Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Global Networking

Missionaries: Rob, Mike, Jon, Ben, Mark (back row)
Nate, Phil, Joel, & Larry (front row) & Paul-not pictured (photographer)
Previously, I've (Nate) written about a Greek instructors workshop that I was blessed to attend back in February. Improving our personal understanding of Greek and, hopefully, our teaching of Greek was only one benefit of this ten-day workshop. The other benefit was talking with brother missionaries about their fields and sharing ideas. Even though all ten of us are WELS missionaries, many of us had never met before. From the first day of planning last summer, we wanted networking to be one of the two main goals of our time together.
Since there were ten of us, we spent five evenings with two of us on the "hot seat" each night. But instead of just offering reports from each field, we started with the rest of the group telling what they knew (or thought they knew) of the field being talked about. Only after the group had exhausted its knowledge did the missionary from that field have a chance to confirm, correct, or clarify what the others had said. It was a good way to find out if accurate information is out there, and possibly what misconceptions exist between the fields.
After hearing from each field those first five evenings, we looked for themes and issues that kept coming up in the discussion. Some of the issues I expected: training nationals for ministry, trying to avoid creating dependency, telling the story of missions back home. Other themes surprised me: using volunteers to help the mission, continuing education and professional development for missionaries, and improving communication.

Whether walking in the Judean hills during our free time or sitting in one of the hotel rooms for some directed discussion together, we had the chance to discover common themes -- and share experiences of how we have dealt with them. That was powerful networking.
Go to http://greekworkshop2013.shutterfly.com to view the complete itinerary (February-March, 2013), photos, a photo book, and video of this event.

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