The TEAM Blog

Go to the nations. Be the body of Christ. Blog about it.

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How To Choose A Missions Agency
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Everyday Prayer
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Monthly Prayer Journal: May 2014
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A Tale of Two Photos
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[VIDEO] Rich Church, Poor Church
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Do Western Missionaries Damage Cultures?
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Storytelling and Respecting Subjects
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Monthly Prayer Journal: April 2014
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Opening Our Doors to Brokenness
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Not Just Business

How To Choose A Missions Agency

Which way to go? With so many options for overseas service, asking yourself the questions below will help steer you in the right direction. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Technology, accessible travel and global banking have made it easier than ever to pack up and move overseas. So it may seem like an easy choice to go abroad as an independent missionary without being attached to a missions agency. But while the freedom and flexibility of going it alone can be a benefit for some missionaries, the majority of missionaries find that the positives of journeying with an agency far outweigh any drawbacks. Whether you’re deciding between missions agencies, considering your church as your “agency,” or contemplating going out on your own, ask yourself these questions as you weigh…

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Everyday Prayer

TEAM missionaries and local language experts work on translating the Bible for the Kwong tribe in Chad. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

At the first of every month, we publish a monthly prayer focus, which delivers specific, up-to-date ways you can pray for TEAM missionaries on the field. Now, how many times do we say, “I’m praying for you” in response to an email or Facebook update from a missionary? When we’re honest, in the hustle and bustle of our days, we know it’s easier to say it than do it. Even during our regular prayer times, it’s hard to remember to pray for missionaries if we don’t have regular contact with them or can’t quite recall the specifics of their ministry….

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Monthly Prayer Journal: May 2014

Photo by Robert Johnson/TEAM

Thank you for joining us in praying for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the May 2014 prayer journal. 1 JAPAN Judy Galley writes, “As I drive out to rural areas, pray for God’s guidance in reaching every home safely with witness of Jesus and the gospel. Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s victorious working. Pray also for Nora Handa, for strength and guidance as she also comes to help in this work.” 2 SOUTH ASIA Workers write, “The visa news in March was more encouraging with two one-year visa extensions granted! Continue to pray…

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A Tale of Two Photos

The photos we choose to share in missions photography should represent subjects as the treasures they are, made in God's image. Photographs by Robert Johnson / TEAM

Robert Johnson, TEAM’s Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief of Horizons magazine, shares about subjectivity and how we portray people in images. Her collection of doll parts filled a storage shed behind her house. Plastic arms, legs, heads, and bodies spilled from overstuffed bags onto the concrete floor. Maria Delfina Hernandez had built a small business with these doll parts salvaged from a dump in Guatemala City, cleaning them up, piecing them back together and selling them at low cost in the market. She’s been doing this for years. A gospel analogy using baby doll parts, Hernandez’s story is inspiring to me…

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[VIDEO] Rich Church, Poor Church


We recently released this short video by TEAM videographer Cary Brown, a profile of a couple in Peru who live in an impoverished neighborhood and commute to a much nicer part of their city to worship in a relatively wealthy church.

Cary’s excellent work (and this accompanying story) is a glimpse of a fairly rare phenomenon. In many — if not most — parts of the developing world, it’s highly uncommon for people to cross socio-economic divides to attend church. Poorer people tend to worship in “poor” churches, and wealthy people tend to worship in “rich” churches.

You could probably point to evidence that this is also the situation with the church in many North American communities. But the division is even more pronounced in the developing world.

From Mexico City to Mumbai, this is a significant challenge for missions. In many countries with a growing church, statistics for a nation as a whole might lead one to believe that the population of Christ-followers is large enough for missiologists to qualify the nation as “reached.” But segment those numbers by household income or neighborhood income, and entire “unreached” populations will emerge. The gaping income disparity between rich and poor in many of those countries is reflected in the church by equally severe stratification. The gospel may take root and flourish among slum-dwellers — or, less often, among the wealthy — but it rarely jumps to other rungs on the income ladder.

The desire and ability to minister across racial and socio-economic lines is an important sign of a church’s missional health. Missionaries like TEAM’s Craig Querfeld are working hard to get otherwise healthy churches to take the next step and develop a passion for reaching out beyond their own “kind.” This is crucial for successful church reproduction in the long-term.

Often it is easier to travel around the world to minister to people who are socio-economically like us than to befriend the “others” living next door. This goes for churches and believers in the developing world just as much as for those anywhere else.

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…

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Storytelling and Respecting Subjects

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TEAM videographer Joel Hager builds relationships with children in a neighborhood near Arequipa, Peru, while working on a story about their community. Photo by Andy Olsen / TEAM

Everyone loves a good story. Except, sometimes, when it’s about them. Like most missions agencies, TEAM has a dedicated group of professionals who work to tell the stories of what God is doing around the world. Our storytelling team (in my opinion) has one of the best jobs around, getting to know our amazing workers on the field and inviting people half a world away to experience their work through words, images and videos. Our goal is to tell the most accurate, compelling and authentic stories we can. But that goal sometimes conflicts with the desires of our story subjects,…

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Monthly Prayer Journal: April 2014

Photo by Robert Johnson/TEAM

Thank you for joining us in praying for TEAM’s work around the world. Click here to download a .pdf of the April 2014 prayer journal. 1 UKRAINE Please pray for the people of Ukraine that during this time of unrest, many people will find their rest in Jesus. 2 PERU Kathi Small writes, “The Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop will be held April 4-12 in Lima. Colombian friends Claudio Ardila and his wife, Elmis, will be handling the workshop. I would ask that you pray for them in their preparation as well as during the workshop. Please, also pray for Dámaris,…

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Opening Our Doors to Brokenness

ministering to the marginalized
In Europe, as in most of the world, street life takes its toll on those who spend their nights working or losing themselves in it. Sometimes the best healing is an open home. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

We asked Rachel Zuch, a TEAM worker in Austria, to share about some of the greatest challenges in ministering to the marginalized members of our communities. This morning, a young man is sitting across the kitchen table from me, sipping his coffee and talking about his dreams and fears. We’ll call him Sam. The first time I saw Sam was four years ago on the street. He was dressed like a woman, selling his body. Born into a Gypsy family in Romania, Sam had never gone to school before he met my husband and me. Soon after that, he made…

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Not Just Business

business as mission Tokyo
Business builds community at TEAM's SonRise Café in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Robert Johnson / TEAM

We asked Doug Witzig, one of TEAM’s business-as-mission experts, to share his thoughts on current trends and challenges in the BAM movement. This column appears in the spring 2014 issue of Horizons magazine. By Doug Witzig “To do business in this country, you have to be like a wolf! But you are a missionary, a pastor, so you act like a sheep!” My friend and business partner was right to warn me before we launched a factory project using business-as-mission (BAM) strategies. I was a shepherd by training, concerned about the souls of the people I meet and wanting their…

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