us to bear with one another in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Yet many of us in mission actually alienate people wherever we go. - From location 396 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us in Life Together that we dare not relate directly to one another. We must allow Christ to be our intermediary-the bridge between us as we relate to one another through him. We rely on Christ in our relationships with our coworkers by:   - From location 400 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 

1)  Praying regularly for and with our coworkers

2)  Seeking God's transformation of ourselves, not just our coworkers

3)  Seeking to view others as Christ views them

4)  Affirming what is praiseworthy in others Respect others. It's so obvious that it seems pedantic to repeat. However, whenever I allow my mouth to speak words that disrespect others (even when they are not present), I build a wall.

5)  Pray regularly that God will deepen your respect for your coworkers.

6)  Avoid sharing frustrations about one coworker with another. Let God be the receptacle of your expressions of frustration.

7)  Don't write lists of grievances about others.

8)  Let others succeed.

  • God has not sent you into another culture simply to build wonderful relationships with your coworkers from home. God has sent you to build friendships with people in your new context. One of the most powerful expressions of the truth of the gospel is that people from radically different contexts can love each other. - From location 409 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn 
  • Here are some ways we can expand our team to include people from our host culture:  - From location 413 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn  

 1)  Seek their friendship -  We will never become one of "them" if all our fellowship is with "us." The us-them distinction needs to be surmounted by the Holy Spirit. This can only happen when we merge our fellowship with theirs, seeking support, worship and encouragement with them. We will have time to focus on our relationships with our teammates from home once we return. Until then, it's time to expand the team and build new relationships.

2)  Share ourselves with them - We must not allow ourselves to become the stereotypical Americans who seem to have it all together. We need to let people know our hopes and fears, doubts and inadequacies. Surprisingly, this will build their respect for us and their confidence in God. If you, feeling as inadequate as you do, can enable wonderful ministry and compassionate caring, then they will be encouraged to trust that God can do the same through them. God's strength is indeed made perfect in our weakness.

3)  Submit to their decisions - Even when we disagree or think our way is better, we need to honor and submit to their decisions. That is not easy, but we are their guests! We must seek to learn the reasons behind their decisions.

4)  We need to choose the long view, allowing ourselves to lose a few battles so that the war might be won. 

5)  Serve according to their cultural pattern - One of the hardest dimensions of crosscultural service is learning to do things their way instead of demanding that they do them ours.

Exercising caution regarding criticism.

  • Ministering as a Team  - From location 433 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn  

Ministering to our host country -  As a team, you have the privilege of ministering to the country that you are visiting. You are their guests. As guests, the normal keys to civility prevail:

Courtesy

Respect for others' customs

Graciousness regarding inconveniences

Patience when things are done differently 

Exercising caution regarding criticism - Even in letters back home and in conversations with coworkers and missionaries, exercise restraint and discretion. We are guests, and to speak critically would be like criticizing the home and meal of someone who has hosted you for dinner. God has not sent us to be critics. 

Praying about complaints -  When confronted with things we dislike or disagree with, we should deal with them in prayer.

Remembering whom we represent - Ultimately, in the eyes of our hosts, we are not merely representing ourselves, our opinions and our home country. We are representing Christ.

  • Communicating clearly - Relax! The Holy Spirit is already at work in the hearts and lives of the people with whom you will be working. We don't begin God's work. Rather, we enter into an ongoing conversation that God has already been having with people. Our privilege is to discover what God is doing and to participate in it, enabling others to see Christ more fully. We are not solo communicators of the gospel. The Spirit of God speaks through us. Furthermore, in the midst of any linguistic obstacles that might impair our communication, love is the universal language. - From location 455 in the Kindle book "Short-Term Missions Workbook: From Mission Tourists to Global Citizens" by Tim Dearborn