the navigators (www.navigators.org).
the navigators exist to know Christ and to make Him known. through this, the navigators seek to employ one-on-one discipleship in order to make disciples of Christ. the navigators has a variety of ministries through which they impart how to live like Christ. there are ministries to certain ethnic groups (african americans, asian americans, hispanics, and native americans), ministries to both gender (men’s ministry as well as women’s network), ministries to specific age groups (twenty-something’s, collegians, high school students, and second-half ministry), ministries of missions (international missions, overseas missions, and local missions of discipleship), ministries within the church (in the area of discipleship) and outside the church (media and publishing), ministries in the workplace (in general and in the military, ministries to the urban segment of the population, and ministries within prisons.
in each of these ministries, the goal is three-fold: to apply the Bible to their lives, to teach others what they know, and to train new believers so they are able to continue this cycle. this goal is the way the navigators organization measures success. the measure of success is equipping others to equip others; it is the replication of lives that continues to replicate for a lifetime. depending on the particular ministry, the avenues to achieve this goal varies from one-on-one discipleship relationships, small group Bible studies, or living among the lost.
the qualifications the navigators looks for in an individual seeking to join their organization are a willingness to disciple others and to replicate their lives into others. various character qualities would be important for one to join the navigators’ staff. brian watcher, the gentleman i interviewed, stated that it was not a requirement for a new staff member to have already discipled someone. his area of collegiate ministry offers a program for new collegiate workers where they are mentored by an existing staff member in the area of discipleship for the first six months so they are equipped for a ministry and a lifetime of discipleship.
a seminary graduate would prove beneficial to this organization because the Biblical knowledge sought to pass on to others would already be known, or at least a good basis for this set up already. hopefully, a seminary-trained individual would already be reading God’s Word and seeking it to apply it to their lives and would desire to pass this knowledge onto others.
MEDA (mennonite economic development associates) seeks to alleviate poverty through economic development. MEDA does this through “working with God in the marketplace…at home…in our neighborhoods…and around the world” (these words taken from their display in the business exhibit hall). MEDA offers training programs for those who want to start up their own businesses in other countries, small business loans for those in poverty who wish to start up their own business, as well as helping to bring to fruition any ideas an individual may have that would help eliminate poverty through economic development of a developing country.
the success of MEDA is evaluated by the number of families served through microlending, the number of resources used, and the number in membership who have incorporated faith in business. these results are all numbered based and are the only tangible way MEDA can see its effect on the population of developing countries.
although MEDA is affiliated with the mennonite denomination, and all the members of the board are mennonite, it is not a requirement for those working with MEDA to be mennonite. MEDA is supported by mennonite congregations as well as businesses and private donors.
MEDA does not support a large staff. it is basically a support staff that lives within the united states and canada that enable the administration to invest and train those who seek to start-up their own businesses. since their staff is not very large, MEDA seeks only those with business experience and skills to join their staff. when asked what use would MEDA have for a seminary-trained individual, the answer was “not much.”
orphanage outreach (www.orphanage-outreach.org).
orphanage outreach serves abused and abandoned children in the dominican republic. their mission statement is: “providing opportunities to orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children” (www.orphanage-outreach.org). there are a variety of ways this organization seeks to provide opportunities. they offer camps throughout the summer, such as english, art, and baseball. these camps are not only for those children in the orphanage, but for all kids. they also have medical/dental week, construction teams, and vacation bible school. orphanage outreach also has a tutoring program where the kids are tutored in english. learning english is such a big deal because it is the first question asked on job applications.
the outreach the orphanage does not seek to help but to serve. their mission is not to take over the way of life lived by those in the dominican republic, showing them a better life to be had, but it is to serve and meet the needs of the people, mainly the children. thus said, two qualifications needed by someone who wants to serve either short-term or in an internship with orphanage outreach is that he or she has a desire to serve others and he or she will be flexible. there are no spiritual qualities looked for, but simply a desire. if an individual wants to serve, a trip can be planned that best suits the abilities of the individual as well as the needs of the people in the dominican republic.
the success of orphanage outreach is derived from offering the children opportunities where they have not yet had such opportunities.
the christian and missionary alliance (www.cmalliance.org).
the christian and missionary alliance is a denomination and a mission’s organization that flows out of the denomination. the alliance, which focuses on the world missions portion, aims to connect your passion with God’s purposes. traditional tentmaking is how the alliance seeks to achieve their mission.
an individual would enter another country as a laborer in some vocation and would invest in the people of that country in the process. melanie, the lady i interviewed, is a nurse by trade who serves in spain teaching english camps with her husband. what the alliance seeks to do is to match up the skills and abilities of the missionaries with the needs of a particular people group. melanie and her husband are full-time in spain but there is need for others to come on a short-term basis to help with these english camps.
the alliance organization is looking for any skills or abilities of individuals to join their team. as far as melanie knew, there were not any specific qualifications the organization would be interested in having a team member possess, including that of spiritual qualities. although the alliance is supported by the christian and missionary alliance denomination, one does not need to be a member of that denomination to serve with the organization. in order to serve in full-time missions with the alliance, an individual must complete 30 hours of bible or missions classes and a year of graduate school.
the need for seminary-trained people on the alliance staff is immense, or at least in spain. most of the spanish pastors in the area where melanie ministers are bi-vocational and have little formal theological education. there is a need for these pastors to be trained theologically to better equip them as pastors. there are needs for seminary-trained individuals to go to areas such as this one in spain just to teach classes to these pastors, either long-term or just for one class short-term.
serving in mission (SIM) (www.sim.org).
