Servant Life Blog

 

Friends,

As we move into the 2018-2019 ministry season, Servant Life is excited to be celebrating our 20th year of mobilizing people to take the gospel to the nations. There are so many great stories of Kingdom advancement among the 25 missionaries we have partnered with over the years, and the same was true this year. We are grateful the Lord has worked through short-term teams for long-term impact. Mission teams encourage and support the 52-week, year-round ministry that happens in each location Servant Life partners are advancing the Gospel. We continually praise God for raising up believers, both young and old, to carry the banner of Christ into the world!

I hope you have a chance to look included infographic and join us in celebrating all God has done and continues to do through 1 Gospel Message! That does not happen in this context without the encouragement, prayers and support of friends like you.

I hope you are able to remember and pray for not only those serving all over the globe, but that we would all leverage our lives for things that have eternal significance.

We also ask that you would also consider supporting our work and joining our team with either a one-time donation or monthly giving.* We cannot do what we do without the financial support of faithful partners like you. You can give online at www.servantlife.com/donation-payments or send a check to our mailing address: Servant Life, PO Box 36307, Birmingham, AL 35236.

Blessings to you and your family during this holiday season.

Until the whole world knows,


J. Roger Davis
Executive Director
Servant Life

*Servant Life is a 501c3 organization and donations are tax deductible.

Preparing your group for a mission trip requires significant planning and attention to detail. From fundraising to airfare to packing lists, there are a lot of boxes that must be checked off before you can mobilize your team to serve in a different context. It’s easy to get so caught up in what has to be done, that we sometimes miss out on what should be done. Today we are going to look at four things you should be doing right now to prepare for your upcoming mission trip.

If you fail to cast vision for your students, they are going to come up with their own criteria to evaluate success. When students have the wrong goals in mind, they can quickly become discouraged and frustrated if their expectations aren’t met, and might even consider the trip to be a failure. We need to help them understand the goals of the trip and what success looks like.

First, we all need to understand that a mission trip is more about the long-term impact than the short-term ministry. Hopefully what you are doing in the short-term is connected to long-term strategy, and the local churches or missionaries will follow up and build upon what you’ve done. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” Sometimes we plant seeds and sometimes we water them, but we haven’t failed on our trip simply because the growth doesn’t happen while we are around.

This leads to a second important principle—the results of our ministry are not in our hands, but in God’s hands. We must not confuse our role in ministry. God expects us to be faithful to Him and to His Word, and that’s our primary responsibility. But at the end of the day, we can’t bring anyone from death to life—that is God’s responsibility. We plant and water the seeds, but God brings the seed to grow. We do our part and remain faithful, and we leave the results to God. If we have served him faithfully, let’s consider that a success.

If your team doesn’t have a solid understanding of these principles, don’t be surprised when their unmet expectations about the short-term trip turn into frustration.

 

The number one frustration we hear from missionaries about their short-term teams is that students and adults show up for a trip and aren’t ready to share the gospel. We’ve missed the mark if we do everything required of us to go on a mission trip, yet show up unprepared to be ambassadors for Christ and proclaimers of his gospel. As group leaders, we must prepare our team members to be ready to share the gospel.

There are numerous evangelism techniques and strategies that you could use to train your students. The important thing is not which strategy you use, but that your students gain confidence with some type of gospel-sharing technique that is faithful to God’s Word. There are plenty of resources online that teach some of these approaches, such as “The Romans Road,” “The Bridge,” “Three Circles,” etc. Find one that feels like a good fit for your team, and make sure each of person is ready and confident to share the gospel with someone in some way.

One thing to watch out for: many Christians think that if they can articulate their testimony in some capacity that they can share the gospel well, but this is not necessarily true. Our testimonies can often be long-winded, full of confusing church language (especially in a foreign context), and lacking Scripture and biblical truth. By no means is sharing your testimony a bad thing, but we must be critical of what we are saying and consider how faithfully we are pointing the recipient to the truth of Christ.

As a group leader it is your responsibility to make sure everyone on your team is ready to share the gospel.

