In the next and final phase of the pipeline we are looking to move our members from Committed Goers to Sent. Committed Goers are those that have been assessed by your church and the sending agency and cleared to go overseas. Sent are the ones that actually hit the field. Questions to ask to develop programs in this transition phase from Committed Goers to Sent are:
How will you coach them in support raising?
How will you mentor them through a personal development plan?
How will you train them in missiology?
1. How will you coach them in support raising?
Every goer should read the book The God Ask by Steve Shadrach. It’s the best book out there on support raising. I’ve never met with any potential goer first say that they were excited about support raising. However, after reading this book, while many would still not call their state “excited,” they all felt like it was accomplishable with good organization, hard work, and the Holy Spirit.
Most missions organizations have a robust support raising training program. As missions pastors, this is a critical area of shepherding. Whether you directly take on coaching the goer through support raising or leave that up to the organization, your involvement pastorally in their lives at this time is critical.
Support raising is hard, it’s time consuming, and it’s emotionally exhausting. I see more tears through this process than in the first six months of people going overseas! We need to be in their corner reminding them that God has led them to this place and help them stay in the fight of support raising. I’ve never had a person I felt was really called overseas and who did a faithful job of support raising that was unable to get their funds. Those who I was kind of on the fence about going and weren’t faithful in their disciplines of support raising were the ones that failed to meet their goals.
"Our pastoral responsibility in sending is to help goers remember their calling, and encouraging them to stay faithful to the work is vital for this process."
Our pastoral responsibility in sending is to help goers remember their calling, and encouraging them to stay faithful to the work is vital for this process. Everytime someone hits their goal, it’s such a joy. They are so happy. We are so happy for them. And they have an Ebenezer (1 Samuel 7:12) moment that they can look back on and see the faithfulness of God.
2. How will you mentor them through their Personal Development Plan?
Similarly to the last phase, Committed Goers will continue to meet with their mentor to populate their Personal Development Plan and work through it. At this stage, it is important to start bringing in the team leader on the field into the Personal Development Plan for that person. This will help them to know and understand the areas of growth that they will need to continue to shepherd this goer through as they hit the field.
3. How will you train them in Missiology?
Of the three, this is probably the one that varies the most in necessity. If you are sending to a place that has strong “just in time training” plan on the field and the ability to come into a culture slowly, this is not as important on the front end. If, however, your goer is entering an unreached and unengaged culture, this becomes more important.
Trainings like Radius International or Missionary Training Institute provide great resources for Missiological and Cross-cultural training. It would be especially recommended if going to a Middle East or Tribal area that these trainings be considered. Otherwise, making sure they have read a good introductory book to global missions would be sufficient for many locations.
We hope through these series of blog posts on the Sending Pipeline that you have gained a vision for why pipeline is important and specific areas along the Pipeline. If you’re interested in being personally coached through the pipeline, signup for our Foundations and Advanced Cohort at: www.theupstreamcollective.org/cohorts.
Mike Ironside is Missions Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa. He has served on staff with Cornerstone since 2006 in varying roles from college ministry to pastoral staff to being an overseas missionary sent from Cornerstone for 2 years. Mike is the Director of Cohorts for the Upstream Collective. He also serves as chairman of the board for Campus to Campus, a missions organization dedicated to getting US college students connected to church planting movements amongst college students worldwide.