Honestly, Susan was a bit discouraged.
She had just locked the church after the monthly missions committee meeting. As she dropped her bag on the car seat beside her, she sat in the quiet and sighed.
Susan knew for a fact that the missions committee wanted to a good job of serving their church and their missionaries. And the group was made up of such great people! She was thankful for the goodwill, good ideas, and good intentions. At the same time, she longed for more clarity, more traction, and more good fruit for the Lord’s Kingdom!
The problem was that global missions had grown to become such a complex undertaking! As a group of well-meaning and generous volunteers, the missions committee felt overwhelmed by big questions that needed answers:
- Should we resume sending the youth group on short-term missions trips to South America (again) this year?
- How should we help at the local homeless shelter, or help reach a large Unreached People Group in Asia?
- How do we extend care to our missionaries Mike and Karen and their kids serving in rural Africa?
- And (of course) how do we “help without hurting…”?
Susan also knows that Pastor Peter wants to support healthy missions work through the church. She had hoped that he might provide some guidance, but it’s clear that his “cup is full and runneth over” as he leads the church through pandemic times. She sighed again.
Our team designed the Global Missions Toolbox with Susan in mind.
The goal is to provide an online collection of resources that help churches (including missions committees, pastors and others) engage effectively in God’s global plan for the nations. We are primarily serve small- and medium-sized churches, but we hope the tools will be useful to anyone hoping to do a great job of missions.
There are three keys we are prioritizing.
Listening, leading to solutions
Susan has tried to talk with mission agencies the church has worked with. Those agencies seem to be a good place to ask for help, but often the conversation slips toward the agenda of the agency rather than the needs of the church. The “mission reps” are really nice people, but are focused on recruitment and fund-raising for their organizations. It’s understandable, but not really very helpful.
Our Toolbox team is seeking to genuinely learn and respond to “pain points” articulated by Susan on behalf of her church, pastor, and committee. Here are some examples:
- How do we love and care for our missionaries and their families?
- How much should we invest in short-term missions?
- Could someone help us review and update our missions policy? (Please help!)
- How do we know that missionaries we support are doing a good job?
- How do we decide on priorities for next year’s budget?
- How can we invite our (uber-busy) pastor to engage in global missions?
- How do we wisely balance local and global priorities?
Tools, leading to Traction
Susan knows that there are plenty of articles, blog, and webinars she could use to “figure it out”. But she has a day job herself and doesn’t have time to find all the relevant voices, let alone distill it all and present it to the committee and Pastor Peter to make decisions. What would be more helpful is finding a trusted partner who a) shares the church’s values, and b) provides some “traction tools” to get things moving.
Without overlooking important foundations, our team is seeking to help move past ideas and theory into action. These tools do help grow understanding, but we hope you’ll find them to be practical and trustworthy, based on the experience of other like-minded people.
Our team does not create all the resources in the Toolbox. Instead we network and coordinate with partners to curate a trustworthy library of downloads, podcasts and videos to help local churches. And we don’t think we know it all, so we’re growing and building as we better understand the needs of Susan, her committee, Pastor Peter, and their church.
Community, leading to shared learning
Susan wonders if there are any other committees out there like hers. (Somehow, she knows this must be true…) If there are this many churches, and so many missionaries, surely others have asked these questions before! The question is, “How could her committee get in touch with like-minded people who are wrestling with the same things?”
There are so many churches (just like Susan’s!) that are seeking to do missions well!
In our experience, churches rarely talk with each other about missions initiatives. This means they do not often share their challenges, experience, and learning together. The GMT community is a place to pose questions, muse together, and share insights and learning (both successes and failures!) as we learn and grow together.
We plan to launch a platform to facilitate this community in 2022! Friendly moderators will help guide the discussions, and invite others (“experts”) who have insight and experience to share.
Susan turns the key, and her car engine comes to life. She remembers that during the meeting tonight, someone mentioned a new online resource called the Global Missions Toolbox. Apparently it hosts a multi-season podcast with interviews on various topics, a growing library of tools for local churches, and a community portal for conversations about missions topics.
Even though sharing in global mission is a complex challenge, she realizes there are others with whom she can journey and share.
And her heart is encouraged.
Rob, also known to his friends as “Mags”, was raised near Edmonton, AB. He met Kathleen Hayes during his studies at Briercrest Bible College, and they were married in 1992. God has blessed the Magwoods with three fantastic kids. Mags and Kathleen first served together on a short-term mission team to the Philippines. In 1996 they moved to Ukraine and Russia to participate in church planting, theological education, and agency administration. Mags has served as Canadian Director of SEND International since 2004.