An old paradigm for missions divided Christians into two categories: goers and senders. The people who went gave up their careers to overseas mission work, and those who stayed behind sent prayers and money to aid them on their journey. For the most part, that was where their connection ended.
The ease of communications and travel in our modern world means that goers and senders can fulfill the Great Commission in more unified ways. In this new era, we’re seeing that we can go further when we go together.
Missions Mobilizer John Harrison is finding new ways to connect the goers and senders in the Encompass family. This summer he’s mobilizing recent college graduates Nick and Adam 1 to Central Asia to assist Dan and Ellen 1 in their business-as-mission work. The result will be a three-stranded relationship between career missionaries, Encompass support staff, and local church members, all of whom are working together to increase their kingdom impact.
This innovative collaboration started when Nick and Adam attended their college’s missions focus weekends and stopped by John’s booth. They were intrigued to discover that the Information Technologies (IT) degrees they were about to complete were ideally suited to what was needed in Dan and Ellen’s Central Asian city. They found they could serve as short-term missionaries, investigate whether God might be calling them to further missions work, and develop the professional skills they learned in college—all at the same time.
These internships will shape Nick and Adam as they look to their future careers, and their assistance will further Dan and Ellen’s current work. John says, “These guys are graduating with a wealth of current knowledge on systems and programs. IT is a field that progresses so fast, and these young interns have a lot of contemporary skill to offer.”
Nick and Adam will be able to teach Dan some of the latest technologies and software. And Dan will be able to delegate tasks that will free him to pursue relationship building, all while helping to hone Nick and Adam's skills with real-world experience.
The era of siloed mission work, with each worker separated from all the others, is quickly fading, and a new world of opportunities to work together has opened up. Missionaries are leveraging the skills of people in local churches in the states. Individual church members are expanding their kingdom impact by serving in ways that utilize their professional skills. And Encompass staff members have the incredible privilege of seeing it all come together.
This strategic initiative requires each of us to examine what role God might have for us in world missions.
Each of us has an opportunity to do more to fulfill God’s Great Commission—what will you do to Go Further Together with us?
1 Not their real names.