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Innov-Asia: Go. Learn. Reach

Annoucing Innov-Asia 2022!

Innov-Asia is a learning lab, an intentional format of learning rooted in curiosity and creativity, where you the learner bring your questions to the process.  It lends itself to innovation (see the play on words) and to discernment.  Innov-Asia is a step in a journey with God to explore what He is doing at the ends of the earth where the Church is not yet visible.

Three Key Ingredients to Innov-Asia

 1. A Robust Faith: practicing how to step out of your comfort zone and walk with Jesus into new areas of life and service (think about Peter walking on the water back to the boat!).

2. The EPIC purposes of God: pursuing a Biblical foundation for life and service where the Church is not yet visible—if God really intends for all people to know the love of Jesus, why do more than a quarter of the world’s population still live outside the normal reach of the Church?  What is God up to in our generation?

3. Connections: we will introduce you to more than twenty different ministry partners, serving God and the community in various ways.  You will find some of these models to be quite comfortable, and others will stretch your imagination.

Current Schedule: June 13th – August 13, 2022 (To be confirmed)
Submit Application By: February 1, 2021. Applications may close earlier if all spots are filled before then.

Talk to a missions coach to get started!

What do we do?

Orientation.  The first three weeks are an intentional look at Scripture, culture, and your own life with Christ.  This is the “classroom” phase before getting into the lab.

Field Work.  The next four weeks include purposeful visits to more than 20 ministry partners.  Each participant brings their Question—and we hope to respond by identifying ministry visits that encourage finding an answer to those questions.

Debrief & Integration.  Innov-Asia is not Christian tourism.  We want you to take something home with you!  In fact, we want to see God work in your life, even to change your life in a big way!  Therefore, before you go to the airport, we will take a week to synthesize some of what God is saying to you—articulating the answers that you discovered to your Question.

Introducing Two Tracks:

In 2022, the Field Work will be organized around two tracks.  In preparation before arriving in Thailand, we will explore more detail about each track.  With about eight participants total, we hope to have two groups of four pursuing each track.

Track One:  Visiting Partners, Engaging Society.  This is designed for those who want to see real hands-on caring ministry:  in education, in family care, in preventing or responding to trafficking, in evangelism, and in community outreach.

Track Two:  Identifying Pioneer Opportunities.  With recent changes in travel and society, TEAM is exploring new patterns of ministry (including international students in Thailand, new immigrant communities, and non-residential strategies).  This track emphasizes the creativity of today’s missions and the collaborative efforts to go beyond ‘normal’.

Who are we looking for?

Quick:  what are three things that you want in your ideal church?  Music? Favorite Bible? Architecture? Programs? The Right Feel? Now, what happens if you have none of those things?  Can you do ministry?

We want individuals who are ready to explore stepping outside the comfort zone to take the Gospel to communities where there is no ideal church because there may not be any visible church.  We want people who have an open heart and a willingness to try something new!

We are looking for those individuals ready to take a look at life in Asia, in the city as well as in the rural village. You might engage with secularists, Buddhists, Muslims or Hindus, with youth, the elderly or those with specific concerns.  God may use this summer to take your faith deeper as a sender, or He might use this experience to call you to serve cross-culturally. Innov-Asia, as an innovation lab, aims to develop your creative and innovative capacities for sharing Christ in today’s changing world.

Simply put, we are looking for YOU.

What do you need to do next?

First, pray. This will be a significant commitment of your time, faith and finances. You will be challenged and stretched. Pray and ask God if this is from Him, for you.

Second, talk to a missions coach! Your coach will help you determine if Innov-Asia is the right fit for you. If it is, they’ll guide you through the application process, from beginning to end. Space is limited to eight apprentices, so pray and apply!

Third, apply.  Applications are due by February 1, 2022.  However, it is recommended that you apply early so that we can answer your questions in a timely manner, and you can make a careful decision about whether or not the Lord is prompting you to attend Innov-Asia 2022.

Fourth, prepare.  Your mission coach will walk you through the details.  We estimate that the investment will be no more than $6500, which includes your flights to Chiang Mai and requirements for Covid-19.  (If costs come down, we will lower the budget accordingly.)  Vaccines are required by the government of Thailand for all persons entering the country.   Lastly, the monthly Forum will be your place to compare notes and work together with your teammates before arriving in Thailand.

A few more details…

What is a good Question?

Every participant will bring their Question.  So what question is a good Question?  It is almost totally up to you because it is first and foremost your question.  We have had participants ask: How spicy is the food really?  Can I really speak Chinese well enough?  Will I survive the weather?  Is coffee culture a real thing in Asia?  Is nursing really what God wants me to do?  Is God really calling me to do this?

A good question is one that reflects your heart and opens your eyes to see what God is doing in your life.  A good question is one that starts a conversation and keeps that conversation moving forward.  One participant discovered that her question was always around children, where could she find opportunities to invest in children.  Another was keep to explore his talents in music.  With the first, we looked for connections to ministry partners engaged with children and families.  With the second, we looked for those doing ethno-arts and music.

Why do we dig into Cultures?

The Gospel begins with the news that the Invisible God came to earth, lived in Judea and Nazareth, spoke the local languages (Koine Greek and Aramaic), and ate the local food.  Jesus is our model and example for thinking about how culture shapes the way we embrace Jesus and shape the Church.  We dig into cultures so that you can become more effective in loving your neighbors.

What should I pack?

Plan to pack light.  We want you to keep it simple.   A good measure is to pack only what you can carry by yourself.  You can purchase almost anything and everything that you will need in Thailand.  We will share a more specific packing list as we get closer to departure.  You will however want to bring a phone and a laptop/tablet.

Who should I ask to be in my prayer team?

Every participant will be challenged to invite 4 to 6 individuals to join you in praying for the summer and then walking with you throughout the experience.  First, God uses prayer to open doors.  There’s no way around it:  without prayer, your experience will be like walking in mud.  Second, prayer partners become your team-mates who will encourage you and be encouraged by you.  Missions is not about missionaries doing their own thing like on a vacation;  the pattern in Scripture is always a team effort on the field and in the Church.

Where are the locations for the field visits?

Most of our ministry partners and field visits in 2022 will be in Chiang Mai.  If Covid restrictions allow, we will also be looking to go south to Korat, west towards Myanmar, and north to Chiang Rai.  Every participant will be exposed to the Northern Thai (Lanna) culture as well as at least one other culture inside Thailand.

What about Covid-19?

In 2021, Innov-Asia saw multiple adjustments and adaptations due to COVID-19 and the travel restrictions that were changing almost every week of the summer.  Since Innov-Asia is rooted in innovation and a commitment to nurture Robust Faith, we see Covid-19 as a real-life learning opportunity in flexibility and openness to God’s leading.  Last year, each participant grew in their walk with the Lord as a result.

In 2022, we do not expect the same kinds of sudden changes as in 2021, but we will be prepared to adapt and adjust as necessary.  We will keep the whole program in Thailand.  We will prepare with creativity in mind.  Lastly, we will discuss and pray through decisions as part of the program and the Forum.

For more information, talk to a missions coach!


BONUS: The Innov-Asia Forum

Starting in January, we will host an Forum on-line each month.  This Forum is a time for both participants and prayer partners to prepare together for the summer.  Each participant is challenged to bring a Question with them—something that they want to learn from God or with God while they are in Thailand—the Forum is an opportunity to stir up that curiosity.  Your prayer partners likewise can begin to pray towards that end, what God might show you in Thailand.

For more information, talk to a missions coach!

Talk with a missions coach to learn how you can serve with Innov-Asia!

Talk with a Missions Coach