If ever there was an opportune time for believers to both understand Islam for the purpose of reaching out with the love of Jesus, as well as caring for missionary workers currently on the field, it is now.
I’ve come to see my missions pastor role as helping God’s people answer Jesus’ call: “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:9). This is the single greatest privilege of pastoral ministry—watching Jesus transform men, women, and children into missionaries he can use. And this is one of the main reasons we partner with Mission ConneXion—to reinforce a culture where members of our church can answer Christ’s invitation to mission.
Over the years, we have participated with Mission ConneXion on a number of levels. As I reflect on the many ways we have been benefitted from that participation, here are a few things that stand out:
First, we have been encouraged, humbled, and challenged by working with the broader Body of Christ in the metro area. Mission ConneXion is a ministry of the entire church and, therefore, we have had the privilege of working side-by-side with others outside of our immediate church community. This is important! We can easily become isolated or proud but working with our brothers and sisters throughout the city keeps us grounded. It also gives us the beautifully humble realization that we are only a small part of what God is doing in this region.
Second, Mission Connexion has provided opportunities for The Well Church people to serve, here in Portland as well as overseas. True to its name, we have been connected to many different opportunities about which we would most likely not have known. The exhibitor’s hall at the annual conference has proven to be a place where important networking happens and lifelong relationships are forged. Our church cannot, in and of itself, provide all the opportunities that help facilitate obedient discipleship. Mission ConneXion is a fantastic way to provide people with ideas and open doors to the next steps as they walk with Christ.
Third, Mission ConneXion has provided our church with great training. For example, we regularly have people attend Care ConneXion and they come back prepared to serve and bless our overseas workers. By God’s grace, we have a committed core of people who want to care for missionaries. Care ConneXion has been a key player in helping to make that happen. Muslim ConneXion is also a blessing, helping people catch or renew their vision to see Muslims follow Christ. The long-term effects of these training events cannot be overstated.
Finally, Mission ConneXion has helped to keep us focused on the goal: A global community of redeemed people worshipping Christ in every language forever and ever. Life is difficult; we easily lose focus and turn inward to the concerns of ourselves, our families, our churches, and our cities. Mission ConneXion provides a much needed reminder and wake-up call – it is not about us! It is about King Jesus and his glory among all peoples. Mission ConneXion regularly, and graciously, helps keep us on task.
The question was rather unusual. It was several hours into the opening of Mission ConneXion Northwest 2015 when a businessman walked up to my booth. We briefly discussed the vision of OM Ships International and it’s current status and upcoming country visits. It was then that he asked me a direct question. “Randy, can you please share with me a God story from the Ship Ministry?” I hesitated thinking to myself, which one of dozens should I share. With that, the Lord put on my heart an event that took place in a creative access nation.*
If you just attended the recent Mission ConneXion Northwest 2015 “Barriers and Breakthroughs” event, you know those attending the many workshops, plenary sessions, and Exhibits were encouraged to follow the call of God on their life, and to support others who have made that commitment. Many stories are emerging of what the Lord did this year. One story that surfaced actually began 2 years ago – at our 2013 event.
Betsy Rouse, had just returned from a year of serving as a journalist with Operation Mobilization in the UK when she was interviewed on the main stage. Megan Peet was a seventeen-year old high school student who had always loved stories, and writing. As Betsy shared about the need for writers on the field, Megan’s interest began to peak. “I could totally do that!” Megan thought to herself, as did her parents sitting nearby.
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By Craig Hall
Pastor of Missions and Youth, Family Church, Sutherlin, Oregon
For the past 6 years I have been taking cross-cultural teams to Mexico with those from our church body. It was a short-term mission trip that the Lord used to call me into full time ministry as the Youth Pastor at Family Church in Sutherlin, Oregon. After returning from these short term experiences I then further encourage team members to attend Mission Connexion by way of next steps. Even high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to go to Mission Connexion so they can consider the types of work and ministry that the Lord may have for them after high school.
By Kathy Ikola
I first attended Mission ConneXion Northwest (MCNW) in 2003. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it reminded me of my YWAM Discipleship Training School days, where the teachers were passionate, honest and challenging. Several things said that weekend at MCNW inspired me to join a group of young people on a short-term mission trip to Uganda in the summer of 2004. That trip prompted another Uganda visit in 2005 and our congregation, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (Happy Valley), began to partner with fellow believers in Uganda in establishing a Christian school in a Muslim area and to help with church planting.