Jet Set Trips: Off the Grid and On to Mission

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Jet Set 2018 looked a little different from any of our classic Jet Set Trips.

Ok, maybe a lot different.

Over the last ten years, we have taken pastors and church leaders out of their surroundings and into a foreign context for what you might call a “mission think tank.” We have typically done this in urban centers, examining and practicing the missionary skills found in Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission. Our days include missional conversations, ministry venues, and cultural observation.

This year we gathered mission leaders from all over the US to participate in our second women-only Jet Set Trip. These women were resilient as we led them into an “off the grid” rural setting rather than our usual comfort zone of the urban jungle. In one-room homes, we sat on the beds to eat the farm-to-table meals prepared by our hosts. We navigated the language barrier with smiles, hugs, and help with the dishes. Most of the trip we all slept in one room. We were immersed in the culture, to say the least! And in so doing, we came out with a fresh understanding of what it means to live on mission.

The people we encountered did not see us as “missionaries,” so we won’t be sharing our locations or names in the ensuing posts. There was no live tweeting, no Instagram or Facebook posts. We unplugged from social media and plugged fully into the culture that we were in.


One participant shared it this way:

I am truly so thankful for the opportunity to take a Jet Set Trip to southeastern Europe recently. I often wonder how I can play a role in the Great Commission since I work full-time in the energy industry and am not in full-time vocational ministry or serving as a missionary. God used our chats and experiences on the trip to open my eyes to the fact that every single day, I am a missionary wherever I am. We were able to visit people living overseas using business as mission, and that was particularly encouraging to me since that is the current world I live in and can relate to. Experiencing a different culture and watching our hosts take time for people, reminded me that RELATIONSHIPS are what is most important! I am usually so task-oriented, but I believe God used this trip to remind me to slow down and put things in perspective. And he is always reminding me not to put HIM or MISSIONS in a box. He can use any personality, any talent, any resource, and any relationship to change people - myself included. Thank you for this experience Upstream!

I can’t wait for you to hear from the others about what God taught them through this experience. Stay tuned as we feature posts from these incredible women over the next few weeks.  

And if you finding yourself wanting to experience a Jet Set Trip with us, great! You won’t be disappointed. Contact me at debbie@theupstreamcollective.org for more info.

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Debbie Stephens is the Founder and President of Equipped To Go, Inc,  a non-profit ministry that provides customized workshops and resources to prepare individuals and groups for their cross-cultural experience. In addition to working with churches, non-profits and mission sending agencies, she also leads the Jet Set arm of The Upstream Collective, where she uses her experience to put together trips that take pastors and leaders out of their local context and into a foreign culture to prompt missionary thought and practice.