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MOST RECENT ARTICLES
Our national brothers and sister experience culture shock just as we do. However, their struggle can go unseen, because missionaries are focused on their own ministries. Dan Bush, our Content Manager, seeks to understand the disconnect and point readers to the gospel in this article.
Larry and Susan McCrary have moved overseas again, and they’re sharing their experience of transition with the world. This time, however, they’re more marketplace than missionary. In this article Larry provides a glimpse into their strategy for intentionally contributing and participating in people’s lives where they live, play, and work––and how that measures up with their past experience as traditional missionaries.
There are many things to consider when we are sending or being sent overseas. This download provides not only a list of the sent ones’ needs pre-feild, afield, and post-field, but gives space for noting who will be responsible for them: the sending church, the partner organization, or the sent one themselves. The checklist isn't comprehensive, but that’s because it’s meant to get you started in the right direction.
Each time a church commits to send a missionary then fails to maintain that commitment, a promise is broken. Worse still, a person is broken. With a story that’s all too common, recently returned missionary, Caleb Alford, shares how he experienced the disappointment of being sent and let go.
Fear of failure is a very real motivation for many of God’s people on mission–especially with eternal hell in view. But is this the best driving force behind our mission efforts? More importantly, is this a burden God made us to bear? In this article Content Manager and former sent one, Dan Bush, seeks to speak a better word to propel our sending.
Sometimes being sent demands a helipad, not a runway. Whether you are moving overseas with your job, studying abroad, retiring overseas, serving as a church planting core team member, or simply living with gospel intentionality, this weekend training intensive is for you. Our weekend long intensives prepare workers to go and provided them with the skills to stay overseas.
It’s easy to look at God’s global mission through an idealistic lens, as though it’s primarily a chance to really live on the edge of obedience and adventure. However, in this candid reflection from his time overseas, recently returned sent one, Dan Bush, describes his surprising and painful experience of death at the hands of the One who sent him.
Preparing for a short-term mission trip usually amplifies our already-crazy American schedules. So what happens when an overworked, overstressed, and overplanned woman has to slow down on a Jet Set Trip? Read more to find out.
When western Christians hear the term “Orthodox Christians,” many assume we hold in common the basics of our faith. One participant on a recent Jet Set Trip to southeastern Europe, however, realized this just isn’t always true. Read more to see how she is now applying that realization in the Deep South.
What happens when five dynamic women join Upstream leaders for a Jet Set Trip in southeastern Europe? Let’s just say cloudless days and story nights. Check out this participant’s reflections from ten life-changing days.
Carols and concerts, pageants and presents, food and more food. The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year for both the religious and secular as the spirit of Christmas seems to fill the air. And while many fight to keep Christ in Christmas, we must remember who this Christ is and why He came. Christmas is a reminder of the primacy of Jesus as the Sent One.
In 2018 Upstream team member and president of Equipped To Go, Inc, Debbie Stephens, led a group of women on a Jet Set Trip to southeastern Europe. Follow along as Debbie opens a series of articles about how the participants embraced missionary thought and practice in settings vastly different from their own.
This time of year is always a great opportunity to look back on God’s faithfulness & to look ahead with anticipation of what is to come. Upstream exists because of you— the Collective of practitioners and sent ones who help shape and put to use our content fueled by donors and partners like you who help make this happen. We were encouraged to look back on 2018 in this Year End Review and to share some exciting things coming up in the life of Upstream in 2019. We hope you are encouraged, as well, as we hope to resource you to live sent.
In this episode, we are joined by Travis McGowan, who has also appeared in one of our favorite articles from the blog series, Mobilizing Smaller Churches. Travis is a non-staff pastor at Sojourn Church New Albany who has thought a lot about God’s mission. Travis has developed a hermeneutic, or way of thinking about missions, based on Psalm 51, a confessional psalm (not usually a go-to passage for the topic of missions). So naturally, the folks at Upstream wanted to have him on the show to talk about it.
It takes a lot of work to move to another place on mission. Arriving well means leaving well, but what does that look like? It includes transitioning relationships, responsibilities, finances, housing, vehicles, wills, and all the paperwork that goes with it. Leaving is overwhelming! So we created this 2-page PDF as a literal checklist of each important task involved in leaving well.
Most pastors honestly don’t know where to begin in sending “non-traditional” workers overseas well. In today’s post, we share a recent podcast episode where Larry McCrary sits down with our own Bradley Bell to have a candid discussion of the learning curve this has been for Brad as he has stepped into his somewhat recent role as a Lead Pastor of a sending church. The two offer some helpful things to think through for pastors to be just as intentional with ‘alternative pathway’ sent ones as we are with traditional ones.
