I love to talk
I am not so good at listening.
Talking is easy.
Listening is much harder.
We see this reality play out on social media. We love to give our updates because we think everyone wants to read them. We believe our words have the power to change the world (or at least change the minds of our followers).
So we write.
Not so much.
I have served in church planting and missions for over thirty years, and almost twenty of those years have been overseas. Sadly, much of that time has been marked by talking too much and not listening enough. Listening is hard. Talking is so much easier.
On the field my wife and I spend a lot of time training global workers. Mission organizations and churches want their Sent Ones to know the latest 4ED or FDT evangelism formula (I made up those acronyms). Growing in missionary skills is important, but what I have come to believe over the years is that one’s posture on the field is often what makes or breaks you or the team you serve with.
We desperately need every person we send to be humble, to be a learner, to possess servanthood, and to be a good listener.
I see this reality play out clearly within short-term mission teams. We usually prepare our teams well in areas like trip strategy and logistics, but do we also prepare them to have a good posture toward those they will be engaging? We desperately need every person we send to be humble, to be a learner, to possess servanthood, and to be a good listener.
If we learn to listen–first to the Holy Spirit and then to the context around us–we believe we will see significant fruit from our short-term trips and be more helpful to the people and places we are serving.
This book is not just for the mission leader or team leader–our hope is that everyone on your team will use it and learn from it.
The Upstream Collective team wrote a field guide for short-term teams called Listen. This book is not just for the mission leader or team leader–our hope is that everyone on your team will use it and learn from it. Each participant can utilize this book before the trip as the team leader guides them through understanding elements like prayer, support raising, connecting with prayer supporters, and learning key missionary skills. The team leader can use this book to teach important principles of missionary living while they are on the trip as well. Once they arrive back home, the team members will have a great resource for debriefing as they think and pray through their trip and apply what they experienced into their everyday lives. We have also included some content on security preparation and even advice on how to pack for a short-term trip from mission leaders who have led numerous trips over the years.
We believe the Listen short-term trip field guide will be helpful for your church to use as your teams prepare, while they are on the field, and after they return home. Check out on Amazon:
Larry is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Upstream Collective. He and his family have lived in Europe for nearly 20 years, where he has served in a variety of strategy and leadership roles. Prior to moving to Europe he was a church planter and pastor in the US. He is a co-author of Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission, The First 30 Daze: Practical Encouragement for Living Abroad Intentionally, and The MarketSpace: Essential Relationships Between the Sending Church, Marketplace Worker, and Missionary Team.