 

Renowned missionary Samuel Zwemer was known as “the Apostle to Islam” and spent his entire ministry seeking to love and share Christ with Muslims. As the author of numerous books he left behind many nuggets of wisdom, but one of the most profound things he said was this: “The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.” In other words, he recognized that any success he saw in the mission field had already been ordained by God above. If we believe this is true, it should drive us to our knees in prayer as we look ahead to our mission trips.

This starts with the personal prayers of everyone going on the trip, but take it a step further and think about ways you can connect your whole church to be prayer partners for your trip. Create prayer cards for each person on your trip and distribute them to other small groups and individuals in the church. Make sure that each person has multiple levels of prayer support. Encourage those praying to find ways to affirm the ones for whom they are praying. How cool would it be on the morning of the trip if all of those prayer warriors showed up in the church parking lot to circle around your team members and pray over them before you head off?

The task of missions belongs to God, and we are dependent on him if we want to see fruit. Let’s be a people who seek him in prayer, and invite those around us to do the same.

 

My pastor used to challenge our congregation that if we would spend one week a year ministering in a foreign context, it would radically change the way we live the other 51 weeks out of the year. Simply put, a mission trip is a formative life experience for most people. It will open our eyes to the world around us, put things into perspective for us, and help us see the world how God sees the world instead of only through our own cultural lenses.

It is not difficult to see that God not only works through team members, but he also works in team members. Because of this, we need to help our students make the most of their mission trip experiences. Equip them with resources to help them process their trip and help them draw near to God through his Word.

There are great resources available to help your students do this. One such resource is a missions journal available through Servant Life. These daily devotionals cover the time before, during, and after your trip in order to help your team members connect with the Lord as they seek to faithfully serve him. You can find them available to purchase in the Servant Life store here.

 

We know that a lot of hard work goes into a mission trip, but in addition to taking care of all the urgent details to make the trip happen, let us not neglect these important steps to helping our teammates flourish. We pray that the Lord blesses all the works of your hands as you seek to make him known near and far.

 

– Zac Condie, Director of Servant Life

My first college summer, after finishing my Freshman Year, I went home. I sat on the couch. I babysat. I slept in. Then I babysat some more. Honestly, I can’t recall anything memorable from that summer other than doing a great Bible study with my friends who were also home.

I can also tell you what I didn’t do. I didn’t use my school year to prepare for the time when I wouldn’t be there. All I could do was think about the two-month-long, proverbial “deep breath” I was about to take. I didn’t invest during those two months the way I had been learning to do during the last 10. I thought that working for a summer camp or going on a mission trip was for the older, more spiritually mature– not me.

In contrast to my first summer home from college, I am here to tell you to not waste your summer. This does not mean you are not allowed to go back home, because I truly believe you can make disciples under your parent’s roof, in your hometown, just as much as you can in Guatemala living with a missionary. But what this does mean is this is your chance to be proactive in utilizing a uniquely open, two months for the purpose of gospel centered ministry and deepening your faith in Christ.

Let’s chat about ways to do this.

  1. Find a way to serve. Use your school year to explore the opportunities available to you. There are a variety of organizations focusing on global missions and summer camps that you can be a part of to be intentional about sharing Christ. Within Servant Life, we have the A1eight Project for college students to serve on teams of 3-5 as a summer intern with one of our missionary partners. You can learn more and apply here.
  1. Plan for spiritual growth and to replenish your spirit. How will you study the Bible this summer when you are away from your normal small group? Try looking up a Bible Reading Plan or finding a study that you can walk through while you have less structured days. Make a reading list of books for your spiritual health that will challenge and help keep you pointed towards Christ. Looking for recommendations? Check out our reading list here.
  1. Kick laziness to the curb. Ever feel like you get sucked into a social media “black hole” and the next thing you know you’ve been on the couch looking at Instagram for an hour? Yeah, me too. Let’s call it for what it is: Find ways to spend your time that bring life and relationship rather than losing minutes by scrolling the precious puppy account you follow. Set limits and boundaries so you can catch yourself when you have fallen prey to laziness.
  1. Explore and learn who God has created you to be. Try new things. Invest in areas you haven’t before. Test and see things that God has possibly created for you that you may not have tried otherwise. You have a uniquely open season of life for exploring, so use it well! Don’t know what you enjoy or what God has gifted you in? Now is a great time to find out!
  1. Stay involved with other believers. This one is pretty clear. Don’t use the excuse “I’m out of my routine” for not meeting with and living in connection with other Christians. Be proactive to find a local body of believers that you can be encouraged and challenged by. This may look like a new small group, finding a mentor to disciple you, or plugging in with your local church.