How do you begin conversations about the gospel with friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are not Christians? Do you use a tool or resource, tell stories, or ... ? How do you bridge the gap in conversation and turn it to spiritual matters? In today’s post we share another helpful excerpt from The Tradecraft Workbook on overcoming barriers by identifying bridges to the good news.
Where are the hints of the suppressed memory of the Creator in your own local culture? Where can you see people hinting at the attributes of God in your city? What about another culture to which God is sending you/your church with the gospel? How can you use those instances as springboards for gospel interaction? In today’s post, we share an excerpt from The Tradecraft Workbook to begin thinking through how to exegete the culture you’re trying to reach.
Everything we do at Upstream aims to produce practical tools shaped and motivated by robust theology. Today’s post invites us to ponder the generosity of God together as we enter into this Holiday season and to be a people marked by faithful generosity for the sake of His name among the nations.
Upstream exists to resource the local church, missionaries, and organizations to send well. We are a collective of voices from practitioners serving in the trenches seeking to resource other practitioners serving in the trenches. Today’s post is an overview of recent books we’ve produced as an overflow of our conversations around all the things sending & mission, as well as a link to all our many free downloads of whitepapers & resources. We hope these serve you well!
We want to take this season of gratitude around the Thanksgiving holiday to express our love for everyone who makes up the Upstream family. We are thankful for the way each of you join together as a collective of ‘sent ones’ to help push the conversation of mission ‘upstream.’ Today’s post is a simple thank you from our Executive Director, Larry McCrary! Happy Thanksgiving.
Do you have wisdom you would like to share for empowering the local church to be senders locally and globally? Upstream would love to use your voice for a guest submission. Check out this guide to find out what we are looking for and how to submit articles.
We are passionate about seeing local churches fulfill their God-given role in reaching the nations. Through experience of coaching hundreds of churches across the United States, we have found that outside help is often critical in generating an honest assessment of a church’s current mission reality, bringing focus, implementing needed changes and engaging the entire church congregation in a compelling vision. Today’s post offers some common benefits of ‘getting help’ in developing a sending culture in your church & how we can do this together.
Upstream exists to help churches send locally & globally. We’re constantly asking how we can develop resources to help. The Upstream Podcast is one aspect of our regular rhythms to have a conversation together about healthy & effective sending. In this episode, financial advisor and GivApp founder, Jason Hunsucker, discusses church planting as a marketplace worker.
Ministry requires more than knowing the names and locations of streets and highways in your city. Observations need to be made in multiple dimensions. The first step in developing a map is to plot physical locations in and around a city— beginning with the 5 elements of a city: paths, nodes, districts, edges, and landmarks. Today’s post gives tangible help in discovering the last 3 elements.
Ministry requires more than knowing the names and locations of streets and highways in your city. Observations need to be made in multiple dimensions. The first step in developing a map is to plot physical locations in and around a city— beginning with the 5 elements of a city: paths, nodes, districts, edges, and landmarks. Today’s post gives tangible help in discovering these first two elements and how to begin thinking strategically about them.
Wouldn't it be great to be part of a sending church? Maybe someday we will all have that pleasure. Or perhaps we could all compound our joy, today, if we lay hold of the church's identity rooted in our sending God. That's what Nathan Shaver encourages us to do in this article reframing how we should think about sentness and sending.
Upstream exists to help churches send locally & globally. We’re constantly asking how we can develop resources to help. The Upstream Podcast is one aspect of our regular rhythms to have a conversation together about healthy & effective sending. In this epsiode, Larry & Susan provide join Brad to chat about what it means to send & be sent and the many gains and losses that come along with it.
Good map-making is the fieldwork out of which strategy is formed. Knowing who and where the people are is key to your ability to work among them. It is something to do before you know “what to do.” While you are walking the neighborhood, you will also have the opportunity to meet people, initiate conversation, become conversant in local culture, and pray for the people there. In today’s post we provide helpful tools to begin thinking about the ‘what’ & ‘why’ of this essential missionary skill from our resource The Tradecraft Workbook.
We must not forget, our missional endeavors are not on our own, they are God’s. As such, God guides us by His Spirit. Often we may find ourselves believing this truth in theory, but struggling to live in the tensions of our strategic planning & being sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. Today we share an excerpt from the Tradecraft Workbook with some thoughtful questions to help us move forward in faithfulness.