Upstream has become known as a collective of missiological forward-thinkers who produce practical content. And we're at our best when we provide it for free. All we ask in return is that you join the Collective by providing your email address. 



Although every sent one is a leader in some capacity, some desire to be leaders among leaders. These are people who want to head up a team or start something new. How does a church even begin to assess this kind of leader? We recommend making use of this 5-page PDF guide. Written by Larry McCrary based on years of assessing team leaders, it’s a tool for exploring candidates’ character, calling, and chemistry. It also includes 10 key identifiers of missions leaders along with corresponding questions.


The Sending Church Defined Bibliography

Want to learn more about being a church that sends its people on mission, but don’t know where to start? Our book The Sending Church Defined can serve as a great introduction on the subject, and we’ve made its bibliography into a 6-page PDF that can facilitate deeper study on the topic. The resource gives you the name of a sited book and the hyperlink to purchase it.


Choosing your best alternative pathway

Are you looking for an alternative to serving as a traditional missionary? Are you considering how to best leverage your skills and season of life to advance God’s mission? Whether you are a student, retiree, business owner, artisan, teacher, freelancer, spouse of a visa holder, or just seeking a job transfer, this 1-page PDF chart can assist you in determining a realistic pathway forward. Taken from our book, The MarketSpace, this resource helps you assess the above pathways according to how they provide accessibility, flexibility, sustainability, and credibility.



Does your church look at every single member as a potential sent one? How can you begin to cultivate that kind of culture? And what do you do with those who respond? We recommend developing a sending pipeline. This is a basic system for drawing people in and moving them through a clear process in being sent out on mission. It includes three critical phases: identification, assessment, and development. This free download includes an 7-page PDF guide and a .png graphic.


Example of A SENDING Pipeline

Developing a sending pipeline is an exciting idea, but what does it actually look like? What are all the practical steps involved in moving candidates through the phases of identification, assessment, and development? During his time as a pastor of sending, Larry McCrary built an effective and reproducible example of a sending pipeline (sometimes referred to as a “sending continuum”). So we had Larry whiteboard his pipeline and we fashioned it into an easily legible graphic. This free download is simply that .png graphic.



Advocacy Teams are simply a model many sending churches use to provide ongoing care for sent ones. These teams do not, however, care for sent ones so that no one else in the church has to. One of their most important responsibilities is representing sent ones and their needs before the rest of the church. Advocacy Teams have been proven to help maintain the kind of relationships that benefit both the sending church and the sent ones. This free download includes a 6-page PDF guide.


establishing missions convictions

We believe every sending church needs missions convictions. In fact, that's often where our training and consulting begins. Missions convictions serve as guiding principles rooted in Scripture that inform the church's vision and strategy in local and global missions. Without such unifying convictions, churches will likely find themselves reactively responding to missions opportunities rather than proactively sending their members in strategic ways. This free download includes a 7-page PDF guide in how to get the process started. 


Examples of missions convictions

We believe every sending church needs missions convictions. Failing to use them as a strategic map could lead to less impactful uses of the church's limited resources and fewer ongoing, reciprocal relationships with its sent ones. This 19-page PDF guide corresponds with the how-to guide above, Establishing Missions Convictions, and provides the missions convictions of five unique sending churches from around the country. 


First 30 Daze Checklist

The first thirty days of a sent one's arrival in a new place has the power to shape their entire first term for better or worse. Unfortunately, many experience this tumultuous transition in a daze. Sending churches have the opportunity to help sent ones not only survive their landing in a new place, but to thrive there. This 3-page PDF checklist (take from our book The First 30 Daze) provides simple tasks that sent ones should seek to accomplish within their first thirty days.


Initial Missions Interest Questionnaire

How do you respond when someone expresses their interest in missions for the first time? Why does it matter? This 3-page PDF explains why such conversation are critical. It also provides a list of questions that church leaders can use to guide those conversations. Adapted from a basic questionnaire used by a local church, consider using it over coffee or posting it as a form that can be filled out. 

Leading Cross-Cultural Teams


Although there are many resources available on leadership, very few address the unique demands of leading teams in a cross-cultural setting. Having done this for years, Larry McCrary has written this 6-page PDF with over thirty practical tips for helping team leaders move from managing to facilitating to holistically leading.



Engaging people with the purpose of sharing the gospel can be intimidating, and it takes skill. In this free resource, Larry McCrary provides a practical missionary skill for the everyday Christian (similar to the nine skills in our book Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission). This download includes a 2-page PDF.


leaving well checklist

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.


preparing for returning sent ones checklist

Although sent ones return home for a variety of reasons, they all arrive with lots of "baggage," weights like reverse culture shock, fatigue, illness, housing needs, and identity loss. Sending churches are both called and gifted to help carry this baggage. Expanding on principles from our book The Sending Church Definedthis 3-page PDF is a simple guide for churches in preparing to receive their sent ones back.


Sending responsibilities Checklist

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. This free download is a 4-page PDF.


The Sending Church Elements

To become a sending church, we have identified 4 phases divided into 17 elements. We call them The Sending Church Elements: All Upstream resources, training, and strategy are organized according to these elements. This 3-page PDF will allow you to quickly identify where your church is in the process of becoming a sending church and guide you toward concrete next steps. .


Traditional Vs. Alternative Paths To Mission

Every Christian engages in God’s mission, but we are not all sent out through the same pathway. This free resource helps you think through how the church is central in the sending process, whether your pathway cross-culturally is traditional or alternative. This is a 3-page PDF. You can read more about alternative paths in our book Tradecraft.