On-Ramps to Mission: Vision Trips
I've been back from the Upstream Collective's vision trip to London and Paris for over a month now, and many of you have expressed interest in the church planting work in those two cities and beyond. If your church wants to be more directly involved, but you're just not sure where to start, I recommend you find a way to go on one of the Upstream Collective's vision trips.
We are often asked about the purpose of these Jet Set vision trips. I asked Upstream Collective founder Larry McCrary about this while we were in Paris. Here's what he had to say:
"I believe these trips can be one of the first stages of the formation of mission in a church. We see in the book of Acts that the new church at Antioch was formed out of a cross-cultural witness to the people of Antioch of Syria. From the beginning, they collected an offering for people in need and the church sent out it's own missionaries. We want to help the church think and act in like a missionary. A vision trip is a great start."
Here are some stories we can tell:
Awareness - We shoot lots of video, write blog posts, and tweet quite a bit on these trips. The result is pretty amazing. So far this week we've received over 70 messages from people indicating interest in missions in Europe. We start working through these contacts and try to provide good introductions to practitioners on the field.
Involved in Mission - We find that over 90 percent of the pastors and churches who have attended Jet Set find a way to partner overseas within 6 months of their attendance. This isn't because of us, it's because God uses the experience to give leaders a clear picture of what it would be like for their churches to be directly involved in mission.
Pack Your Bags - Interestingly enough, several of our alumni now live overseas as a part of the Skybridge Community or they are in process with other mission networks or organizations.
Pay It Forward - For many leaders, these trips have been extremely helpful in the formation of their church's missions strategy and involvement. Several have then provided resources to help other church planters to come on these trips.
Tell a Friend - Oftentimes, participants come again and bring someone in their church or network. We love referrals. We also like having churches sending a couple of people on these trips so they can work together to develop mission strategy while they are here.
Identified key partners - Most of Jet Set participants find key partners to work with. Maybe it is an existing mission network or organization such as the IMB, Greater Europe Mission, Christian Associates International, or Acts 29 International. Others feel led to partner with national churches or church planters.
Encouragement - We try to bless the people we come in contact with on these trips. Whether it is a national church planter or a cross cultural missionary we want to be a blessing. We receive lots of requests from workers around the world who want to partner with Stateside leaders and their churches.
Here is a video from our most recent trip that tells the story. It's worth a few minutes of your time.
For more information on Jet Set Vision trips and other ways to get your church more directly involved in missions, please visit theupstreamcollective.org.