Practically since the inception of this blog, we have tried to share with you about our pretty much perpetual need for personnel, especially on-field but also to serve from home. We have made lists of these needs and tried to stress the importance of them on numerous occasions.
With that said, we thought that it might be a good idea to focus on some of these opportunities to help you, the reader, to understand who we need to fill these roles and why we need them. Consequently, each month we will try to pick one or two of them for a bit of extra attention and explanation. I would like to focus on one such personnel need this month
Before I jump in I would like to ask something of you, if I may, please. I know many of you are tempted simply to skip this post now thinking, “This is all well and good, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with me. I’m not called to serve overseas.” I would like to ask you NOT to jump to this conclusion and consequently skip this portion but to take the time to read it. By doing so, you will be able to:
- Pray more effectively and specifically for some of our greatest ministry needs;
- Share this information more readily with individuals, who might come to your mind as someone ideally suited for a particular role with us; and
- Keep yourself open before the Lord to consider whatever He might put in your heart for your own service (it is a spiritually dangerous thing to say “no” to God before we even know what the needs are).
This month, I’d like to speak about a personnel need that is highly strategic for a number of reasons, but particularly because it is time specific, and with each passing day, the time becomes shorter. I’d like to talk about an Explorer position as our Summer Projects Coordinator, or SPC for short.
Summer Projects Coordinator (SPC)
Let me start with some of the more specific and factual aspects of the assignment. As an Explorer missionary category, it is for a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 24 months, and the SPC would be located in northwest Wales. Either a single person or young couple would work well in the position. It is of high priority because ideally we’d like to have the SPC recruited, screened, appointed and funded in order to have him/her/them with us on-field by early May 2022 at the latest. I realise in human terms that sounds next to impossible. But we are in the business of the supernatural; so, it shouldn’t come as a stretch to expect God to do the impossible and in fact ask Him to do that very thing.
In a sense, the SPC’s role would pretty much “do what it says on the tin,” so to speak. In other words, the SPC would be someone to help us by coordinating all of our summer projects, which are primarily filled by university students, who are believers and feel God’s calling to serve during their summer holidays. However, to flesh out the assignment a bit more, the following are some activities/functions of the SPC:
- Take the lead in recruiting students for summer projects during the spring.
- Take a lead in initial screening processes for potential candidates.
- Facilitate communication with the students, once appointed, before arrival on-field.
- Assist with logistical preparations for the Teams.
- Take the lead in preparation and leadership for on-field training
- Take the lead in supervision of student teams, whilst on project.
- Take the lead in debriefing of student teams before departure.
- Take the lead in follow-up with both the student participants upon their return to their home country and national partners in Europe.
Writing a description of the type of person, who would do this job well, is a bit like writing Superman’s job description: it’s hard to conceive of an ordinary human individual with all the skills, talents, and experience to do everything equally well. But here are a few qualities that would be necessary.
- Organisational skills
- Able to relate well to people
- Skills to lead and inspire
- Strategic thinking skills
- Pastoral skills
To think of it another way, if you could meld together a used-car salesman, engineer, motivational speaker, accountant, pastor, travel agent, Big-brother/sister, and professor, you might be getting close. Although a bit of a comic and hyperbolic description, there is a bit of truth to it. Again, it would be highly unlikely that any one person would have all of these traits and characteristics in equal measure. But it might give you an idea of the type of skills or type of person, who might be able to fill the SPC role.
Why this role is strategic
I also think that it is important to understand WHY this role is so strategic and urgent for us. The answer to this “why” question is in two parts. The first part of the answer to the question “why is the SPC so strategic for us?” is the same as the answer to another question “why are student summer projects so strategic for you?”
The importance of summer projects
So, let me give the first part of the answer to the first “why” question by answering the second, “why are student summer projects so strategic for you?”
- We simply have more needs/tasks on field than people to meet/perform them. The students are “extra hands and feet.”
- Students tend to be very energetic and passionate.
- Students are really the only adult group who has large gaps of time (such as summers), when they can spend more than just a few days on field.
- Students are teachable and want to be taught, mentored, and led in ministry.
- Students are already in “learning mode” which makes them very quick at picking up things like language and new missiological concepts and principles.
- Students are at a point in their lives, when they are seeking God’s direction. Summer missions service is therefore often a significant milestone for them
- Summer students often return for following summers, which often leads to a medium-term assignment after graduation, which in turn often leads to full-time, on-field missionary service. Ultimately, our greatest personnel need is for long-term (career) personnel, who will plant their lives in an area and among a people group. The overwhelming majority of people, who have come to serve with us long-term or even medium-term on-field had their start in our student summer projects. Consequently, this programme has been the most successful means of finding and bringing people over as career missionaries to serve with us on-field.
The importance of the SPC
The second part of the answer to the question “why is the SPC so strategic for us?” is purely practical. We recognise that these summer projects have been the most successful means of recruiting long-term missionaries. However, at the same time, though Linguæ Christi has the potential for dramatic growth in personnel on-field, at the present time, we do not have that many people serving on-field, and all of us are already wearing numerous hats and some of us simply aren’t as young as in as good health as we once were. Consequently, it’s a bit of a Catch-22. We need more personnel on-field as those already serving are sorely stretched beyond their limits, but the most efficient means of getting these new personnel to help share the load is by expending a lot of time and effort in running the student summer programmes. Having someone to help with coordinating these programmes will help us to break the cycle and get the personnel that we need on-field not only to expand our ministry on-field but also to manage projects like our student summer projects, which in turn help to bring more people to join us, and on it goes.
I return to my goals for you, the reader, which I stated toward the beginning. I hope by sticking with this description you can (1) pray more informedly for this person or couple, (2) be inspired to share this opportunity with someone that might come to mind, and (3) be inspired perhaps to consider yourself, if you might have the gifting to perform this kind of service on the mission field for a season. Feel free to pass this description on to others or contact us at [email protected].