Developing Sent Ones: Sending Church Element 9
A sending church develops sent ones when it uses the results of the assessment to help candidates grow in their readiness to be sent cross-culturally as effective disciple-makers and multipliers of the church’s vision. This includes producing a customized development plan for each candidate in the categories of knowledge, character, and skills. It also involves ongoing coaching and evaluation as sent ones move toward the field. - Upstream Collective Sending Church Element #9
Assessment and Development are not necessarily linear processes. Development has been happening for a person throughout their life and especially in the life of your church. As you assess potential Sent-Ones, many of the assessment tools are also useful for development as well. The characteristics that you are assessing are the same qualities that will provide the foundation for the personal development plans that you work on throughout the assessment and development process for Sent-Ones.
So why should you do development as a church for your Sent Ones? Won’t they learn all they need to through the sending organization? Certainly any missions will have great training, but character cannot be developed in the five to six weeks of training a Sent-One receives through the organization. The reality is that anything that’s a yellow light stateside will be a red light overseas. The stress of moving cross-culturally and having most of one's foundations of communication, sense of home, how to buy food, and a new routine bring out the worst in the best people.
Therefore, working hard to develop character prior to going overseas is best for the Sent-One and for the team receiving them on the field. And character development doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and personal interaction that cannot be manufactured in a short time, but is best done in the life of the church from the moment the Sent-One shows interest in going overseas.
"Character development doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and personal interaction that cannot be manufactured in a short time, but is best done in the life of the church from the moment the Sent-One shows interest in going overseas."
There are a few important avenues of development. The first is to establish a mentoring relationship for the Sent-One. The Sent-One and the Mentor will work through a personalized development plan. Walking through exercises and resources the Sent-One will work through areas of growth in their character. The second avenue, for those who are support raising, is coaching through that process. Again, missions organizations will provide great help in this arena, but support raising is hard! It can often be more stressful than going overseas! This process needs shepherding. Encouraging their personal mentor or designating a specific person in your church to help guide those who are fundraising both logistically and pastorally is a great way to love your Sent-Ones.
Upstream is here to help you Develop Potential Sent-Ones. Here are a few ways:
A subscription to the resources on our website gives you access to practical ideas to Develop Sent-Ones for global missions. Resources include:
Tradecraft by Larry McCrary & Caleb Crider
“Personal Development Plan Template”
“Resources for Personal Development Plans”
“Training Sent-Ones to Relate Well to their Sending Church”
“Coaching Missionary Candidates”
“Leaving Well Checklist”
Our book, Sending Church Applied (Fall 2021), will take a deeper dive into how to Develop Sent-Ones with your missions team and church leadership.
The Advanced Cohort will give extensive training and personalized coaching to help you Develop Sent-Ones in ways that are unique to your context.