By Bryan Austring, Pastor of Helvetia Community Church
How do we get there?
How do we fulfill the mandate of Ephesians 4:11-16—“to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”.
By Sandy True
Ryan and I attended the Portland “Journey Deepens” conference in March, 2013. It has been quite a journey since the ‘Journey.’ We loved the conference and left excited to work on our goals. Our timeline was to hit the mission field in summer of ’14. Finding an agency/ministry to work with proved to be a lot harder than we’d thought. We’d contact ministries, and they would each want us to fill out five or so different applications and then plug us into some kind of ‘job.’
By Jodi and Duane Decker / China Outreach Ministries
“Make plans, but write them in pencil; for God may redirect you as you follow Him.” “Remember, it is much easier to steer a moving car than a ‘parked’ one.”
These are bits of advice that someone gave me in my 20’s, and my husband and I have seen to be very true in our own lives…
By Dan Larsen, Executive Pastor at Cedar Mill Bible Church
Since its inception, Cedar Mill Bible Church has been a strong supporter of Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW).
Back in 2001 when Bill MacLeod first approached us about the idea of launching a joint effort among churches in the Portland area to strengthen and multiply their engagement in missions, we were hesitant. It wasn’t that we didn’t like the idea. It was simply that we were already so engaged in missions and had plenty on our plate already!
By Mike Hildenbrand, Missions Pastor, Sunset Presbyterian Church
My name is Mike Hildenbrand and for the past eight years I have been the missions pastor at Sunset Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. I am a non-paid volunteer giving leadership to Sunset’s global outreach minsitry. I am part of a ten person team that in partnership with our Elders develops and implements the philosophy and strategy of Sunset’s worldwide missions effort.
To accomplish that task I am constantly looking for ways to learn more about what God is doing around the world, and I have found Mission ConneXion Northwest to be a key resource for me and our missions team.
I have personally attended every Mission ConneXion Northwest conference since its inception, except one when I was out of the country. I go because it is without a doubt the best place on the west coast to learn, be equipped, and challenged as to what God is doing around the world and to discover what my role as a Christ follower is in His Great Commission.
The first year I was on staff at Sunset I took our whole missions team to the first ever all day leadership intensive workshop. The investment of the time and money to take our team there proved to be pivotal in the future of our team and the development of a philosophy of ministry for our church.
Additionally, each year we advertise the conference within our church and encourage widespread participation because there is no better way for our congregation to be equipped and mobilized for mission at home and abroad. We have felt so strongly about this that our church has hosted the Mission ConneXion Northwest conference three times. We have also hosted several other Mission ConneXion workshops.
My experience is that Mission ConneXion provides the educational opportunities but it is up to individuals and local churches to take advantage of them. The local church benefits to the extent that it invests and participates.
Sunset financially supports Mission ConneXion each year as part of its mission’s budget. We feel if we are going to benefit we should help support this important missions mobilizing tool. I would encourage other churches and individuals to do the same.
Thanks Mission Connexion Northwest for your vital support of the local church.
How is the Lord preparing YOU to impact your city?Mission ConneXion Alaska was birthed in 2005 in Fairbanks, Alaska, three years after we had launched in Portland, and by the fall of 2007 I received an unusual request from my friend, Wayne Clark, its director. He knew I was working out of the Luis Palau Association (LPA) headquarters by then and wondered if I might have any access to resources that could move believers toward evangelism. They were experiencing a level of unity and cooperation among the churches of Fairbanks as a result of churches participating in Mission ConneXion, and he wondered if it could be harnessed toward city-wide evangelism. That started some conversations among the staff at LPA.|
A year later, in November 2008, Colin James of LPA, along with Andrew Palau, and I flew up to Anchorage, where Dr. Dan Jarrell, pastor of ChangePoint Church in Anchorage, had pulled together a series of pastor gatherings there and in Wasilla to give clergy an opportunity to get better acquainted with Andrew. Timing was not ideal to consider starting anything, so active pursuit went dormant for a number of years while Palau staff stayed in contact and, on occasion, traveled up to meet various leaders. Andrew spoke at Mission ConneXion in Fairbanks in 2010, and that same weekend preached the gospel at the largest church in the city. When men responded to his invitation, the pastor of the church began to feel an urgency that perhaps the time was ripe for a city-wide, public proclamation of the gospel in Fairbanks. Pastors from all across the region then extended an invitation in the fall of 2013 and Luis Palau came and shared a vision for how God could use a united church effort called “Love Alaska with Luis Palau” in Anchorage and “Fairbanks CityFest with Andrew Palau” in Fairbanks, Alaska.Beginning in late May and extending through to the final weekend of June 7-8, the gospel was declared throughout Alaska – first by LPA’s partner Next Generation Alliance evangelists, and finally by Andrew Palau in Fairbanks (June 7) and Luis Palau in Anchorage (June 7-8). Some of the largest crowds either city had ever seen, assembled as churches worked together in unity and in conjunction with city officials, for the wholesale proclamation of the gospel.
In the lead up to these activities, both Luis and Andrew Palau stated publically that Mission ConneXion Northwest had opened a door for the gospel, and for the Luis Palau Association in Alaska. However, much of the momentum began when Fairbanks businessman, and owner of Graphic North Printing, Wayne Clark, approached us for evangelistic “resources” early in 2007. He had no idea how his simple, heartfelt request would impact the largest State in the USA.
