Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Short Term Missions Trip Redefined

I subscribe to an email newsletter, TrendCentral. In the October 3, 2007 issue I came across an emerging trend called vagabonding. TrendCentral is created by the The Intelligence Group which is a trend-forecasting and marketing consultancy focused on Gen X, Gen Y and Tweens (people ages 14-34).

VAGABONDING: This growing trend in travel is changing the way people think about using their vacation days. The concept suggests that long-term travel is more meaningful and memorable than the 1-2 week vacation that’s standard in Western culture. Through taking extended (and often times independent) vacations in out of the way locales, vagabonders can recharge by discovering and experiencing the world on their own time. Apparently it’s not as difficult as it sounds to take a couple months off from one’s normal life. There are books, guides and online communities that offer tips on everything from how to manage travel funds to how to find a safe subletter to help with the rent.
TrendCentral describes a growing trend among these young people about travel which I think may be applied to missions. I could see this becoming another way for short-term teams 2-4 people travel around ministering to our missionaries or even starting new works wherever the Holy Spirit causes them to land. It is a risky option but one to possibly consider after much prayer and input from God's people.
I could see these "teams" going for a summer. They would be teams selected by the participants, not gathered by the mission organization. I could see them vagabonding for Christ starting churches. I wonder what this would look like. I need more time to think and to dream.

Cross-cultural challenges

I ponder my own ethnic background with interesting emotions. I have pride, gratitude, and a sense of obligation. God birthed me into my Native American heritage. I am Navajo. God made me Navajo.

As I seek to lead others to engage in cross-cultural missions I need to consider what I am asking them to do. I need to equip them to engage stepping over boundaries--their own boundaries and leap out of their own comfort zone.

I received a link to a short article which informs me how I can help others engage in cross-cultural ministry. Jeff Yourison shares how to open the door to diversity. He gives some simple things to consider or to answer as each person engages in cross-cultural ministries:
  1. Take stock of your current attitudes.
  2. Be aware of your own ethnicity.
  3. How do you act when you are the minority?
  4. What biblical truths help you engage those of a different culture?

He cites two other articles which you can read for further insight. Both articles take the perspective of college campuses however you can apply them to the city or county at large.

God is prompting me to learn more about diversity and reaching out to the lost and the lonely who need God's love and God's people to make them feel and be included in God's forever family. The lost and lonely only need an invitation. Step out of you comfort zone and minister to those around you.