Cultivating Missionary Skills | Mapping

Nothing will accent the fact that you are an outsider in a certain place more than being lost there. This is particularly true if you are in a completely foreign culture and do not speak the local language. Nothing screams, “I don’t belong!” quite like looking for someone who speaks your language so they can give you directions to wherever you are trying to go. You can learn much from an experience of this nature, but it can be an incredibly frustrating, and even frightening experience.
Being lost is stressful, at best. When we are lost, we look for anything that might help us be, well, un-lost. Signs help, if you can read the language. Asking for directions works, as long you can decipher the local perspective (turn left by Jimmy’s broken-down pickup truck). The best solution for lostness, apart from a personal guide, is a good map. It can show you where you are, where you want to go, and the paths between the two.


Recount a time you have been lost (don’t act like you haven’t been). Where were you? What were you doing? How did you realize you were lost? What did you do? How did you feel? Were you ever in danger? How did you remedy the situation? How could you have avoided being lost in the first place?

Mapping is an invaluable skill useful for avoiding just that sort of lostness in mission. After following the Spirit’s direction to a people and place, one of the best ways to get a “lay of the land” is through mapping—compiling a multi-layer graphical representation of the area to which you have been sent. An outsider wanting to begin ministry in a new place
can gain valuable insight from simply walking the streets and documenting everything observed. Studying the city can give you great strides in understanding its people; and putting yourself in the shoes of the people to whom you want to minister is the rst step of incarnation.

Mapping


I’m Lost!
 Nothing will accent the fact that you are an outsider in a certain place more than being lost there. This is particularly true if you are in a completely foreign culture and do not speak the local language. Nothing screams, “I don’t belong!” quite like looking for someone who speaks your language so they can give you directions to wherever you are trying to go. You can learn much from an experience of this nature, but it can be an incredibly frustrating, and even frightening experience.


Being lost is stressful, at best. When we are lost, we look for anything that might help us be, well, un-lost. Signs help, if you can read the language. Asking for directions works, as long you can decipher the local perspective (turn left by Jimmy’s broken-down pickup truck). The best solution for lostness, apart from a personal guide, is a good map. It can show you where you are, where you want to go, and the paths between the two.

Recount a time you have been lost (don’t act like you haven’t been). Where were you? What were you doing? How did you realize you were lost? What did you do? How did you feel? Were you ever in danger? How did you remedy the situation? How could you have avoided being lost in the rst place?

It’s Just Useful …

Good map-making is the fieldwork out of which strategy is formed. It is the intelligence-gathering portion of developing your approach to ministry. Knowing who and where the people are is key to your ability to work among them. Maps serve as a tool to help you organize your initial observations (and developments over time) and coordinate with others to develop an understanding of how people think, live, and interact. It also serves as an introductory project to introduce you to the community. 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.

The Basics ...

Missionary maps do not have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be drawn from scratch. Depending on where you are going, there is likely an online or printed map already in existence. Pick one that suits you, or, if you so desire, draw your own in a notebook or Photoshop or plot one out on Google Maps. Just be aware that your map will be a working document that will change over time as you gain insight about your community and people.

One of the best things about a good map is that it is an 
easy way to pass on what you have learned about a city or neighborhood to a partner with whom you’d like to work. Imagine sharing all that you know of a city with a new worker who has joined you in your city; or using your map to train a team from your sending church who will be joining you for a short term trip. The information on your map is invaluable, and with the groundwork already laid, others will have a much easier time getting a grasp of your city as they prepare to minister there.

As you think about mapping, perceive it through the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your community was asking for a quick “fly-over.” What would be important to include and why?

As you work through this exercise, pray for your city. Ask God to give you some new insight into the city and its people.

Look for something, even in never really paid attention churches in your city. Pray on mission in your city and your own drawing, that you’ve
to before. Pray, as well, for the that they would faithfully join God around the world.

Quickly sketch a map as if for someone who is not familiar with the community. Include significant features in the area and label them.

TODAY’S POST IS AN EXCERPT OF WHAT YOU WILL FIND IN THE TRADECRAFT WORKBOOK, WHICH IS DESIGNED TO PRACTICALLY GUIDE YOU & YOUR COMMUNITY TO BE EQUIPPED TO UNDERSTAND AND PURSUE THE ESSENTIAL MISSIONARY SKILLS NEEDED FOR EVERY FOLLOWER OF JESUS.

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