Long Term Strategies
Christ followers are commanded in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) to make disciples of all nations. This command to make disciples goes beyond evangelism and encourages sanctification and growth of other believers in the Church. One way that we as Servant Life seek to follow this command within short-term missions is with long-term strategies– one of our four Core Values.
In order to uphold this core value, “We serve our long-term missionaries within our network in whatever way best fits their needs.” Our goal is to “be a catalyst that stimulates their ministry opportunities for the other 51 weeks of the year” for each mission partner. If seeds planted during the one week that teams are serving are not watered and cared for the other 51 weeks of the year, the work done in that 5-10 days has failed the mission. We must not leave new relationships without means to grow.
So how do we do long-term strategy with short-term missions? Glad you asked.
We partner with ministers of the gospel who are in it for the long haul. Our mission partners develop relationships with the people of their cities that go far beyond one week of the year. Clubhouse Guatemala is involved in year round pastor training and community relationships that start during summers. Mission Bulgaria delivers shoeboxes of Christmas gifts to the children in the community during the holiday season and builds on relationships that are started during the summer for church planting. Missionaries in Cuba are teaching local pastors to be better communicators of the Gospel. Partners in Toronto and the UK are working daily to develop church plants and our time with them doing outreach helps establish those connections.
These are only a handful of examples and as you can gather, our teams sent during the summer plant seeds that our missionary partners water and harvest all year long. Our goal is to link in with their long-term vision during our short time together and be a catalyst for their year round ministry.
To bridge the gap between groups serving for one week and the remainder of the year for our mission partners, the A1eight Project was born. Through the A1eight Project (based on Acts 1:8-go read it!), college aged individuals can partner with these missionaries for an entire summer. They help host teams coming in and out each week all while aiding in long-term goals for the mission partner. Read more about it HERE and HERE and visit the Instagram account (@a1eightproject) to see more.
Without the goal of long-term relationships and lives forever changed by the Gospel of Jesus, one week out of the summer falls short of the purpose God intends for believers and for Servant Life. The work done in just seven (or five or ten) days multiplies when we support long-term ministry.
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