USA (MNN) — As a mission agency, The Evangelical Alliance
Mission exists to help churches send missionaries. In keeping with this
mission, they created EXPLORE workshops.
Dave Haas of TEAM explained the reasoning behind it: "We
believe strongly that the true sender of a missionary is the local church, and
that sending church plays a vital role in the ministry of the missionary,
providing spiritual authority, encouragement, prayer and financial support,
direction and accountability."
The problem is that many of these local churches are
ill-equipped to send out missionaries, and they cannot properly prepare future
missionaries to go overseas for long periods of time if they themselves do not
have the proper resources. Also, Haas said people will sense God's call on
their life, but they do not know if they are fit or ready to serve.
That is where EXPLORE comes in. Haas said, "We have
developed this workshop that we call EXPLORE … And it guides prospective
missionaries to assess numerous things: their call, character, their fit and
readiness for overseas services, and then, to ultimately identify practical next
EXPLORE is specifically designed for individuals pursuing
long-term ministry, usually overseas. Therefore, it is not geared toward
someone interested in short-term trips.
Each workshop has around 15-20 attendees and takes place
over two and a half days, in which participants spend time with current
missionaries one-on-one and in small groups, journal about the various
sessions, summarize what they have discovered, and set personal goals. At the
end of the workshop, Haas said each participant has a concluding interview,
which helps them to "synthesize what they've learned and better understand
their feelings about missionary service and establish some action steps."
Finally, there is a written assessment for both the
missionaries and the church, measuring their cross-cultural readiness.
TEAM started EXPLORE workshops about 15 years ago and has
since used them to encourage missionaries and churches all around the U.S. year
However, Haas said, "This is beyond TEAM; this is for
the benefit of the kingdom. It's helping churches and missionaries to obey and
follow God's direction and calling. There's no obligation to partner with or
serve with TEAM. Many have gone on to serve with TEAM or with other organizations."
One unique thing about this resource is: "We do not
charge a fee for this workshop. We don't even expect an honorarium for the people
facilitating. The only cost to a church is the reimbursement of expenses: travel,
housing, meals and materials," Haas said.
As TEAM continues to provide this resource, pray for the
Lord of the harvest to raise up willing workers who attend the workshop and
then serve where they are needed.
Click here for a schedule of EXPLORE workshops or to
schedule one through your church.