Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thoughts on Training and the Digital World

As you may remember, I started MOT (Missionary Orientation and Training) at Global Outreach a few days ago. In case you wondered, Missionary Training is nothing like I expected. 

It's not endless hours sitting in lectures. Traditional lectures are few and far between. Instead, there are innovative teaching techniques that invite us to learn more about ourselves and the people in our group. 

One of the things I'd expected was that I would be trained to do whatever it is that missionaries do. Instead, I'm learning how I work with others, how to do that better, and how to work within the organizational structure of Global Outreach.

What I've learned as we've gone along is what Global already knew about me. I'm not becoming a missionary. I've been sharing the Good News of Jesus through digital means since the internet was an infant. I've been a missionary for years. My mission is to do more of what I already do, and do it in creative ways.

The table in the board room had paper tents with our names printed on them to mark our seats. All the other missionaries' tents had their name and the country in which they will be serving. 

My tent had my name and my "country", too. It read, "DIGITAL WORLD". I saw that and laughed, but it was exactly right. My mission field is, indeed, the digital world, and I have a lot of work ahead.

We've learned about the importance of building teams, and I've begun to have a vision for how much more could be accomplished if a team of people served alongside me. My vision of gospel-sharing will take more than my computer and me. It will take lots of people to accomplish all that God's put in my heart. 

When we talk about a "team" to support, most people think first of donors, and, of course, I'll need financial participation if I'm to continue in this work. For two decades, I've funded most of my ministry efforts from my own pocket. Maybe we could accomplish more if we worked as a team instead of my ongoing "lone ranger" efforts. Those who give will be just as much a part of my team as the ones who help "in person". 

What I think of first as I consider building a team, though, is of people willing to give their time and prayers. When I host Bible studies, I'll need people to help serve. When I reach out into the community, I'll need others to come along and serve with me. When I try something different, I'll need people to cheer me along and help spread the word. 

We've learned about the procedures for having short-term mission groups visit our sites. As I listened, I pondered innovative new ways to incorporate those things into this ministry. 

Would you like to be a "digital missionary" for a day? That will be possible before long. 

What about a six-week stint as a digital mission intern? I'm envisioning way to make that possible.

The wonderful thing about reaching out to the digital world is that it's always changing, always expanding, always offering new ways to touch hearts and lives. I've gotten a glimpse of the possibilities and I'm full to the brim with ideas. 

Those ideas, however, are not about trying new techniques and seeing big numbers. The dreams I'm dreaming, the plans I'm planning are about the hearts of people who need Jesus, people who will perish in eternity without Him. It's about touching those believers who've lost their way, and encouraging them to encounter Christ in a fresh way.

When Jesus commanded us to make disciples as we go along, He expected us to use the tools within our reach to accomplish that commission. Every one of us have a portion of the world to which God has called us. Every one of us have tools within our reach to touch the world for Jesus. We're all supposed to be missionaries.

My little portion of the world is digital, my "tools" a computer and the internet, but you have a part of the world to touch and tools to use, too. 

Today, let's look at the Great Commission with fresh eyes and ask God what tools He wants us to use to reach the world for Christ.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matthew 29:19 esv
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's Guest Blogger post: Courtenay Folk: The Balancing Act

Here's the list to the worldwide prayer guide: The Prayer List

#greatcommission #missions #globaloutreach