 

For my first summer in college, home was a trap of laziness. Be on guard against it, find your ways to serve, and be active with other believers. Whether that’s being a summer missionary in the A1eight Project* through Servant Life or working at a summer camp, the 2 months you get next summer will be ones you never get again. The opportunities available to you are vast. Take advantage of them!

 

Lesley McClanahan

Servant Life Coordinator

 

*For more information about the A1eight Project for college students, click here.

One of the greatest joys our team at Servant Life gets to experience is building relationships with new partners who are actively making disciples in their local contexts. Last week, we flew out to meet our friends from the Mision Bautista de El Salvador to spend time with them and learn more about their ministry and the vision God has given them to reach their country with the gospel.

The flight from Atlanta to El Salvador is right around three hours, so it is a very quick and easy international flight. We left from the U.S. that morning, and it was barely past lunchtime when we were standing outside the airport on El Salvadorian soil with our friend Pastor Ramiro in his awesome blue van.


Pastor Ramiro, right, is standing next to his father, Pastor Omar, who has been pastoring and planting churches for the last 40+ years in El Salvador.

The country of El Salvador is divided into 14 different departments (similar to the U.S. being divided into 50 different states), and Pastor Ramiro currently lives in the poorest department, Morazan. I have heard stories in the past about the busy city of San Salvador being a scary place, but Morazan is three hours away and our experience there could not have felt any safer. We ate at Pollo Campero (numerous times), we walked down the city streets, and we ventured out into the rural areas where homes are built on the side of mountains. Most people in Morazan live a quiet and peaceful life.

However, these people who appear so quiet and peaceful are actually living in deep poverty and unrest. I’m not talking about physical poverty, although that is a reality for many of them. I’m referring to a deep, spiritual poverty that exists in people who are desperate for hope and good news and looking for it in places other than Jesus Christ. Around 90% of the population in El Salvador would acknowledge some degree of belief in God, but the vast majority of those people are not trusting in Christ for salvation. The idea of God provides some sort of worldview for them, but their concept of God does not provide a way for them. They are working for their salvation, and they cannot earn it. They are lost.

But this is where the Mision Bautista de El Salvador brings hope to the story. Pastor Ramiro and other pastors in this network are planting gospel-centered churches where they have one clear goal: to make disciples. As soon as a person expresses interest in joining their congregation, they walk that person through a year-long discipleship journey that covers 17 different spiritual truths and disciplines that are at the core of the Christian faith. They are teaching people to reject the ways of this world and to embrace the truth that Jesus is Lord.


This church was recently planted in the city of Corinto, and is led by Pastor Ramiro.

Mision Bautista de El Salvador has a vision to plant healthy, biblical churches in each of the 26 cities in the department of Morazan. Once that is accomplished… well, there are 13 more departments to be reached. But this will not happen outside of a strategic ministry plan, and this is where you come in. Our friends in El Salvador are looking for churches who buy into their vision of making disciples and want to bring short-term teams to join their work.

A short-term team has the potential to be a huge catalyst for long-term ministry efforts. Student teams are sometimes engaging in school ministry, but all teams would have many opportunities for evangelism. There has been great success in bringing Americans from house to house to share their faith, and then inviting the El Salvadorians to a fun gathering in the community that evening. When children and parents come to the gathering, we have a lot of fun with them and play games, but also take that opportunity to preach the gospel. People who otherwise would not cross the threshold of the church will find themselves face to face with the truth of the gospel, and the local church will immediately have opportunities for follow-up.

Would you be interesting in bringing a team from your church to El Salvador to assist with church planting and relational ministry opportunities? The idea of reaching an entire nation with the gospel is no small task. It is a long road ahead, but by the grace of God and the support of the community of faith, the Church in El Salvador can reach the rest of El Salvador with the good news of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Zac Condie
Servant Life Director

 

For more information about how you can be part of ministry efforts in El Salvador, visit this page on our website or send an e-mail to info@servantlife.com.

