USA (MNN) — Do you know anybody who is so focused on what God has called them to do that they just give and give and give?
There tends to be a bit of weariness in that sort of situation.
That is kind of how it is for a small ministry like MOSES Inc. MOSES is a mission organization that focuses on equipping the youth that join them on mission trips to be leaders who can effectively engage and impact their world. It’s all in their name: “Making OurSelves Equipped Servants.”
They know how to be servants, and they continue to equip these volunteers–ages14 to 21–to be leaders.
MOSES has a board of seven members, less than six volunteers, and a mailing list of 800 people who have gone through MOSES Inc. trips over the last 27 years. Their community includes contact with some churches and organizations.
We spoke with Gary Antcliff, Vice President of MOSES, about some of the challenges of operating a small organization, as well as some of the benefits.
He says, “Our biggest challenge is always having enough volunteers for any activity or fundraiser that we would like to have.”
He explains that having youth-focused mission trips is effective in its goal to train young people. But the problem is: these kids grow up.
“They may go on one or two or three trips, and after they are not involved in the trips anymore, they seem to fade away. And so do their families and their support groups.
“Therefore, it’s always on a rotating basis that we have any individuals helping us at all–which is okay; it’s understandable. They grow up. They’re not teenagers [anymore]; they’re off to college or getting married,” Antcliff says.
Another challenge MOSES faces is increasing security concerns. Mexico is in the news often, and it’s also where MOSES takes a big trip every year.
Antcliff says they’ve never had any problems on these trips. They take precautionary steps and are very careful about what they do. In this way, they have been able to provide a safe mission trip.
Despite the challenges, there are many benefits to being a small ministry. Antcliff explains, “It gives us…an intimate relationship with the kids that come. We get to work with them on the job sites, we get to help them learn how to be leaders in their communities and go back to their churches.”
Time and time again, MOSES sees kids get in the vans who refuse to speak because they are so shy. By the end of the van ride, they have 15 new friends. By the end of the trip, they’ve learned valuable lessons about how to be a leader and how to work with their peers.
“The teenagers run the operation when we’re on a mission. Wherever we are, they are running it. They’re setting up the jobs, they’re setting up the Bible study, they’re setting up our church service each night,” Antcliff says.
Every group is composed of teenagers who are leaders and participants who will take their place the following year.
While it’s difficult to recruit new groups every few years to go on missions trips, the challenges remind MOSES about Who is in control and Who is blessing them.
“Of course we couldn’t do it without the Lord’s help and Spirit along with us,” Antcliff says. “At each board meeting, we have a session of prayer and thanksgiving for what the Lord has done for us. We work very hard to keep ourselves humble, and it’s not too hard when you have a board that loves each other and encourages each other.”
Fundraisers are a necessary element to keep small organizations like MOSES running. Have you ever wanted to go on an African Safari? How about the Shedd aquarium in Chicago? These and other items will be available at a fundraiser auction next month.
Saturday October 18 marks a silent auction and dinner starting at 5:00 pm EST. At 6:30 pm, a live auction will start. It will take place at Grandville Christian School. For more information on this, contact Judy VanderArk here.
MOSES is still looking for more volunteers to help make and serve the dinner. E-mail Judy if you are interested.
And finally, if God has touched your heart about small ministries, take a moment to pray for them.
“We would really appreciate all the prayers that you could [send] our way,” Antcliff says.