Lessons from a Missions Trip (part 1)

I spend two of the last three weeks in the Dominican Republic on a missions trip with 22 students and 5 other leaders.

Some observations.

The church we went to serve with in the Dominican Republic has done a wonderful job of training leaders. They have a group of 22 leaders that serve as the core team. I had the privilege to engage in deep conversations with the two primary leaders (Senior Pastor and Worship Pastor) and 4 of their young leaders.

First, this part of the trip was a highlight for me, though it was not “part of our task.”

The conversations with the young men ranged from specific theological questions, questions on individual passages, general church ministry questions and relationship questions. How fun is that!

During these conversation I was struck with how hungry the men are to learn and what the church is doing to provide them a means of learning and growing. I had to wonder, with all our resources (material and money) are we as hungry? Are we providing enough to challenge and grow leaders?

I was also struck with the simplicity of life–not just poverty, but the priority the people give to the ministry of the church and therefore eliminate items that interfere with their ability to minister. The four young leaders I was talking to were involved every night of the week expect Monday. And they chose to use Monday to play basketball as an outreach.

Much of this commitment is a result of a willingness to submit to spiritual leadership.  To allow the leaders to set a direction and being committed to it.

And just as it would here, that causes tension. Most of the young leaders are working jobs that give them flexibility to do ministry, but therefore not much money. This causes a tension since several are looking at the potential of marriage and need to be able to support there families (in an area with 40% unemployment).

So, a church with good leaders and a very successful ministry (outreach, compassion, discipleship) is going to be facing a number of issues that come with success, growth, cultural change, new and more leaders.

Though cultures are different, churches face many of the same issues.

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