Here at The Upstream Collective, we take the Great Commission seriously. Our goal is to help all churches view themselves as sending churches and all Christians view themselves as sent ones (John 20:21). We do so through our training events, jet set trips, consulting, cohorts, and by developing resources to help you and your church fulfill Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations.
But we also know that we don’t know everything—and that’s where you come in. Our blog has given us the opportunity to share wisdom from practitioners, teachers, and leaders to further push the missions conversation upstream.
This year, we covered a variety of topics on the blog: missionary care, calling, sending, spiritual formation, family matters, and much more. Here are our top five most popular articles of this year.
Missionaries Are Not Superheroes: How the Hierarchy of Missions Hurts the Gospel, The Church, and the Missionary
It’s easy to place missionaries on a pedestal. These are the people who leave everything familiar and comfortable and move to a foreign country to share the gospel of Jesus with a people who may have never heard of him before. But missionaries aren’t super-Christian and it’s not helpful to elevate them to that status. In this article, Anna Price exposes this unhealthy hierarchy in missions and calls the whole church to embody the whole gospel to the whole world.
When we reflect on our lives and serving God, it can sometimes feel as if we are racing toward nowhere, and God seems far away. Andy Jansen reminds us that our life’s significance is not only measured by what we accomplish, but by our obedience to Christ and how we love others.
To be Christian is to be on mission, but how do we understand what our individual engagement should look like? How do we discern if we are to live overseas? Using Acts 13 as an example of how the Holy Spirit works through the local church to call believers, Matthew Bennett leads readers to ask good questions and brings us into a deeper understanding of the complex topic of calling.
Part of sending missionaries is caring for them—from when they first begin the sending process to after they return home. Missionary care is multi-faceted and carried out on four levels: the local church, partnerships, sending agencies, and crisis care givers. In the first part of this series on missionary care, Neal Pirolo discusses the vital need for these four levels to increase their cooperation so that missionaries are better cared for while they serve.
Far too often, a local church sends out a missionary, only to forget about him or her. Promises of prayer and support prove empty and the missionary feels let down—or worse, abandoned—by the people who were supposed to be their support system. Using his personal experience, Caleb Alford calls the local church to fulfill the “one another” commands for those whom they send out.
As we enter a new year, we’d love to hear from you. If you have something you’d like to contribute to on our blog, get in touch with us so we can start the conversation.