How is the Lord preparing YOU to impact your city?
Pastor of Global Outreach, Abundant Life Church, Damascus, Oregon
My first exposure to Mission ConneXion was the year when Steve Saint spoke. I had never heard of Mission ConneXion, but I knew the story of Nate Saint and the ultimate sacrifice that he made in the jungles of Ecuador, so I was interested in hearing his son speak.
I didn’t know what to expect – in fact, I don’t recall having any expectations at all. I appreciate good teaching and the end of the day, not only was Steve Saint’s presentation amazing, but I was struck by the quality and size of the event that had hosted him. The worship, the workshops, the vendors and displays – I had no idea that a missions conference of this caliber and magnitude was right here in my own back yard. I made a mental note to take advantage of this opportunity and attend the following year.
After several years, Mission ConneXion had established a track record of quality and trustworthiness with me. The speakers were consistently inspiring – my heart was stirred as I heard about what God is doing around the world. The booths were always encouraging. The people were friendly and incredibly helpful. The networking of ministries was positive and productive.
As a Pastor of Global Outreach, one of my ministry priorities is education and awareness of all things missions. I realized that Mission ConneXion offered more missions education and awareness in one weekend (and at a higher quality) than what I could provide for the church in a year.
I determined to leverage Mission ConneXion as a resource for anyone who was interested in missions and cared to listen. The year that Bill Job (sp?) spoke, I brought our Business As Mission group. Bill’s relationship with Jesus was so refreshing and authentic. His message was nothing short of life-changing for us a group. We still refer to his ministry on a regular basis.
Because Mission ConneXion This means the enquiry won’t have a negative impact on your credit score agencies . is done with such excellence, I wanted to help out and serve however I could. I knew that an event like this doesn’t just happen in a vacuum – that there’s much planning and preparation (sounds suspiciously like work!) that has to be done behind the scenes. I have been blessed, both personally and professionally, by Mission ConneXion. I didn’t want to just be on the receiving end of things – I wanted to give back. So, I became proactive and got involved.
It still amazes me that Mission ConneXion is free of charge to attend, because there is nothing free about pulling off an event of this scope. The church that I serve has given financially to Mission ConneXion because we see the value of strategic partnerships. This is especially true in missions. Working together, we can do things that simply would not be possible on our own.
Jesus prayed for the unity of believers, so that the world would believe. When we as the church work shoulder-to-shoulder together for the purpose of equipping and mobilizing people to reach the world for Jesus, good things happen. But don’t take my word for it – check it out for yourself.
By Jeff Reed, Founder, Go Groups
Do you want to go into missions but don’t know what to do next to get there? The GO Group was established in 2012 to help people navigate the process of transitioning to long or short-term cross-cultural missions. The group’s founder had seen a group doing something similar at Oregon State University and suggested the idea to the leadership at Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW). They loved the idea and felt it was well aligned with their goal to effectively mobilize God’s people into missions. The GO Group is meant for those who have been in missions, are interested in missions work, or who know the Lord has called them to work on the Mission Field. The passion and goal of GO Group is to provide mutual support, accountability, mentoring, networking and prayer for each member as they pursue God’s direction for their lives. The goal of this community is that each member would be effectively mobilized into active cross-cultural ministry and join a different group – the GONE Group!
We’ve found several ways to accomplish the goal of effective mobilization. We meet one-on-one to help people work through goals, next steps, questions and hurdles, and ways others have effectively worked through this process. We also meet as a group once a month and invite experienced missionaries to share their stories and experiences, and to provide insights into the practical aspects of preparing successfully for missions endeavors. Networking and brainstorming between members helps everyone to troubleshoot their situations and we always stop to lift one another up in prayer in ways specific to our ministries and goals.
Mission ConneXion Northwest has been a significant support in establishing and growing the GO Group. In January 2012 Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW) agreed with the GO Group founder that there was a need for a community like GO Group in the Portland Metro area and they helped launch GO Group at the January 2012 MCNW event. Many people expressed an interest in this endeavor and as a result GO Group PDX had its first gathering in March 2012. As a result of MCNW’s partnership with the GO Group has not only survived but thrived and has been able to have a huge impact around the world in the ministries of those launched through the GO Group. Since that time Mission Connexion has been a crucial partner in the ongoing growth of the GO Group and has been critical in connecting the GO Group with other partners such as The Journey Deepens and Perspectives on the World Christian Movement classes.
The very nature of the GO Group is dynamic because people are being launched into cross-cultural ministry and quickly transition from the GO to the Gone Group. At any given time we have between 15-25 active members brought to us through MCNW, The Journey Deepens, Perspectives and word of mouth from those who have been or are part of the GO Group. Since the GO Group was established, many members have been mobilized into long-term missions, short-term mission trips, and have become involved in local cross-cultural works in the Portland area. Members have gone to a myriad of nations in Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Some have increased their work in the US operations of international missions work. Others are actively preparing to leave for the field in the next several years and there are current members who are leaving within the next year for Africa, Nepal and Papua New Guinea.
As a result of members active transition to cross-cultural work the GO Group is constantly on the search for new members that need the support and encouragement that GO Group provides. GO Group is not aligned with any mission agency or church and as such it is strategically able to provide support for what God is speaking into your life without bias. We want to help you to go wherever the Lord directs you, whether in local cross-cultural work, or in a distant land. The GO Group wants to see you effectively reaching people for Christ here and around the world.