• 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 RiddellThis past week, one of our teams wrote the following: “Before the end of March, we must face the decision about the future of our Field, as we can no longer think about recruitment without a viable means of inviting our members to the area for longer than three months. On Tuesday, our Field will be joining together (across the globe) to fast and pray. Pray with us for any part of Tuesday that you can.”

Why are we raising this need again to the WT family?  Because the need for new workers is not a one-time issue that can be addressed by simply making a few tweaks to the system, with the result that new workers begin flowing towards ministries around the globe.  Over time, much prayer and innovation, coupled with making the sacrifice to step forward to mobilize, need to be our primary responses to this crisis.  We have detailed the growing loss of workers, outlined tangible steps in response, and have called together the World Team community to forty days of prayer and fasting to petition the One who alone sends workers into the harvest field of the nations.

We have been strongly encouraged in recent days by the number of WT people who have offered their time to assist in mobilizing new workers.  Our leaders are prayerfully considering those they will challenge to temporarily step out of their current ministries to assist in this mobilization initiative.  And people all over our WT community are interacting about how we can best respond to this mobilization opportunity.  These forty days of prayer and fasting, widely appreciated and followed by our community, remind us that prayer is an ongoing work.  We must continue to spur one another on to this integral part of ministry so that others will join God’s mission.

Imagine for a minute, that the Lord of the harvest responds to our pleas by sending a hundred (100) new workers to us over the next three years.  Now another issue arises, no less important than mobilization, and intimately tied to its achievement.  These new workers will need to be trained, mentored and released into ministry. 

Who will do that work?

Some have responded to the mobilization initiative by saying that they are willing to help in whatever way they can.  Others have answered that they already have too much to do and don’t know how they could possibly mobilize more than they currently are doing.  Still others will read the question above, sigh, and wonder: how much more are “they” going to ask me to do?

What if we saw this process of mobilization and training not as competing entities, but parts of an ongoing cycle of multiplication?  What if our community began to pray towards making “missional workers” and discovering our place in that process?

mobilize-train-releaseWhen Jesus announced the missional mandate to His disciples, He centered it around one key initiative or action: “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).  How were his followers to know what the process of “making disciples” should look like?  In part, they needed only consider how Jesus worked with them: he chose to invest in a few (MOBILIZE), spent time helping them work out his teaching, in practical ways and contexts (TRAIN), and pushed them out into ministry (RELEASE).

Could we not welcome new workers through this same grid?  That is, developing “missional workers” by committing ourselves to:

  • Give of our precious time to develop and coach a certain number of new workers: MOBILIZE.
  • Involve them in ministry with us, recognizing that things may take longer to do, so that in the course of daily life and ministry, these workers would have opportunity to work out the wisdom and experience we would be sharing with them: TRAIN.
  • Freely let them go to start new WT church planting projects; and then, in turn, mobilize new workers towards the vision of seeing more disciples and more communities of believers: RELEASE.

Not everyone is gifted in evangelism, yet we are all called to share our faith with others.  Not everyone is capable of mobilizing new workers, yet we are all called to encourage and pray others into the harvest.  Each one of us CAN fully participate in the larger cause, so that we, the community, might grow and fulfill our mission.

World Team members have an incredible wealth of life and ministry experience.  The average number of years in ministry for a World Team worker is seventeen!  How can that wisdom and experience be transmitted to a new generation of fellow co-laborers, so that “His name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16)?

Your comments and responses are welcome.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Dave and Becky,

    We are so happy you are doing the work you are doing and have the privilege of being able to know you from the conversations and meals we had in France. As we raise our partners to come work in France we have used times to share with churches specifically about recruiting for World Team. If a church does not feel they have the budget to support us specifically we still ask if we can speak to share with those who may want to come to the mission field. We have an appointment in late March with a church to do that. The pastor is hoping they can support us at some point. They are a church plant themselves and farely new but he said they have a bunch of artists, 20 somethings, who need to see how God can use them for ministry. Isn’t that cool?!

    After taking a year’s sabbatical to help our oldest son and wife with their marital problems we now are back on track and at 30% of our goal. Support is picking up now and we are determined to be at CIT for the fall with a leave date for France in January. A lot has to happen but we are praying, believing that this is our time. Our daughter Emily is now getting married August 7th and just got on disability at Christmas. These were the last 2 markers we had set for ourselves in making sure our children were settled. God is good.

    One of our goals is to get farmers to help us through Steer, Inc. We have some contacts in this area since we live in the midwest. We love this “thinking outside the box” kind of financing. Pray for these farmers we approach to take us up on our question of raising cattle or crops to help fund our ministry.

    Carol and Russell Barr

  2. Thanks so much for being the first to leave a comment on this new blog! It is certainly an encouragement to see how you are seeking to mobilize other workers while at the same time being mobilized yourself. May God bring fruit to your creative efforts in partnership development. Steer Inc is an organization that offers a creative fundraising opportunity that others may want to learn more about: http://www.steerinc.com.

  3. Dave, I’m curious to know your ideas on the role the local church needs to play in mobilization.

    Also, on a lesser note, I like the word “send,” better than release. Send communicates partnership and relationship.

    • Mike, great question. I believe the local church is at the heart of God’s mission, and that is why World Team longs to see multiplying churches established. That is one end of the spectrum, so to speak. The local church on the ‘sending’ side is also central to God’s mission and needs to be deeply engaged and involved in discerning where God is calling us to send workers to establish churches. That is why we need brothers like you, participating on the World Team board and helping us figure out ways to build and further that partnership. Thanks for this reminder!

      I agree that “send” does communicate the notion of partnership and relationship. And we need to hold up that value between WT and the local church so that more will be “sent”. One of our core values though is “to develop and release leaders”. My comment was directed to us as the WT community; to encourage us to have a more developmental approach towards new workers giving them opportunity to be trained and then released or “sent out” to begin new works and further God’s mission.

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