SIM’s mission is to “glorify God by planting, strengthening, and partnering with churches around the world as we: evangelize the unreached, minister to human need, disciple believers into churches, equip churches to fulfill Christ’s commission” (www.sim.org). this purpose is achieved through the many ministries employed by SIM. SIM services people groups in africa, asia, and south america, depending on the needs of that region.
SIM strives to minister from a holistic approach where the whole of a person is ministered to, not just one component. out of this, SIM has established a ladies-only fitness center in india, where women can come work out. christian women are encouraged to serve as class instructors. these instructors not only lead classes but they build relationships with the women at the fitness center. there are needs of certified women to teach fitness classes either on a long-term or short-term basis.
the networking i was able to do at urbana was invaluable to my experience at the conference. such networking forced me to be selective about the organizations i talked with as well as the types of organizations i wanted to interview. i went with two goals in mind. one was to seek an organization with whom i would be possibly be interested in doing a short-term mission trip with over the summer. the other was to look for organizations that seek to implement missions in business, as this is my focus presently (and most likely in the future as well).
i knew of the navigators previously because i have used some of their curriculum in the past in discipling women. i knew it was an organization with whose mission i resonated. i simply thought it was a ministry to college students, ignorant of all the other ministries that appeal to me. i know i will continue to disciple women in the future so i will continue to look to the navigators to provide materials with which to do this. i will both now and in the future continue to learn and in doing so read books which challenge my current way of thinking. navpress has been and will continue to be a valuable resource for me. what i did not know of is the women’s network, which i am now a part that will enable me, as a female, to minister more effectively to other females. i look forward to attending some of the navigators’ women’s events in order to help me continue to grow in my relationship with Christ. the workplace ministry offered by the navigators will be another new resource for me to utilize as i seek to have a ministry in my workplace both now and after finishing here at fuller. each of these ministries i have mentioned will prove beneficial in providing the resources and opportunities i need to grow alongside God, as well as enabling others to do so as well.
i was impressed with MEDA and the ministry the organization offers worldwide in order to provide economic development for developing countries. but after learning more about MEDA, i do not see how i would be useful for their organization. this organization simply needs individuals with business skills (of which i have none) and experience (of which i have little), not needing individuals with seminary training (that of which i do have). the only way MEDA is able to evaluate results is through the resources used. this seems ill equipped to truly measure life change. i want to partner with an organization that effects complete life change, not simply one area of life.
the main concern i had with orphanage outreach is that it also seeks to improve one area of life, the spiritual not being at the forefront. i do deem this ministry as being worthwhile but lasting change needs to possess a spiritual component, having this at its basis, to effect complete change that only comes with knowing Christ. it seems as if orphanage outreach is a worthy organization for groups, but i am not sure how it would translate for individuals. after speaking to the representative from the organization, i was left to wonder if the individual (as opposed to a group) would be left on his or her own.
the alliance and SIM seemed like the most viable options for me as far as short-term possibilities go. both would tailor a trip around my specifications (going as an individual, time constraints due to school schedule, skills possessed, experienced gained, and seminary training received). both of these organizations seem to view ministry from a holistic perspective, which i share. i appreciate that both of these organizations view ministry as culturally and regionally specific, seeking to meet the needs of a specific people or region, while keeping Christ as the ultimate need that must be met.
with the alliance, i saw the opportunity to teach a class short-term to spanish pastors, which would enable them to minister more effectively in their context. this directly ties to my desire and passion to disciple others for a lifetime.
with SIM, i saw the opportunity to teach fitness classes, of which i am certified, to women who need to know their identity does not come from the physical, but rather through having a relationship with Christ. i currently enjoy teaching fitness classes and building relationships with the member at a local YMCA, so i know I would enjoy doing the same overseas. through this opportunity, i could combine my role of teacher and minister in much the same way as i do now.
through my networking at urbana, i found organizations for whom my theology, philosophy of ministry, or life goals did not sync; but i also found ones with which i resonated. the ministry of the navigators has been, is, and will continue to be one in which i draw from richly. the ministries of the alliance or SIM are ones that i could easily partner with this summer as i seek to serve elsewhere. not only did i gain valuable time spent with representatives from each of these organizations, i also gained valuable experience in networking and interviewing skills for the future.