Spreading Vision, Keeping Pace, Staying the Course, and Praying Well
Last month we asked what topics you’d most like to see us cover in Practical Mobilization. What would you find most interesting and helpful in these monthly pieces and maybe in the Missions Catalyst newsletter as a whole?
Thanks to everyone who chimed in. Admittedly, the number was a little small. More of a focus group. But it gave us enough to go on. Often, the earliest data is a pretty good indicator of what will or could come later, right?
If you want to prove me wrong about that, you can still complete the survey. It should only take a couple of minutes.
Here’s what we asked:
- What topics would you most like to see us cover (from a list of about a dozen themes)
- What are one or two areas in which could you use some insight or encouragement?
- What big questions or challenges are you grappling with?
- Are there specific people or types of people you’d like to hear from?
- Do you have any other suggestions for Missions Catalyst?
Here’s what we heard from you.
Top Topics from Missions Catalyst Readers
1. Spreading mission vision in the local church (76.9%)
Of the 13 categories we suggested, this one got the most votes. It’s something we’ve addressed in many ways over the years but we’ll plan to lean into it more and more.
In the meantime, be sure you’re getting the monthly publication Postings from Catalyst Services. You can also find gems in their carefully organized archives.
Readers mentioned a few specific issues. They are currently struggling with how to get and keep their pastors and church staff involved in missions, how to help their churches become more mission-focused, and how to create meaningful connections between the congregation and their mission partners (some of whom work in sensitive regions).
2. Current events and ministry trends (73.1%)
Following close behind that, most readers would like to see us continue covering current events and ministry trends. Will do. Your interest gives me a great excuse to keep up with reading, listening to webinars, and going to conferences. Thanks!
Just knowing what’s going on is not enough. How do we apply what we hear about mission shifts and changing cultural trends to our mission and mobilization efforts? In particular, what do we need to know and do to work well with international partners and see more funding for mission efforts from the global south? Those are the kind of questions readers are asking.
3. Staying motivated as a mission mobilizer (57.6%)
My hope is that just by hearing from us, you’re a bit encouraged and inspired to keep going and not give up. But motivation is something we could address more. Check out Shane Bennett’s 7 Joys of Mobilizers.
I’ve started a conversation with Bevin Ginder at GlobalCast Resources about creating some articles related to this and other topics on our list. Watch for that.
Of course, in-person and/or interactive is best for many of us. Scope out the Missions Catalyst events calendar for options that may work for you. And if you’re a mission mobilizer in the US, get yourself connected to a Mobilization Ideation group or event in your region.
One reader wrote to confess, “The biggest challenge I’ve been wrestling with as a mobilizer is that I spend a majority of my time encouraging and mobilizing others in the area of disciple-making, while not fully living that out in my own life. I think as mobilizers, we often have resources that help us know how to mobilize others better, but I think many (if not most) of us are really struggling to implement the very things we’re trying to help other people do. At least that’s been my struggle.” Can you relate?
4. Ways to pray and raise up prayer for the nations & missions (57.5%)
The saying’s been around for a while. “When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.” He can accomplish in a day what we might labor over for years. We’ll continue to share ways to pray and tools to help others pray. Nothing we can do or say will convince someone the gospel is true or mobilize them for global missions like hearing from God for themselves.
We also hope Missions Catalyst encourages you to pray on your own and with others. One reader said, “My life as a mom of a young child is full. [I need] to be fueled with prayer ideas to do alongside my daughter.” Another wrote, “I love the mission stories, even the hard ones because they cause me to pray more for the situation.”
I’d love to hear what you think, though, about all the days or weeks of prayer for different places, people groups, etc. that we promote. There are so many of them, and none of us can care about everything. It’s easy enough to put them on the calendar, though. Do you want more of this sort of thing? Or maybe less?
5. Obstacles to global and local mission involvement (53.8%)
This topic is a discouraging one, but being out of touch with the obstacles and challenges we and others face does us no good either. Many of the books I think of as “missions apologetics” address obstacles and misconceptions. Some hurdles have been around for generations, while others seem new or growing in strength. See articles from The Traveling Team on obstacles to mission. You might have something to add to the list.
Several readers wrote about the struggle to motivate the younger generation and pass the mission mobilization vision on to them. How do we recruit and motivate more young adults, including young professionals? How do we integrate professionals into teams of traditional Bible-school types and see both become fruitful disciple-makers? Those are good questions.
6. Making mission trips better (50%)
Before the pandemic came along, this was a regular topic for us. Not so much lately. See some from our archives:
- Ten Lessons for Mission Trip Leaders (2018)
- The Five Minute Guide to Where to Send Your Church’s Short-Term Team (2016)
- Five Ways to Love Those Short-Term Mission Goofballs (2019)
I’m going to try to get some fresh content on this topic from friends at Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission. Making mission trips better is what they’re all about.
7. Mission training and education (50%)
This topic could go in many different directions. Aside from frequent shout-outs to things like Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, we’ve funneled most of our content about training opportunities and resources to our Resource Review editions. But maybe some of it would fit well in Practical Mobilization. How about revisiting immersive training opportunities like those mentioned in our 2013 article about mission internships? The options have changed.
Meanwhile, get yourself over to Global Frontier Missions for mission education opportunities in varying levels of immersion and complexity. They do good stuff.
What didn’t make the cut?
Evangelism, crossing cultures, missionary care, fundraising, and other nuts-and-bolts issues came in lower on our list. I was surprised by some of these. Perhaps our readers don’t need practical help in these areas. Or maybe you know you can find it elsewhere. Fair enough. We won’t ignore these topics altogether but may limit our comments to pointing you to other ministries, tools, and training opportunities you can pursue or recommend to others.
We appreciate you!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this survey and to everyone who reads Missions Catalyst. Some of you have been with us for decades. Others come with fresh eyes. We need both. May the Lord continue to bless you and make you a blessing.