• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Thoughts Along The Journey

David & Rebecca RiddellOur last Thoughts Along the Journey (TATJ) post elicited the largest number of responses from the World Team community since we began to journey together last year. Many of you feel and have owned the crisis opportunity that was described. Others, by your questions, probed further into the reasons behind our current situation. One member of our World Team community probably best captured the larger issue by saying: “I pray that WT will be able to spread this same burden to all of us so that we, as WT missionaries, will not rely merely on a Mobilization Team, but that every WT missionary will have a heart for recruitment. As missionaries go to churches to speak of “their” ministries in raising support, this would be a wonderful opportunity for all of us as a global missionary body to be involved in recruitment and speak of the larger ministry that is happening throughout the world.”

Yet, one question continues to come to the forefront of this discussion. It is a question flowing out of the two observations we shared in our last TATJ post. They are:

  • A crisis is looming of which most of us are unaware: we are losing workers and resources at a faster rate than we realize.
  • Most of us see our ministry as primary. The danger is we forget that every ministry fits into a much larger network of activity directed and orchestrated by God.

The question we must face is: What then should be our response to these two observations? Or more specifically, what actions shall we undertake in the next few months to specifically address this mobilization crisis opportunity?

Some might suggest we take more time to further probe the systemic problem(s) causing us to lose so many workers. Such an approach is not without merit. We must regularly, by prayer, study and directed discussion, question and challenge our conclusions.

However, there also comes a time to act … and it is now. The statistics shared in our last TATJ post, were shared with our World Team leaders at least five years ago. Already at that point, we could sense a crisis looming, but our response was limited and partial. We encouraged our mobilization team to work harder. We looked at attrition and how we could stem some of the losses. And most of us simply continued with our ministry unaffected by what was happening in the larger World Team community. Since that time, the negative loss of workers has only increased at a faster rate. Even as Hebrews 10:24 exhorts us to: “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” so also we need to challenge ourselves together to respond to this crisis. If the ship is sinking, we don’t gather the crew around and call a focus group to consider the root causes of the crisis. We must prayerfully and deliberately act in concert together. The data we perceive should be quickly assimilated and processed. We cannot wait any longer.

What three actions need to be undertaken in the next few months in response to our current situation?

First, beginning January 18th through February 26th, we will call the WT community (Australia, Canada, US and partners) to an initial forty (40) days of prayer and fasting, specifically interceding for more workers. We will provide you with specific ministry needs throughout the WT community and share with you any answers God gives to those prayers.

Second, we will share the strategy paper which was drafted following a mobilization summit held in May 2009. This paper will be discussed at Area Lead meetings, Field Conferences and Sending Country staff meetings during the first quarter of 2010. For each team and field, the result of those discussions must be their own concrete action steps towards implementing, for their context, three key elements of the mobilization strategy paper:

  1. Fostering greater synergy between fields/teams and Sending Countries;
  2. Proposing innovative ideas for mobilizing new workers; and
  3. Providing significant ministry opportunities for workers coming for six (6) weeks, three (3) months, one (1) or two (2) years, that is, providing bridge opportunities into cross-cultural ministry.

Third, each Area Director (with field leaders) will be asked to invite two workers from their region to serve as global mobilizers, working in conjunction with our WT Sending Countries, for three to twelve months. One of the main pieces of the mobilization strategy paper is the need to increase our mobilization team from five to thirteen workers. The only way this can happen, within our current constraints, is for five full-time cross-cultural workers to choose to temporarily step out of their field ministries in order to serve the larger community in this way.

These are hard and difficult steps, but we must act now for the good of our community in order that we might fulfill the mission He has given to us. I welcome your response. Please share your thoughts and comments with me at: international.director@worldteam.org.

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