As we approach the holiday season and look toward 2018, it’s appropriate to pause and praise God for His faithfulness. Servant Life is celebrating an incredible year of ministry that included our largest number of short-term trip participants ever with almost 900 students and adults mobilized to proclaim the gospel of Christ. Praise God for raising up believers to faithfully carry the banner of Christ to the world!

Reflecting on the 2017 ministry season, a few moments come to mind…

  • Numerous leaders exposing participants to their first ever cross-cultural or international missions experience.
  • A church from Louisiana embracing the vision of our Cuba partners and committing to a long-term relationship.
  • A student on a trip to Guatemala recognizing that a faithful proclamation of the gospel must not be rooted in our words, but in God’s Word.
  • Mid-term students in New York City building relationships with refugee families and learning more about career missional ministry through our A1eight Project.
  • Unknown numbers of people surrendering to the Lordship of Christ and becoming our brothers and sisters in the faith through the work of our 19 global partners.
  • The addition of a strong partnership in El Salvador.
  • Providing key support to our mission partners, participants, and mission families here domestically.

We never tire of partnering with churches and missionaries as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission. There is great joy in supporting the body of Christ as believers rise up in response to Christ’s command to “Go.” However, we recognize that we are only able to do what we do through the prayers and support of friends like you.

As Paul writes, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Rom. 10:15). Pray that God would give favor to the hands and feet of all who spread the hope of the gospel near and far.

We ask that you would prayerfully consider supporting our work and joining our team with either a one-time donation or monthly giving.* We cannot do what we do without the financial support of faithful partners like you. You can give online at www.servantlife.com/donation-payments or send a check to our mailing address: Servant Life, PO Box 36307, Birmingham, AL 35236.

 

We pray that your holiday season is marked by joy and warmth. Blessings to you and your family.

 

Until the whole world knows,

Roger Davis

Executive Director

Servant Life

 

*Servant Life is a 501c3 organization and donations are tax deductible.

Changed Lives Near and Far

It seems like just last week we sent out the first Servant Life team of the summer to Guatemala, but before long we will have sent out more than 50 teams to serve around the world in 2017! We wanted to take time to pause and reflect on what the Lord has done so far in the past few weeks.

This summer we have had churches serving in locations such as Bulgaria, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Memphis, New York City, Toronto, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. These groups have been the hands and feet of Christ as they engage in ministry opportunities such as day camps and children’s festivals, food distribution and home visits, and worship services and Vacation Bible Schools.

One church from North Carolina was excited to serve domestically this summer, hoping to strengthen their church’s missional emphasis by providing a trip to serve and proclaim Christ in Memphis. The youth leader shared with us, “(It) was an amazing experience, especially as this was the first missions experience for the majority of our group! We saw nine people give their lives to the Lord!”

In the Dominican Republic, it was very evident that God was not only making himself known among the Dominicans, but he was also changing the lives of this American team. This youth minister from Texas was excited for the way the trip had changed his students’ perspective; “Students experienced what is was like to minister in an area where people do not have all we have. Their eyes were opened to the world outside of our US bubble.
One group leader was returning with her church for a second trip to Bulgaria. She captions one of her social media posts with details from their full day of ministry, which concluded in a church service:

“Today we played with beautiful Roma children, increased our Bulgarian vocabulary, painted in the elementary school and the church, cleaned the trash up off the streets in the community surrounding the church and ate amazing food (gyros, palchinca, banitsa, princess, etc). But the best part of the day was distributing food to people on the street who live in the community but don’t attend the church. As we gave food, we heard their stories and prayed over them. We told them about the church and invited them to come. As I watched our team take turns leading these prayers, I was reminded that God ordains simple moments and uses them in amazing ways.”

