Category - Missionary Life

1
The Spirituality of Fundraising
2
The “D” Word in Missions
3
6 Lessons from a New Missionary
4
3 Ways Millennials See Missions Differently
5
Do Western Missionaries Damage Cultures?
6
Want to Do Missions? Begin Preparing Now.
7
When Missionary Calls Don’t (Seem To) Come True
8
The Greatest Enemy of Missionary Careers

The Spirituality of Fundraising

We can’t let myths and bad examples keep us from the truth: biblical stewardship is one of the most valuable discipleship tools in our Great Commission kit. Photo courtesy of TEAM

I travel quite a bit in my line of work. When you talk to strangers on an airplane, there are very few things that tend to shut people up faster than saying “I’m a pastor.” “I’m a fundraiser” is definitely one of those few. A fundraiser is right up there with used car salesman and lawyer when it comes to negative perceptions. What is it about fundraising that makes it such a cringe-worthy profession? I think it boils down to a couple of scary myths, and a few falsehoods, coupled with the damaging example of those who have abused the…

Read More

The “D” Word in Missions

Tool or burden? Does student debt have a place on the mission field?
Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Almost every missions mobilizer can tell this tale: They found the perfect would-be missionary, highly qualified and ready to ship all their belongings to the other side of the world, with one little problem. The candidate is drowning in debt. Debt is one of the biggest challenges of our time for North American missions and has been called “the greatest enemy other than Satan himself” to sending missionaries. This may be a slight overstatement, but there’s no doubt that personal debt is a huge obstacle for many young people who want to serve overseas (or domestically). Because missionaries tend to…

Read More

6 Lessons from a New Missionary

In their first months as missionaries among garbage dump workers in Guatemala, Justin and Jenny Burkholder dealt with loneliness and Chick-fil-A cravings, among other challenges. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

In a Field Journal this week, a TEAM missionary in Guatemala shares what he’s learned — and been surprised by — during his first months as a missionary. It has been six months since my wife, Jenny, and I boarded a plane in Chicago and moved to Guatemala City. Our lives have changed dramatically since then. In the last year, we both stepped away from full-time jobs, liquidated everything we owned, and said good-bye to the place we called home for the seven years. We left behind the best friends we have ever made. And we did so while Jenny…

Read More

3 Ways Millennials See Missions Differently

milennial christian
Millennials are changing the missions landscape and taking on challenges in ways previous generations have not.

The highways of online media are strewn with attempts to explain millennials, my hard-to-pin-down generation that’s currently somewhere between the ages of 14 and 34 — and even that range is a little squishy. Churches, marketers and, yes, missions agencies, would love to know exactly what makes millennials tick. But most attempts to put us in a box fall short. Millennials — even millennial Christians — are not monolithic. They defy unifying definitions, aside from superficial observations (“Those millennials and their iPhones!”) that often apply as much to other generations as they do to 20-somethings. There is little doubt, however,…

Read More

Do Western Missionaries Damage Cultures?

western-missionaries-southern-africa
Where culture doesn't contradict spiritual truth, western missionaries must take care to leave it unchanged. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Today, TEAM missionary Brett Miller shares about how missionaries impact cultures in good and bad ways — and how to avoid the latter. Recently, I went pheasant hunting with some friends of my Dad who were kind enough to include me in their circle. It was a special day and, as one of them pointed out, likely my last day of pheasant hunting. There are no pheasants in Swaziland, where my wife and I are going to serve as missionaries. One of the men I was hunting with made a perceptive comment. He told me that missions had done serious…

Read More

Want to Do Missions? Begin Preparing Now.

becoming a missionary
Discover three simple ways to help you start preparing for missions. Photo by TEAM

Today, TEAM’s Director of Organizational Engagement Josh McQuaid shares how to take big steps this year toward becoming a missionary or broadening your missions perspective. Do you have your sights set on exploring that missionary calling you’ve been feeling? Do you want to start talking with some missions agencies and take the first steps toward missionary service? Or maybe you’ve just resolved to be a more globally-minded Christian? At TEAM, we meet a lot of people interested in missions. A lot. Some of them are truly prepared for overseas service. Others think they are but haven’t quite gotten there yet,…

Read More

When Missionary Calls Don’t (Seem To) Come True

TEAM hospital Nepal
The former TEAM hospital in far western Nepal is a rustic but vital hub both for health care and the gospel in the rural region. Taking a long view of the missionary call and God’s sovereignty is helping workers there who recently lost their jobs. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

The call of a new missionary usually goes like this: give up almost everything safe in your life. Pound the pavement for months — if not years — to raise funds. Board an international flight still soaked with tears from an emotional send-off and the blessings of your closest friends and family. Log 18 months in language school. Change the world. But what if it all comes crashing to a halt before that last part, the happy ending, ever comes? You don’t have to look far for stories of a missionary call cut short by illness, a death in the…

Read More

The Greatest Enemy of Missionary Careers

missionary care Peru
Keeping the Peace: A TEAM worker in Peru laughs with local church members. Numbers show that resolving conflict with team members and national workers is essential for successful long-term missionary careers. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Here’s a little secret: Missionaries are ordinary people. And just like ordinary people, sometimes they have conflicts about ordinary things like misplaced dishes. These days, good missionary care teams keep an eye out for interpersonal conflict as the source of potential burnout. As it turns out, it’s not a new problem. Not by a long shot. TEAM writer Lisa Renninger was recently researching for a project on TEAM’s history and stumbled upon a story of narrowly avoided-missionary burnout set in Venezuela over a century ago. In 1906, two pioneering missionary families, the Bachs and the Christiansens, had established a new…

Read More