Several people have asked about what’s next for me. The truth is, I don’t know. I still don’t know what I’m going to do for a living after we arrive in the U.S. Sure it sounds irresponsible and immature to up and leave a perfectly good job and regular paycheck for, well, nothing, but I am.
I am and I’m not.
For those of you who know me (and some of you know me, but don’t know that you know me…), it will come as no surprise that I have been working on a new thing. I’m really excited about getting a real job and being a regular person (you know, rather than a missionary), but I’ve also been working with some colleagues on a new initiative to get churches more directly involved in missions.
I’ve written quite a bit about the centrality of the local church to missions, and the current trends that conspire to keep her on the sidelines. Everywhere I turn, I’m finding people and churches who are looking for a more biblical missiology and a better way to do missions.
That’s why we started the UpStream Collective, a small group of missional leaders who are committed to training churches to develop innovative strategies for incarnational missions in Europe. This is not a new sending organization. It’s not a business, or even a ministry (in the traditional sense). We’re just a group of (former) missionaries who are looking for ways to share what we’ve learned on the field with people back in the States.
We’re going to focus on four things:
The “About Europe” Meetings: This summer, we’re taking a road trip. We’re asking friends in several cities across the country to host small get-togethers where we’ll talk about the church’s role in missions, and share some practical ideas for engaging people with the gospel. If you’re interested, please check out the “About Europe” website.
Skybridge Community: There are lots of believers who live and work in Europe, but aren’t “missionaries” because they have real jobs. Because they’re not part of the missions sending system, many of them don’t have any kind of support (spiritual, emotional, prayer, help, etc.) that they need. We’re going to connect churches who are serious about missions with expatriate professionals in Europe who are serious about missional living. For churches with few resources, this is a great turnkey strategy for immediate missions engagement.
Jet Set Trips: A couple times a year, we’re leading a vision trip to Europe. A few days in a European city is all you’ll need to get a clear understanding of the postmodern, post-Christian spiritual reality there. What’s more, it will give you a unique insight into what the U.S. will look like in just a few short years. Participants will see the sights, talk to the people, and explore innovative ways to develop and coordinate strategic missional work among the unreached.
Missions Misunderstood, the Book: Okay, so that’s not exactly what it will be called, but we are working on a couple of books, and we plan to continue blogging. We are committed to promoting dialog about missions, and to sharing ideas freely with all who might be interested. We’re going to organize several campaigns geared toward churches getting more directly involved in missions.