Our A1eight Project interns (that you can read more about HERE) have provided help to our missionaries this summer and have enjoyed meeting and serving with many of these groups mentioned! Please pray for these college students who have been serving in a foreign context for the last six weeks, that the Lord would give them strength to finish well through the end of the month. In New York City, the interns have been helping teach english and ministering to many refugee families. In Guatemala, they have helped with Vacation Bible Schools, home visits, light construction, and neighborhood block parties. Both groups are also giving leadership to every Servant Life team who serves in New York City or Guatemala.

 

We praise God for the life change that is happening in these countries both in the hearts of nationals and hearts of American students serving them! We covet your prayers as we will continue to have teams on the ground over the next few weeks.

As you look ahead to 2018, we would love to connect you to a mission trip that is a great fit for your student ministry. Our 2018 dates are available here, or you can reach us by phone (800.772.2615) or e-mail (info@servantlife.com) so that one of our team members can give you more information about any of these trips.

Going on a mission trip can be dangerous, but so can coming back home.

We live in a culture that has a 24-hour news cycle that seems to be filled with nothing but negative elements and danger around the world.  These images and elements alone often keep people from going and making disciples around the world.  We convince ourselves that it is “too dangerous” or we simply decide that we don’t have the resources or time and we will go “someday.”

While those concerns have some validity, I contend that going on a mission trip can be dangerous in other, maybe even more, dangerous ways.

At times I hear conversations, both in person and on social media of people talking more about packing their bags, getting their passport stamped, or what they are going to do on their “off” day compared to having a laser focus on the “mission” of their trip.  Those details aren’t bad; but, it is imperative for short-term missionaries to remember that the time they have is limited and in order to maximize it the mind must be kept on the mission.

Building things is not wrong but we must remember that the Great Commission is about people.  A successful mission is one that keeps that focus.  When we are all gone from this life and enter into the next, buildings will still be here.  They are great resources, but they need to be a resource that leads to changed lives.  So if involved in building projects, take great pictures…just include the people that it helped in your pictures. On that same note, don’t fall into the trap of wanting to take a lot of pictures just to have your next great profile picture or receive a record breaking number of Instagram likes. There’s nothing wrong with letting social media know you had an incredible trip; just make sure to have the right motives!

When we answer the call of Christ to make disciples of all nations, we go in His authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is imperative for us to invite the Spirit to work in us and through us.  As we return and share stories and testimonies it should focus much more on what He did than what we did. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Years ago, I was returning from some work in Honduras. When I sat down on the plane, I was sitting by a young man who was returning from his 2-year Mormon mission trip.  I enjoyed talking with him about his time in country and all that entailed.  I asked him a question about his return and what he would now do going forward related to his faith and missions.  He laughed and said, “I have done my duty. I am now done and get to live my life.”  He said his church will see that he did his work and then he will be free. I found it an interesting response.  While it might not be said in those exact words, we often say the same with our lives.  We go on mission trips and feel a sense that we did something valuable, maybe even something we were “called” to do, but that was the end of it.  We have done our duty, our good turn, our mission, and now we can go back to our lives and our control.  This is a trap.  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

When you see God move, it should affect you.  It should cause a stirring of the soul that desires to see that change on a regular basis. Sometimes returning from a mission trip can be frustrating because you want everyone else to “get it.”  The realization that they have not seen and experienced what you did becomes very clear.  They continue to focus on their day-to-day lives and while your body is present, your mind is still back with kids in an African village or with your new friends in Asia.  Your mind plays a continuous album of photos in your head.  You dream of just going back or you think of plans to sell everything you have and move.  The deep thinker Dr. Seuss said it well, “Don’t be sad it is over, be glad it happened.”  While we should always live a missional life, sometimes that means having seasons of being in a different context.  Other times it has us right where God has planted us for that life season.  Don’t live in the danger of dreaming about going on a mission trip again. Step into the reality that as a Christ-follower you and I are called to live a life on mission. If we are going to make disciples, we should do this regardless of where we are.

When you come home, don’t be afraid to share with your friends and family all that you saw The Lord do on your mission trip.  Unfortunately, it can be easy to buy into the lie of not wanting to bother people with all of your stories. You may have a thought like “They’re probably tired of hearing me talk about my trip.”  However, sharing your stories can be so powerful! When you retell your experience, God gets the glory and you keep alive your memories. Don’t forget to write everything down! You’ll definitely want to remember it all in a month or year or 10 years.

