Through communication and conversation with mission ministers and leaders in the last couple of years, GCPN has identified three issues that need to be addressed by our network as we work together toward the common goal of reaching the lost:
- World-wide strategic structures and guidance for sending churches
- Cross-cultural preparation and training for church-based workers
- Collaborative giving efforts for strategic structures and shared sending
These are by no means the only issues, but they are essential issues that need to be addressed by churches venturing down the sending path. Thanks to the efforts of many of our network churches and partners, we are working toward providing some tangible answers to some of the complex questions.
The question, “Who will train our missionaries?” is a question that has historically received lots of answers. Most of the answers to that question resemble the response, “Write us a check. Send us your people. We’ll not only train them – but we will alleviate your church of the responsibility of training, strategizing, maintaining connectedness and partnering.” I think most of us agree at this point that we are not looking for the extraction of our called ones from our church bodies to live a separate life of missional service. Instead, mission sending has become more organic – less of a calling reserved for professionals and more of an outgrowth and extension of healthy missional bodies. Not only do we want to maintain connection on the field, we actually believe that God has equipped us with the ability to train our own people in a church and community context.
We have been channeling lots of prayer, thought and energy into equipping and training. What should training look like for a non-organization in the 21st century?
- The training content should be built upon collaborative input from many who have experience and knowledge of the subject matter
- The product should be easily and equally accessible to all
- The product should be wiki-mized so that it can be shaped and improved to remain current and applicable
With these goals in mind, GCPN is nearing the completion of a web-based learning experience for churches that can be utilized for training in a community context. These units of preparation are divided among 7 broad concentrations:
This preparation series is intended to be lived out in the community of local church and combines individualized learning with group facilitation and accountability. Each unit can be accessed by the individual group member for personal study and fleshed out in the context of a team or group meeting. Click here to view a sample unit. The first facilitator training for this web material will be led by Dr. Mike Stroope and hosted by First Baptist Church of Arlington, August 14-15, 2008. Our goal is to have 10 facilitators attend the first training from churches that are willing to serve as pilot churches. (Email the gcpn office to register or for more information.) Our prayer is that key churches will feel called to be area or regional training sites, eventually assisting other churches in this process.
Once you enter the room of web-based learning, there are many doors to further learning. We invite you into the room. The web-based curriculum should be available to all churches by late Summer 2008. We pray that this resource will be beneficial to you and to your church as you seek to prepare your own people for cross-cultural service.
Together in Christ,