Upstream is celebrating 10 Years of helping churches send locally and globally. We’ve asked people who have been part of ‘The Collective’ over the past decade to look back on how God has used our relationships & resources to help push mission ‘upstream!’
We’ll be sharing some of these stories throughout 2018. Want to include your voice as we look back on God’s grace & faithfulness? We’d love to hear how Upstream has been part of your journey! Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Written by Paul Davidson
When I think about the resources that have most influenced my ministry over the past ten years, an array of websites, blogs, podcasts, articles, books, and leadership retreats come to mind. However, there has been no greater resource that has shaped my ecclesiology, and in particular my missiology, than The Upstream Collective.
The Impact on Church Planting
I remember having coffee with Larry McCrary almost a decade ago as he shared with me the vision of Upstream. As a young missionary, I knew I didn’t have the whole “missions” thing figured out. However, I knew enough to see that most churches suffered from a lack of equipping for the Great Commission, along with an unhealthy view of who was to carry it out. Upstream’s vision made sense: equipping churches with the training that had traditionally been reserved for paid professionals. In other words: enabling them to think and act like a missionary.
Since that meeting, Upstream has provided me and the churches where I’ve served with practical training on how the church can embrace and fulfill its missionary identity. I have personally participated in some of their roundtable discussions with mission-focused leaders from all over the country. The takeaways from those gatherings guided me as a young missions pastor in laying a healthy foundation for a church plant. They put us on a trajectory that approached God’s mission far from the status quo. Instead of leaving it in the hands of outside organizations, the guys at Upstream pushed us through a necessary missions identity crisis and gave us concrete tools for sending our own people.
The Impact on International Missions
Most recently, as an international missionary who is leading teams of young adults, Upstream has provided pre-field training for all of our two-year interns. I completely trust in this training because I know it’s led by missiological practitioners who have dedicated their lives to reshaping missions. Thanks to their training, our new teammates arrived with healthy expectations, contextualized evangelism training, tools to transition well, on-the-field support, and so much more.
As a former missions pastor and current missionary, I cannot overstate the value that The Upstream Collective has added to my ministry. There isn’t a single network out there that can do a better job of equipping you and your church to live out a healthy ecclesiology and missiology. If you only have the time to connect with one organization in 2018, make it Upstream.