I encourage you to be careful not to let yourself fall into these dangers. More importantly, don’t let these potential dangers keep you from going on a mission trip altogether.  In Luke 9:23, Jesus gives the charge: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  As a Christ-follower you are commanded to die to yourself and the desires of your flesh.  I am convinced that there is no greater reward than following Jesus. With your heart and mind constantly set on Jesus, the dangers of coming home from a mission trip won’t even be an issue.  Take Him at His word, follow Him to the ends of the earth, and keep your eyes on Him always.

– J. Roger Davis, Executive Director of Servant Life

Recently we welcomed 12 college students to our Birmingham office to prepare, equip, and pray as they are sent out to proclaim Christ among the nations this summer. As we enter the third summer of the A1eight Project, we are thrilled to see growth and welcome the awesome students who make up this year’s teams!

As you may know by now, the A1eight Project is sending college students as summer long missionaries to serve alongside our partners already on the field. By supporting the local missionaries each day, they will be helping to host the short term Servant Life teams each week while learning more about what it looks like to live and serve in an international context.

Asking yourself how you can be a part? If you are between the ages of 18-25, we would love for you to apply to be part of the A1eight Project for summer 2018. Click here for the application! Over the past two summers we have sent teams to Toronto, Guatemala, and New York City, and next summer we are hoping to expand to Bulgaria, Kenya, and other locations around the world. You can spend your entire summer ministering in one of these international contexts.

As teams serve in these places, we ask primarily that you would join us in praying for these 12 students. Ask for endurance for the summer as well as hearts and hands that are prone to love those around them.

Get to know these summer missionaries! If you will be a team serving in one of these locations this summer, we hope these notes about each of them are helpful connecting points (whether it’s over Taco Bell or being a dog lover).

Please help us give a warm welcome to the 2017 A1eight Project team members!

 

Gospel-Centered Ministry

 

Last week I experienced a dreadful moment when the transmission in my car went out. If you know anything about cars, you probably understand why this is bad news. Not only did my car drive about as well as my pillow, but it would also require around $2,000 to get the transmission replaced so the car could get back on the road. A car with a bad transmission is like a book without words or a toy without batteries; it looks fine on the outside, but without that key element the object is unable to perform its primary function. In other words, it’s broken.

At Servant Life, thankfully we don’t deal with faulty transmissions or misprinted books, but we do believe that missions has a core ingredient that can’t be sacrificed: the gospel of Jesus Christ. If our ministry is lacking the proclamation of the gospel, we’ve missed the primary goal of ministry.

Engaging in ministry that lacks gospel emphasis is not only concerning and questionable, but at that point we have to ask the obvious question: is it really still considered Christian ministry?

It is our belief that ministry and missions are inseparable from the good news of the gospel. If our actions aren’t paired with the message of Jesus Christ, we are simply engaging in humanitarian aid and not truly ministering to those we come in contact with. Meeting physical needs and demonstrating the love of Christ through actions is very important—we can’t neglect this!—but we must also point people to the hope of Christ revealed through the Word of God.

That is not to say that every time we do as little as smile at someone that we need to stop and immediately share the gospel with them for fear of engaging in ministry the wrong way. But we do believe that the driving force behind our actions is clearly the love of Jesus Christ, and that the people we are interacting with need to understand that as well. More than showing people hope and love in this lifetime, we want to point them to a relationship with God that will continue for eternity.

This is why Servant Life has embraced the core value of “gospel-centered ministry.” We don’t want to send groups on mission trips simply to play games with children or host a sports camp—we want teams to proclaim the hope and love of Jesus Christ and invite people to trust in Him for salvation. We partner with missionaries and local churches who are engaging in year-round ministry to advance the gospel and further the Kingdom of God here on earth. We recognize that there are many challenges associated with cross-cultural ministry, but the one thing we are unwilling to compromise on is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If you’re looking for gospel-centered mission trip opportunities, we’d love to talk more. You can view our full list of trips here, or contact us if you have a question. If you’d like to learn more about our four core values, check this out!

 

Zac Condie, Servant Life Director 

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.