Mission discipleship serves to be one of the core values and reasons why OMF runs Serve Asia. When we think of mission discipleship we not only think about individuals who join and serve in mission but also their sending churches and communities.
One mega-church in the Philippines sent its first cross-cultural team through Serve Asia to prayer journey from the south to the north of Vietnam. The team was small and had a seemingly simple goal – pray. Each member of the team went through each of the stages of the Serve Asia programme prior to serving.
They went through the application process as a means of sifting through their intentions and preparing their hearts. They then trained together by meeting every week for two months to learn about the country and mission. During their two week prayer journey they went through a series of devotions in the evening and discussed what they had seen, prayed and experienced. They met with missionaries and tried to learn as much as they could about what a life in mission looked like. After their prayer journey, they debriefed together and followed each other up on aspects of their lives they felt God challenge them about through their short-term mission experience.
One of the major goals in putting the team together was, however, not just for the mission-discipleship of each member, but also for the team to serve as a catalyst in mobilizing their church into wider mission awareness and involvement.
As the team learned and mobilized, as they prepared and prayed, as they debriefed and integrated, they engaged their church. Not only did their hearts individually grow in their understanding and heart for God and mission, so did their church. From the team of seven emerged mission mobilizers, intercessors, senders and goers. One of the team members later enrolled in mission studies and now serves as the mission pastor of the church. Another team member started prayer days for mission and mentored the youth missions team. The team also started a missions conference held every few years to raise awareness about mission. Two members of the team led another team on a similar prayer journey the following year.
From this team their church grew in intentional mission involvement and developed a cross-cultural mission program. The growth in the number of people going on Serve Asia mission trips each year does not guarantee proportional growth in the number of long term missionaries. However, our hope is that by working strategically alongside churches God will use Serve Asia for more churches, including East Asian churches, to catch a vision for mission and be engaged with what God is doing in mission.
Andrea Roldan, International Serve Asia Facilitator