Equipping Churches in the US
Part of my role is to help the ministry ITEC partner with churches who are rethinking their mission efforts or wanting to have a longer-term impact with their mission trips. We then act as a guide to help them in these efforts and encourage sustainable, short-term training trips.
This past month I had the opportunity to travel to Wyoming with Jaime Saint (the Executive Director of ITEC) to visit a potential church partner. We spent the weekend with the Pastor of the church and other leaders and had the chance to share the vision of ITEC and how the church could get involved in overseas mission.
Wyoming is the 10th largest state by land in the US but has a population of under 600,000. Fun fact, the population density of this state is 5.97 people/sq mi (2.27 people/km2). That’s a lot of space! When we arrived, we quickly realised that we were in a different culture. It almost felt foreign. We visited ranches (one which was 17,000 acres), saw real-life cowboys, and spent time with the locals who had a refreshing perspective on how life ought to be lived. I write all this because I find places and culture super interesting, but also to give some context to the outreach efforts of the church.
Currently, the church does not have an overseas mission strategy, but they are working towards planting more churches in Wyoming. It is by no means an unreached part of the world, but they do have some towns with no churches or no one to pastor these churches. They are training up one church planter at the moment who works part time in the church and part time on a ranch. They explained that this strategy allows the church planter to not only learn about ministry, but also to learn the culture in which they will minister (ranching is a big part of Wyoming culture).
Having been around ITEC for a year now, I’ve come to realize the importance of understanding and embracing culture when it comes to Short-Term Mission. The western church is often well-intentioned in their overseas mission efforts but can quite often bring their dominant culture and “our way of doing things” and expect the indigenous church to adapt to it. Rather, we should be taking the humble approach by immersing ourselves into their culture, learning from them, and ultimately equipping them to continue the work God is calling them too after we leave. That is what we are wanting to pass on to the churches that we partner with. The idea that short-term missions can be done differently, and can lead to sustainable, long-term impact.
We are currently partnering with four churches who are rethinking their mission efforts, which now includes this church in Wyoming. We aim to zoom call with these churches once a month and listen to where God is leading them. We don’t provide a cookie- cutter approach but we do encourage churches to think about what it is they leave behind when they go on short-term trips. Some of these churches have begun learning ITEC’s training programs to be able to go and train Indigenous believers overseas. We are excited that we are able to multiply our efforts this way. Perhaps your church would be interested in finding out how to have a long-term impact on a short-term training trip. Get in touch with me or fill out an equipping interest form at this link https://www.itecusa.org/equipping-interest-form/.
Also, here are my upcoming trips:
Wao Vision Trip, Ecuador | July 7th-17th (https://www.itecusa.org/wao-vision-trip/)
Louisville, Kentucky | August 14th- 18th
Toledo, Ohio | September 1st- 3rd
Rocky Mount, North Carolina | September 10th-13th
Please be praying for Jaime and me as we travel that we would be able to have impact on the people and churches we connect with.
Photo taken on the 17,000 acre ranch