Last July, for two days, nine people gathered at OMF’s headquarters in Japan. Five were OMF staff (Japanese people who work in our offices in support) and three were KGK staff workers, the IFES student ministry in Japan. I was the only foreigner and the facilitator of a joint-training course called “Together in Mission”.
There has been close ties between these organizations for years, but rarely have we spent two whole days together. How had it happened?
The genesis of this joint-training course was three years earlier when a KGK staff worker and OMF member were chatting about the difficulties of partnership development in KGK.
The OMF worker responded, “OMF has some materials on that kind of thing.”
Together in Mission is a course for national staff on the sending sides of OMF. It helps them see how their role fits into the bigger picture of OMF and also God’s mission to the world. In addition it gives ideas and tools on how to communicate all this and deepen relationships. This would be great for OMF Japan staff and the closest thing to what KGK seemed to want and need. But the question lingered—would it be worth doing?
Preparing the course
After a number of conversations, emails, and my own home assignment, I finally got down to preparing the actual material.
It was hard to produce a draft Japanese translation of the course material. There were words and concepts that had to be explained—things I had never thought about in Japanese like advocacy and mobilization. Also the training method was unusual for Japanese people—not the regular ”an expert gives a presentation” more ”let’s learn from each other”.
Doing the course
When we finally gathered it was intense, exciting, and exhausting (especially for me).
We read Scripture and thought about how it applies to Japan. We talked about our part in building God’s Kingdom and looked at models for developing partnerships. We evaluated the relationships that we already have with churches and individuals, and considered how to deepen them.
Was it worth it?
Afterwards, one said, “There were lots of ideas in this course that would help; they would not be too hard to do and may have a great effect.” Another: ”This course has helped me think about how we can increase the number of KGK supporters.” Yet another said, ”The course has made me think more widely than just money.” Other feedback emphasised the importance of keeping a kingdom perspective and the need for real partnerships.
Months after the course, one of the KGK participants wrote to me: “From now on, I think what was learned at the Together in Mission course will be applied in the KGK new workers course training . . . We feel like we have been helped a lot.”
It paid off. The training really helped OMF Japan staff see the vital significance of their jobs. It would help KGK staff workers build kingdom-based relationships with supporters. Partnering in training is win-win-win. Resources are shared and it shows that we really are together in God’s mission to Japan.
By Peter, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that OMF and KGK will continue to find ways to partner together.
- Pray that OMF will be able to use its many resources to benefit other groups.
- Pray that OMF’s staff in our offices will be encouraged that what they do each day is part of the big picture for reaching Japan for God.