Everyone at Upstream was excited this last week to see off another group of sent ones, wrapping up an energetic week of Pre-field Missionary Training. It was encouraging to see such a diverse crowd of individuals seeking to use their unique gift sets and opportunities to serve God. Participants came from six churches and represented four mission organizations. They are going to serve in variety of ways:
- World Race
- Third-culture kids education
- Marketplace professional
- Pastoral intern at an international church
- Traditional missionary
- Missions team leader
Here is what some of the participants were saying:
“My wife and I enjoyed our time at Upstream’s Pre-Field training. We feel so much more equipped to enter the field. We highly recommend it to individuals and other churches, who are looking for a good Pre-Field Missional Training.”
“The Upstream training replaced a lot of my anxieties about moving overseas with confidence and optimism in the Lord. The trainers all taught with a great deal of humility and care, and each was extremely qualified." Worker sent to Germany
Learning to Think and Act Like Missionaries
At Upstream we recognize that sometimes less is more, and while dumping theology might be satisfying for a teacher, we don’t think that forcing participants to drink from a firehose is always the best teaching method. We think that cultivating good thinking and habits is a more worthwhile activity than merely transferring information. Therefore, the essence of our training isn’t to overload with information, but to actually empower people to think and act like missionaries.
At this training we sought to address whole persons, understanding that head, heart, and hands are all necessary to thrive in ministry. Knowledge comes alive when it is complimented by both practical skills and godly character. We even try to reflect this in our primary trainers:
- Caleb Crider – head. We love Caleb’s insight and enthusiasm, and we value how he elevates all of our thinking. Caleb really got us off the ground, thinking about worldview, engaging tribes, contextualization, and cultural exegesis. He also tag-teamed our sessions on mapping with Larry.
- Zach Bradley – heart. Zach has the heart and passion of a pastor, and now he is one! We thank Antioch Church for allowing us use of their space for this training. Zach led sessions on soul-care, an enneagram personality study, and orality in Western societies.
- Larry McCrary – hands. Larry brings a wealth of practical ministry experience, which he loves to use to launch others. Besides teaching mapping, Larry also taught sessions on being Spirit-led, working with short-term teams, and communicating with sending churches. His wife, Susan, also helped him teach sessions on family and single life, and a session on arriving well during the First 30 Daze.
We also would like to thank the tremendous leadership of Debbie Stephens, President and Founder of Equipped to Go, Nathan Garth, Pastor of International Missions at Sojourn Community Church, and Dr. Robert Cheong, Pastor of Care at Sojourn Midtown, as well as SBTS and Boyce College professors, Dr. Gregg Allison and Dr. John Klaassen.
Participants were talking about the value of learning skills:
“The training taught me skills, tools, and a framework for my mindset in going overseas, while still managing to stay cost and time effective.” Worker sent to Germany
“The training has been invaluable. The Upstream team taught us skills for the field and then allowed us to go practice them. I loved the honesty, openness, and accessibility of the whole team.” Worker sent to the Middle East
“The Upstream Collective did an excellent job in helping to prepare me to go overseas as a gospel worker. The training was packed with helpful, practical, Gospel-centered, and encouraging sessions – from soul care to learning how to map the place you’re going – these are so needed for preparation. I feel like my tool belt is now more adequately equipped for the work God has before me.” Worker sent to the Middle East
Why Train in Louisville?
Participants love the city and are always surprised at the ethnic diversity, cuisine, and mission leaders. We hope to see you next time. Our 2018 Louisville training events are set for January 20-27 and August 18-25. You can also stay up to date with our upcoming training events by visiting our Events page.
“Upstream has a great emphasis on the local church and what it is to be missional. The leaders are grounded in the grace of the Gospel of Jesus and their wisdom and experience are helpful for those who are preparing to be sent ones.” Worker sent to Middle East
“The Upstream team truly desires to see the gospel spread to the nations. The training equipped us to engage our city and the people around us, and the team showed its heart for the nations by being honest and accessible. I cannot recommend this highly enough.” Urban Worker sent to the Middle East