Top tips from a handbook for mission volunteers

“It’s God who changes us, but the mission experience creates a context through which God can work more effectively.” – Jane Ives, contributor to “A Mission Journey”

Sharing a meal is not about food, but about culture and relationships.

That is one of the tips, both practical and theological, for volunteers who participate in mission trips from “A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers.”

On the theological side:

  • Attaining an attitude of humility and mutuality allows more attention to the lives, words and actions of others.
  • Expanding cultural awareness involves answering God’s call, searching our own hearts and being “known as Christians by our love.”
  • Leaving ordinary lives behind as volunteers go to a new place can lead to spiritual transformation.
  • Accompanying those oppressed by unjust economic, political and social systems is another way to do mission.

On the practical side:

  • Taking time for meditation and reflection can smooth over culture shock and uncomfortable situations.
  • Identifying justice issues can lead to deeper understanding and foster ongoing relationships.
  • Participating in team activities, worship and journaling can expand the mission experience and help prepare for the transition home.

“A Mission Journey: A Handbook for Volunteers” was developed by a task force of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and international Volunteers in Mission. Included are team activities, a “best practices list” for hosting and sending teams and an appendix of related information.

Published by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the book is a “vital tool” to help prepare for mission partnerships, writes Una Jones, the board’s staff executive formission volunteers, in the foreword.

“We are in a new era of mission in which millions of people choose to engage in short-term mission and ministry outside large mission agencies, yet supported by the church,” she explains.

Print copies of A Mission Journey can be ordered throughThe Upper Room Bookstore. An e-book version is available for download through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service multimedia reporter based in New York. Follow her athttps://twitter.com/umcscribecontact her at (646) 369-3759 ornewsdesk@umcom.org.

Sign up for our newsletter!

SUBSCRIBE

Latest News

Theology and Education
The Rev. Laceye C. Warner is Associate Dean for Wesleyan Engagement and the Royce and Jane Reynolds Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism and Methodist Studies at Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina.  Photo by Les Todd.

John Wesley reminds us that grace is available to all

Seminary professor Laceye C. Warner writes that Wesley’s instructions to modern Methodists would be the same as Methodists of his day: Extend God’s love and grace to others.
Theology and Education
David F. Watson is Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of United Theological Seminary.

Wesley would call modern Methodists to return to their roots

Wesley knew that the people called Methodists were themselves liable to spiritual slumber. Seminary professor David F. Watson thinks Wesley would direct today’s church back to the intentional practices of the Methodist societies.
Theology and Education
The Rev. Steven W. Manskar is pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Wesley would urge modern Methodists to stay Christ-centered

Wesley’s advice on how to live and serve with fellow Methodists with varying opinions on doctrine and practice applies to United Methodists today, one pastor writes.